Work life balance and PGDE – it is possible!

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It is an old cliche and the aim of many people to work to live not to live to work. On the other hand tutors, previous students and current teachers say repeatedly ‘you will never have as much work to do as during your PGDE year’. Having seen my mum go through this course and now living through it myself I can see what people mean. A PGDE isn’t a difficult course but it does involve a lot of work. It is important to not burn yourself out and work yourself to the bone during this year – it doesn’t do anyone any good.

Here are my 10 tips to having a healthy work life balance during a PGDE year:

  1. Find your own balance – there are no rules but all work and no play is not good for you
  2. Beware of adrenaline addiction – it will keep you going but you can’t survive on it, you will crash and burn if you rely on it. This is a marathon not a sprint.
  3. Beware of martyrdom addiction – you are not the only one on the course, getting help does not make you a failier
  4. Say NO – this is a tough year and you can’t do everything, be sensible
  5. Do something for yourself once a week – take one weekday evening (Mon – Thurs) off a week, go to the gym, play video games, go to the pub
  6. Draw a line between good and perfect – everything does not have to be all razzmatazz and jazz hands all the time, you are just giving yourself extra work
  7. Plan, plan, plan – organise your workload sensibly between what is urgent and what can get done another time. Know when your deadlines are and plan towards them over a longer period
  8. Utilise your free periods at school – you have to be in school anyway, use this time productively then you will have less to do at night.
  9. Be sociable – don’t shut yourself off with your work – talk to people
  10. Remember sleeping is not a crime!
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