If so, you're not alone. Every single day, I hear from teachers all around the country who are drowning in guilt and exhaustion over losing the battle for work/life balance.
Each one of these exhausted teachers wonders: Is it just me who's struggling to balance it all? (Nope, it's not just you. Teachers everywhere are finding it increasingly difficult to do everything that's required.)
They wonder: Is it just MY school that's requiring all this documentation, testing, and extra work that doesn't really benefit students? (Nope, unfortunately that’s a problem teachers are facing nationwide, too.)
And most importantly, they wonder:
Are there any teachers who actually achieve work/life balance?
Yes! I'm Angela Watson, a National Board Certified Teacher who worked around 40-45 hours a week about 80-90% of the time during my 11 years in the classroom. And throughout the past 8 years which I've spent as an instructional coach, I've worked with hundreds of other teachers who are currently creating reasonable boundaries around their time.
Beginning with my first year of teaching in 1999, I intentionally developed a mindset, time management strategies, and daily routines that allowed me to leave school by 3:30 pm almost every day and take very little work home. I then experimented with different variations on those strategies throughout the years as the demands in my workload changed.
I became an instructional coach in 2010 because I wanted to help other teachers make their work more effective, efficient, and enjoyable. I’ve now spent the last few years visiting countless classrooms and supporting tens of thousands of teachers online via my blog and social media. My life's work right now is listening to teachers, hearing their struggles, and helping them find solutions to problems that drain their enthusiasm for teaching. Learn more about what I do here.
So what's the secret to working fewer hours?
I've been trying to find the best way to share this for nearly three years! I've extensively researched and curated ideas for productivity simply because I knew it was information teachers desperately needed...but I had no idea how to make all of it accessible.
I started by creating a PDF of tips, but when just the rough draft grew to over 250 pages, I realized a time-strapped teacher would be overwhelmed by that much reading and have no idea where to begin with implementation.
I then began creating a formal online course, but figured something so robust would be difficult for teachers to finish and would probably be abandoned before completion.
None of these solutions were really going to help teachers.
How does the club work?
The 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club is a one year program that delivers time-saving resources to your email inbox. Each Saturday morning, you'll receive practical, no-fluff tips for saving time in that month's focus area.
Hundreds of dollars worth of printable forms, charts, organizers, and teaching resources are included to help you implement the ideas and cut down on your workweek.
The ideas are sent via eGuides (8-15 page eBooks). You will get an email each week when new content is added, and can access it on whatever computer or mobile device you prefer. All your eGuides will be automatically stored and organized in a beautiful digital library which allows you to search, reference, download, or print all the content at any time, quickly and easily.
Each week's content is also sent in an audio version (MP3) so you can save time by listening instead of reading. Get productivity ideas while you drive, exercise, cook, or clean!
"I truly appreciate the opportunity to be part of this group. It's like having my own educational consultant, organizing consultant, expert planner and kind encourager all in one convenient Facebook package."
"40HTW is the best resource I have experienced--and I have done a lion's share of foraging on the internet, looking for worthy educational sites. Since commiting to 40HTW, I am working less hours and enjoying my job more! Thanks!"
"I feel so much hope, I feel like I'm making great gains. I feel like this group is more valuable than a required education course in college. I had fall break last week. I stayed late (few hours) on Tuesday to get as much done as possible and did not go back over the whole break! I relaxed and enjoyed my family. I don't feel like I'm drowning this week. It's all coming together and I positively am elated that I can love teaching, be good at it, not stress, not spend my life as a hermit. I see myself truly and thoroughly enjoying my career in a few months."
"I can’t tell you how much this group has changed my life. I've been able to cut 8+ hours off my week! Not mention my stress levels have been almost nonexistent. I still have things that didn’t get done this week, but I’ve set aside 2 hours this weekend to catch up."
"Thanks to you, this is the first year in 30 years of teaching that I didn't bring work home on Thanksgiving break. I am so thankful."
What’s the focus area for each month?
Club content will be shared with you over the course of 12 months. The next group of 40 Hour Innovators will begin on January 1st, 2017, and will progress through the 12 focus areas in this order:
Of course, you can ask ANY question on productivity or work/life balance at ANY time in the Facebook group.
You don't have to wait for a particular month to bring up an issue you're struggling with and get solutions!
How does the Facebook community work?
Each month that you remain enrolled in the club, you'll have 24/7 access to a private Facebook group with other 40HTW members. There you can ask questions, discuss time-saving strategies that have worked for you, and get advice from other teachers who can share what the 40HTW principles look like in their classrooms.
The Facebook community is where you'll get support in adapting the 40HTW strategies for YOUR unique classroom situation.
I personally check into the group on regular basis to answer questions and share additional resources beyond what you receive via email, and my co-moderators (who are classroom teachers) ensure that every question receives helpful responses from our group members.
