As a tutor, you control your own time and manage your own workload.
Being your own boss may sound good, but sometimes, it can be hard to find the right work-life balance.
If you’re not careful, work can take over your personal life and set you up for a burnout.
If you find yourself scrambling for time to spend with your loved ones or even to take a short break to rest without thinking of work, you need to start learning how to set boundaries.
Why should tutors need boundaries?
If you find yourself running out of steam towards the end of the day, ask yourself why.
Perhaps, it’s due to you being continuously pressured by parents’ requests to do more for their children, or maybe it’s because you spent most of your free time in between lessons answering questions by your overzealous students over WhatsApp instead of taking proper rest.
If you spend all your time outside of lessons answering messages and calls, you will not have any time to rest. In the long run, you may heading towards a job burnout.
To avoid the downward spiral, tutors must be able to have boundaries when it comes to managing their time.
Just because we do not have fixed hours like other professions, it does not mean we can’t set our own, right?
How Can I Set Up Boundaries?
Keep these in mind when you decide to set boundaries:
When – You need time to work and time to rest.
How – To make sure that you are disciplined to adhere to those periods you set. If time indicates work, don’t browse through your Facebook. If it is time for rest, don’t think about your student’s performance.
What – Identify and get rid of your obstacles that prevents you from either concentrating during work or prevents you from taking a break in peace.
Who – Talk to your student’s parents in your first session to set up the right expectations.
Why – Remember your goals when you set out to become a tutor. What makes you want to teach our future generations? What are your life and career goals?
As a tutor, it is our creed to teach children who need academic guidance, but you will need to give yourself limits so you won’t get overwhelmed. You can’t please everyone and do everything perfectly each time you meet your students. It’s also ok to say when you need a break.
Here are some tips on how you can set up your boundaries and improve on your work-life balance:
1. Decide on work-free days (means no tuition lessons, no lesson plan, no grading)
Before you take on students, you need to give yourself work-free days where you won’t think about anything related to work.
Doing this will help you get the rest you need to recover from your week long tasks in tutoring all kinds of students and instead spend time with your loved ones. It will also help you adjust your focus and know what is important.
2. Have a fixed working schedule
As a tutor, you have to juggle with a lot of students and each student has different schedules for their tutorial classes. You need to find a way to fit them in your schedule without clashing with one another.
But, you need to set a clear working schedule that won’t be changed for any reason. Your work schedule must be something you can commit to every day and fit your lifestyle.
Once you have this set up, make sure to practice it and not let each lesson go beyond your set schedule, affecting your personal life in the process.
If your student somehow is unable to meet up with you, you can set up a make-up session during your work schedule. However, this should be a one time off basis.
Don’t allow your students to take your time for granted!
3. Stick to a finite grading time
When you create your schedule for the week, always have a clear time with regards to how much time you will use for grading. Don’t go beyond the time you set for it so you can stay productive.
If you press on with grading beyond what you can take, your brain will slowly lose focus and affect your judgment.
To start off with this tip, use a timer to remind you how much time you have left for grading and to inform you when to stop.
4. Take a non-negotiable breaks during the day
Aside from having a clear working hour and grading time, you also need to plan your breaks. Breaks can help you refresh your mind and charge your batteries before you go to your next job.
Doing these breaks will help reduce mental and physical fatigue, which can affect how well your body recovers from a long day of work.
Breaks can be as short as 5 to 10 minutes or as long as an hour. Make sure that when you do these breaks, you are not distracted so that you can focus on recovering completely.
Besides break time, set a fixed time for your bedtime. For my own bedtime, I set it at 11pm and after that time, I will not answer any calls or messages.
5. Schedule a longer travel time in between two lessons
Since you have to handle different students in different locations, make it a point to have a longer travel time in between them. You can use the travel time to take a short break before you focus on your next student.
It is also a great way to catch up with your family and friends by texting them or use this time to listen to self-improvement podcasts.
6. Release the guilt
It is very common for us to feel guilty when we set boundaries for ourselves for any reason. For those who love to help and don’t want to hurt people, this is extremely difficult to do. However, if you understand yourself and what you need, you shouldn’t feel guilty you are placing these boundaries up.
You also deserve respect and care because tutors have to deal with a lot of things to be able to impart knowledge effectively. If you take care of yourself and your needs, you will be able to give your best for your students and give yourself the break you need.
As a tutor, you need to have boundaries set up to ensure you don’t go beyond your call of duty. Boundaries will also help you balance your life better because you aren’t letting your work affect your life completely. Let these tips help you set up your work boundaries and let it help you be a well-rounded tutor that every student will love.
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