This is such an important topic when it comes to putting together your teaching timetable for the week.
At the start of the teaching journey you are often laser focused on gaining a full timetable! The idea that you may have so many enquiries that you have to worry about taking a break may seem absurd, but trust me, this will come around far quicker than you expect. Music teachers are very in demand and depending on where you live you may find yourself in this position quicker than you think.
Prioritizing recovery time in your week is absolutely vital if you are going to prevent yourself burning out. However, before you go ahead and stick that half an hour break into your calendar, there are a few things that you should consider first!
Don’t set yourself up to fail
Prioritizing rest time should be done carefully as you could be setting yourself up to fail if you go about this the wrong way. One thing you should remember is that you are not being paid for the time you take to rest. This means you could end up working more to get paid the same. If you have an idea of what you want to make each week with your teaching, the teaching in order to make this money needs to be made up somewhere else. Unfortunately, this is the problem with being self-employed! Unlike employed jobs where breaks are taken into account, we have to carefully consider what this will do to our pay.
What do you want your weekly schedule to look like?
With this in mind I always encourage teachers to think carefully about how they want their week to look. If you would prefer to have an entire weekend off, it may mean that you have to work in big blocks during the week. If you find working late into the evening too much, then you might have to consider adding on a weekend day.
It is such a balancing act when it comes to teaching and rather than simply thinking ‘I need a 30 minute break every 2 hours’ think how this might then impact the rest of your week!
Will that 30 minute break really be that useful?
Having a 30 minute break sat in your teaching room may not actually be that recovering, you may find yourself doing admin or even adding catch up lessons. If you just took a whole Saturday off you may ultimately feel more rested that way. I often find if I have an entire day off then I am more likely to preserve it for family time, activities that are not work related and just general recovery time!
The woes of the catch-up lesson…
The pressure of catch up lessons also means that many teachers sacrifice their break times. I see this all the time. The trouble is, the parents you work for do not know what your whole timetable looks like and can often ask too much. Genuinely, there may be times when a catch-up lesson is fair, this is a whole different blog post in itself.
However, this is something you must decide for yourself and whatever you decide make sure the parents you work for know exactly what your boundaries are. No surprises!
To prevent using your breaks for catch up lesson, it is advisable to make them that little bit shorter than your lesson time. By doing this, you will prevent yourself from allowing people to steal your rest time!
Ultimately, this is your decision and something that is very personal to you. For me, I prefer to have large blocks of time off and will ensure that I preserve my entire weekend so I can spend time with my children. This does mean that I work fairly solidly in the afternoons and weekend Monday to Thursday but I find once I am in the groove of my teaching day it actually works to keep going! There will often be a cancellation or two as well which can break this up.