Finding the “Balance”

By David Robertson, IPLI Mentor & Chief Academic Officer with Warsaw Community Schools


The reality for pRobertsonrofessionals such as educators is that we all bring “baggage” with us when we do our jobs.  The fact is, we’re just like our students.  If we have a rough morning at home, we feel the effects when we’re at school.  Unlike our students however, we are professionals and have a responsibility to do our jobs well regardless of the “baggage” we bring to work.

For educators to be most effective, they must work to find a healthy personal balance in life.  I was reminded of this firsthand this month.  For the last year I have had the privilege of serving as a mentor for the Indiana Principal Leadership Institute.  I have LOVED this experience and feel like I’ve learned more from the principals in my cohort than they’ve learned from me!

July 13 and 14th were the dates for the Summer Seminar for IPLI.  Unfortunately, I was unable to be with my cohort those days.  My reason for missing this Summer Seminar is that my wife was about to have our fourth child!  Words cannot express the blessing it was to be with my family during this time.

It was during this time that I was reminded how challenging it really is to find “balance” for educators.  As much as I would never miss the birth of one of my children, I found myself feeling guilty about not being with my IPLI cohort.  No one in my cohort would expect me to miss the birth of my child for Summer Seminar and the leadership at IPLI was completely understanding….and yet, I felt guilty.

My guess is we deal with this tension frequently as educators.  We feel this struggle when we are supervising a 7th grade basketball game instead of eating dinner with our families. We feel it when we take time to “get away” with our families but can’t stay off email on our phones.

Balance is found with boundaries.  If we want to find the balance between our responsibilities in and out of school, we have to establish boundaries.  Technology has broken down many boundaries.  This is good and bad.

As we embark on a new school year, I encourage educators everywhere to consider the balance they want to find this year, consider what boundaries need to be in place to make balance possible, and most importantly, TALK to someone about boundaries.  Be accountable for them and ask for help.  We all struggle with balance.  We’re all better when we’re balanced.  Let’s work together to make sure we’re at our best so that we can be our best for our students!