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The Balanced Teacher Path

The Balanced Teacher Path

How to Teach, Live, and Be Happy


It wasn’t long after being named North Carolina History Teacher of the Year that Justin Ashley started noticing signs of burnout. He knew he needed to make some radical changes in how he handled his work and personal life. In The Balanced Teacher Path, Justin shares his personal story—illuminating how easy it is to give your job everything you’ve got and leave yourself with nothing outside of school—and shows new teachers and veterans alike the self-care techniques they can employ to create work-life balance and prevent burnout. With equal parts humor and wisdom, Justin analyzes four key aspects of every teacher’s life—career, social, physical/emotional, and financial—and offers practical advice to bring these areas into sync, reigniting a passion for teaching in the process.
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ISBN: 978-1-63198-101-2
Audience: Educators for grades K–8
Trim Size: 7.25" x 9.25"
Page Count: 160
Praise for The Balanced Teacher Path

“Unique and exceptional, The Balanced Teacher Path is impressively user-friendly in organization and presentation, making it an ideal and highly recommended addition to personal, school district, and teacher education collections.”—Wisconsin Bookwatch

“Balance is something many educators find difficult to achieve. Justin Ashley’s book is a must-read for educators at any point in their careers! Justin offers practical solutions and advice intermingled with personal anecdotes and reflections from his teaching career that will help you travel along the balanced teacher path—the path that will positively impact ALL areas of your life!”—Lisa M. Pagano, M.Ed., NBCT, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

“Great teachers produce amazing results . . . but at what cost? Justin Ashley is one of those great teachers who is willing to truthfully share the costs he painfully paid in order to benefit and inspire his fellow educators. This topic of teacher burnout and stress management is real. This book can truly serve to share ‘real-world ideas and strategies’ to fuel personal reserves of emotional and physical resilience needed to continue our important professional and personal goals. Reading this book can provide ways to rediscover the passionate and amazing teachers and people we all strive to be! Thank you, Justin.”—Kathy Rhea Bumgardner, M.Ed., national literacy consultant at Strategies Unlimited, Inc., and a McGraw-Hill Wonders author

“Everything about this book is genuine. From Justin’s forthright sharing of his experiences to his candid advice, The Balanced Teacher Path is a MUST-READ for all teachers, but especially novices who find themselves trying so hard to be the ‘perfect teacher.’ If you want to find your balance AND your sun, read this book. As former NC Teaching Fellows director, I am so proud of Justin for finding his balance and reigniting his passion for living, loving, and teaching.”—Dr. Misty Hathcock, NC New Teacher Support Program regional project director, UNC Charlotte

“Wow . . . I just finished reading Justin’s book and I literally could not put it down. Whether you are a first-year or veteran teacher, The Balanced Teacher Path will inspire and speak to you. It feels so good to know you are not alone in trying to make a difference in the lives other others, while still balancing your own lasting happiness in a busy world. It prompted me to reflect on my own life right now and steps I should take TODAY to lead a more balanced life. This is a must-read for all teachers and should be required reading in all pre-service teaching programs.”—Justyn Knox, M.Ed., NBCT 

“If we want to successfully meet the needs of all of our students, it is important that we as teachers meet our own needs as well. In this book, Justin Ashley, whom I have had the great joy of knowing for almost half a decade, draws on his own experiences as a high achieving and highly driven educator to give us ways in which we can effectively achieve balance between our own needs and those of our students. Thanks to my work with Justin, I can testify that he does indeed practice what he preaches in this book. Like all of us, though, it took him awhile to get there, and this is in many ways the story of his journey to that balance. It is a journey I encourage you to follow him on.”—Stephen S. Masyada, Ph.D., University of Central Florida

“Justin’s remedies for breaking out from the burnout are compelling, practical, and will help reignite the passion for the profession. It’s a must-read for educators facing these real-life situations like Justin, but it can be modified to help any professional find the right life balance. These are tremendous lessons from a tremendous husband, father, and teacher.”—Mark Jewell, North Carolina Association of Educators president
Catching Happiness: How to Work Through Burnout and Be a Joy-Filled Teacher
A Free Webinar with Justin Ashley

Join Free Spirit’s edWeb community, Social-Emotional Learning, Positive Behavior, and Student Achievement, to take a short quiz based on the webinar below and earn a free CE credit.

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User Reviews

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July 13, 2018 / Katrina Morrison - Oklahoma
Recommended reading for New Teachers and Renewing Teachers

About a year ago I won a copy of THE BALANCED TEACHER PATH. I got sidetracked with school and returned to the book this summer. Reading it has been a breath of fresh air. I can see myself organizing a group of teachers into a book club and beginning with this book. I plan to make it a gift to new teacher friends.

I loved what Ashley wrote about finding a BTF and avoiding vampire teachers. The tips for communicating with parents are excellent and deserve regular re-reading as a reminder. I like the way Ashley explains that feedback from administrators can be appreciation, coaching, and evaluation.

I hope to make a habit of leaving compliment slips in the form of sticky notes for students to find. Writing thank you notes to students is also a great idea. I also am generating a stack of quote cards to hand out to students at opportune moments.

The idea of developing a schedule for the weekend is such good advice for new and veteran teachers. New teachers often feel they must spend every waking moment mastering the art of teaching. Veteran teachers need someone like Ashley to keep us from falling prey to being guilt-tripped into working all weekend.

I may follow Ashley’s advice of picking a passion and bringing it into the classroom. I love to sing and may, to the chagrin of my students, lighten the mood with song from time to time. I believe Ashley could write an entire book on putting a purple cow into every lesson.

I am not ready to ditch my desk, and life is too full for a summer or side job. I do think it is great advice to learn to live on a lower wage rather than accustoming oneself to a higher wage.

So, am I being too obvious, if I say that I highly recommend the book?

December 30, 2017 / Mary - Wisconsin
Great read for people interested in how to work, live & be happy...

I purchased the book for my daughter who is a first year teacher. I just retired after teaching for 33 years. I was not ready to retire and feel passionate about encouraging people to teach. My older daughter is a teacher as well, and the ideas outlined in the book are great for teachers at all stages of their career. In fact, I convinced my husband (a marketing director of a hospital) to read several chapters. He immediately saw helpful ideas for leading a balanced path. It is a great read with practical advice to bring career, social, physical/emotional and financial aspects of life into balance.


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