Participation in the Facebook group is entirely optional but many club members view it as an integral part of their success. If you want to learn how other teachers are making it all work, or are wondering how they meet the increasing demands on their time in a balanced way, all you have to do is ask in the group.
Of course, all of the content is delivered through the membership site, not social media, so while you'll miss out on the community aspect if you're not in the Facebook group, you'll still get all the tips. If you decide to sign up, just put "no account" in the slot that asks for your Facebook name. Or, if you do decide to participate in the group, you can create a Facebook account just for this, and not add any personal details to your profile (use a random picture and short version of your name to protect your privacy.) It's totally up to you!
Who's in the club?
The resources are targeted toward general education 1st-12th grade teachers in the United States.
Around 60% of our members are elementary teachers and 35% are secondary teachers (middle/high school). (This mirrors the nation's population of teachers in general.) The vast majority of our members teach in self-contained settings. We do have some specialists (art, music, etc.), but not many.
About 10% of our members teach internationally (primarily in Canada and Australia, followed by Europe.) If your teaching context is not U.S. K-12 general ed, the vast majority of strategies WILL still be helpful for you, but I can’t guarantee that all info will be applicable, and you should be prepared to adapt the ideas more than a U.S. teacher would.
How can the club meet the needs of such a diverse group? Because the 40HTW is not a formula or one-size-fits-all approach. It's a set of strategies + principles that are adaptable for a wide range of teaching styles and contexts. You will receive many ideas so you can pick the ones that work for YOU.
94% of members choose to remain in the club beyond the initial 30 day cancellation period.
86% of members who joined last January began saving 3+ hours a week within their first 14 days of joining.
Is there anyone who might not be a good fit for the club?
If your school does not run on a traditional American schedule (August-ish to June-ish), you may not find the club worth the investment. The back-to-school and end-of-year resources won't be timely for you at all. (Scroll up a bit to see the large image with the focus schedule for each month.)
The club may be less helpful for preschool/PreK teachers; special educators; and art/music/PE/library teachers. If any of these descriptions fit you, you're certainly welcome to join us--we have lots of educators like you in the club who are getting amazing results! But these teaching contexts have a lot of unique challenges, and there are several weeks of club material that would not be particularly relevant to you. For example, we spend a week focusing on group work strategies, and if your students aren't reading and writing independently, you will need to heavily adapt my suggestions. I think you'd find about 70-80% of the club material is relevant to you, so the club would still be a good value, provided you're okay with needing to adapt the strategies more than a 1st-12th grade general education teacher would.
I do NOT recommend that you join the club if you are a college professor; instructional coach; administrator; school secretary, homeschooler; or para-professional. Only about 40-50% of the content would be relevant for you, and I want everyone who joins to feel like they're getting value above and beyond the membership price.
Which teachers get the BEST RESULTS from the club?
I’ve observed our members very carefully and surveyed them over time. It's clear that a member's attitude and commitment to the club has a far greater impact on their success than the particulars of their teaching situation. The most successful participants live in all different countries and teach in every grade level and context you can imagine, but they generally demonstrate the following 6 characteristics:
1. Teachers who are committed to making permanent lifestyle changes. They are not “crash dieters” who want to make a dramatic change for 2 weeks and then fall right back into their old habits. They are determined to learn more efficient ways of working and implementing those strategies for the rest of their careers.
2. Teachers who have created routines so the club is a regular part of their life that they prioritize and schedule time for. For example, some members choose to create a routine on Sunday mornings in which they drink their coffee while reading the strategies and planning for the week ahead. Or every Saturday afternoon, they go for a jog and listen to the content via MP3, then re-read the content to reference it and start implementing ideas when they get home. Others go into work early on Monday morning and listen to the content in the car, then start planning in their classrooms. The common thread? They dedicate time each week to studying the content of the program and deciding what they want to implement.
3. Teachers who participate at least once per week in the Facebook group. This participation is completely optional, but those who join the Facebook group are far more likely to stick with the club and adapt the ideas for their teaching context because they have the ability to learn from other teachers and get support. More participation in the Facebook group does not necessarily equate with better results: after all, social media can be a distraction from doing the work! But the most successful members tend to be those who pop into the group on a fairly regular basis to learn from others in their cohort, share what’s working and what’s not, and let us know about their progress so we can provide support and answer questions.
4. Teachers who view the club as a lifeline that supports them, not an obligation they are under pressure to “keep up with.” Members who tell themselves they are “falling behind” if they don’t use all the content tend to get sucked into a guilt spiral and disengage from the club. They pressure themselves to do every suggestion that's offered and implement it all immediately (and perfectly), and then end up not utilizing ANY of the resources. By contrast, our most successful members create realistic expectations for themselves. They see the club as being there to support them rather than creating more work for them. They look forward to opening the new email each week because it feels like a fun surprise and they might discover a new strategy that enables them to take another half hour or more off their workweek.
