Professional Practice

It’s Normal to Feel Torn Between School and Home

During the first few weeks of school, you’re likely running on pure adrenaline. It’s good to be back into a routine and see your colleagues and students again.

But then, all of a sudden, you remember all of the household things you don’t have as much time for. You feel guilty about spending less time with your own kids. Your dishes pile up. There isn’t a break in sight.

As teachers, we pour our hearts and souls into our professions. Many of us also have families, hobbies, or side jobs that we ALSO want to pour our hearts and souls into. It can be difficult to maintain excellence on all fronts at all times.

I wish I had some magic list or trick that
would instantly solve this issue. But I don’t. 

Almost every single teacher feels this way, especially this time of year. I haven’t talked to ONE teacher in the last few weeks who wasn’t feeling overwhelmed.

Just know that you are not alone

Although I don’t have the magic potion, I will say these three things:

1. Lower your expectations for yourself—just a bit. Put away the DIY projects and let your next open weekend be truly free of obligations.

2. Keep your to-do lists short. Just choose your top 3 things to accomplish each day. Celebrate when you finish them.
to do list
3. Let yourself off the hook. For example, don’t cook supper on the first day of school. No teacher ever should.

Take care of yourself, and remember, soon this will all feel more normal.

What do you find is the hardest part about going back to school?

What are your tips for dealing with back-to-school stress?


Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is AOEU’s Founder and a former AOEU Writer and elementary art educator. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.

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