Boundaries, balance, empathy and hope
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Boundaries, balance, empathy and hope

In these times of remote learning it is more important than ever for teachers and parents to maintain a healthy work-life balance. KG teachers Brandi Brittain and Debbie Hazlett argue it is all about: boundaries, balance, empathy and hope.

By Brandi Brittain (KG Yellow) and Debbie Hazlett, (KG Blue)

Work-life balance is a phrase we as teachers are familiar with because it is something, we all constantly strive towards. The nature of education is that it never stops, the to-do lists never end and therefore, teachers must actively work to maintain this balance between our work lives and home lives.

So, the question is: What do we do now? Now, more than ever, it is paramount that we all as teachers and parents create a healthy work-life balance. Four words come to mind during this time, boundaries, balance, empathy and hope.  

Boundaries

The first week of online teaching was a bit of a blur as this was a completely new experience for everyone. Something we both found helpful after the initial week of online learning was to create schedules, just like we would for our students on a daily basis. Setting clear boundaries for our work lives such as timetables, personal routines, working in different environments and making lists of achievable tasks are key to maintaining the work-life balance.

Balance

Through teaching the IB curriculum, we constantly model and speak to our students about being balanced. Being balanced may seem like a somewhat simple thing for adults to apply in their daily lives, however, working from home can mean that creating a healthy balance requires self-discipline and routine.

As educators we often tell parents that routine is important for children, but it is equally as important for adults. Things to be mindful of and to plan into your daily schedule are regular breaks, screen time, calling a friend, exercise etc. Exercise and movement are key during this time, for your body and mind. Something that we both appreciate now more than ever is the simplicity of nature and fresh air. Utrecht is a beautiful city and we are fortunate that we are able to get outside for some exercise, especially at this time of year.

Empathy

Each and every person in our community is experiencing this bit of history from their own perspective. We are experiencing this through the eyes of teachers while others are mothers, fathers, friends and so on. This means that with each action we should show empathy and compassion towards others, but also have it for ourselves. Everyone is trying their best.  Use your network of people, support them and ask for support when you need it. 

Hope

During these challenging times, it is essential that we do not lose hope because no situation is permanent. We know that this too shall pass. Therefore, it is necessary now more than ever to have hope that we will get through it.

(Thank you, Ms Lourine for your beautiful input).