5. Teachers who don't try to do it all. They skim through the materials and focus only on the strategies that address their greatest needs, and generally pick ONE idea to implement each week. Our most successful members believe that small changes add up to big results!
6. Teachers who focus on the aspects of their work they CAN control and don’t make excuses. Our most successful members do not vent constantly about how much work they have piled on their plates, or view the club content through the lens of why the ideas couldn’t work in their teaching context. We have many members who start shaving hours off their workweek the very first week they joined, and without exception, those are the teachers who choose to take risks, think outside the box, and implement new ideas no matter what obstacles they are facing. The more determined you are to create change in your life, the better your results will be.
What happens when the one year program is over?
The program is designed to last for 12 months, as I’ve divided the club's content into one focus area for each month of the year. Think of it like a one year program.
When the year is up, no worries--you won't lose your support network or the friendships you've developed in the club! You'll be considered a 40HTW "graduate" and will have ongoing access to all the resources and the 40HTW Facebook community after the year is over, at no further cost.
When you join, you'll receive the Getting Started Guide as well as TWO LIMITED-TIME BONUSES:
the "Big Five" tips for teacher productivity, and the complete 40HTW List-Making system to help you prioritize your tasks.
What does it cost?
Membership is a one-time payment of $119.99 (or 4 quarterly payments of $34.99),
and you'll have ongoing access to club resources & the Facebook group
even after your year in the club is up.
How much is YOUR time worth?
Join hundreds of teachers who have made the financial investment to
gain 3, 5, or even 10+ work-free hours each week!
* 52 weeks of new classroom-tested productivity strategies provided in both PDF and audio podcast form
* Printable teaching resources and templates to help you save time
* Access to a private Facebook group where I--and hundreds of other teachers--answer your questions
* Two free bonuses: The Weekly To-Do List System and The Big 5 Tips for Teacher Productivity
* A professional development certificate at the end of the year to document your participation
The printable teaching resources/forms alone would cost hundreds of dollars if purchased individually, and the value is increased exponentially by the coaching you receive through the Facebook group.
I love this club! Angela, with all the high quality work you have put into this course, you could have easily quadrupled the price. I haven't even used all the strategies yet & have still gotten more than my money's worth.
"I had been working 65-70 a week before I joined the club. With the help of the amazing to-do list and other helpful hints from Angela, I have been slowly whittling my time down. This week my goal was 50 hours and I actually spent 49.75 hours working on school stuff. I am thrilled! I don't think there has ever been a week in my career where I have spent less than 50 hours at school! And I am not behind on anything! Thank you, Angela!"
"Angela, the things you teach us are so life-changing. I appreciate having it on audio as I am able to listen while doing laundry and prepping lunches for the week ahead. Thank you!"
"I love how Angela simplifies things. I have not mastered that skill yet. Soooo glad to feel like I'm on the path to a normal life and schedule. Getting closer! (So not there yet, but I'm ok with that as long as I am making progress and not stuck in the same rut I've been in for THIRTEEN years!!!)"
"I could tell my principal was impressed after my formative post-conference. Thanks to you, Angela, I was able to go into that conference with two picnic baskets of materials and all of the calmness and confidence that you have taught us along and along through this program…This course and group we have breathes new life and excitement into my veins. I left school this afternoon at 5:00 with a clean room, one small set of papers to grade, and everything ready for at least Monday and Tuesday. The best part....not having to dread Sunday. Happy dance!"
"My team members commented that I was ahead, and our team leader, whom I much admire, looked around the work posted up in my classroom and asked "How did you have time to get to all this?" It was surreal and I had to almost pinch myself to make sure I wasn't just fantasizing all this. I know this was a moment, and things will probably continue to get overwhelming, but I did experience a moment of triumph! I am so grateful for this group.
"Today, I sat down to finally plan for the week. I set my timer for one hour. I ended up working three, BUT I feel good and I got a lot done, so I won't have to do that work during the week ahead. I am stopping NOW. Like everyone else, I could work all night, but I am stopping. I feel grateful that I can relax in peace now. I am feeling on top of the world with this life-changing system."
"No working all weekend or late nights. No going crazy with it in my head. My colleagues say I'm more relaxed and best of all my students are more relaxed!"
YOU WILL GET RESULTS. PROMISE.
I'm confident that the club will help you shave 3, 5, or even 10+ hours off your workweek when you join in January. If you don't get results, send me an email within your first 30 days and I'll refund your payment.
Latest posts by Angela Watson (see all)
- Ask Angela Anything: your classroom management questions answered - September 25, 2016
- What to do when a student constantly refuses to work - September 18, 2016
- Why teacher-authors don’t give everything away free (& neither should you) - September 11, 2016
- How can teachers support and advocate for students in poverty? - September 4, 2016