Tuesday, August 22, 2017

5 Ways Teachers Can Say No Without Feeling Guilty

No is only a 2 letter word, but it can be so hard to say sometimes, especially when you are a teacher!

We've all been there, sometimes you are in your classroom busily getting things done during your prep when your principal, fellow teacher, or parent pops their head in and says, "Can I ask you a favor?

Sometimes, of course we are happy to say, "yes".  The favor is something we want to do, is rewarding, or a win-win situation.  But other times, we feel anything but excited about the situation.  We feel obligated, pressured, resentful, and even guilty for wanting to say, "no".

Teachers are natural overachievers.  We are the perfectionists who want to do it all and then some! Couple that with our urge to be care-givers and you have a recipe for not being able to say the word no.  Unfortunately, that can lead to burn-out and frustration!  

I have learned that saying no not only helps me to be a happier and healthier person, but it also gives me more time and energy to focus on my students and instruction. Win-win, right?

But, what if the natural people-pleaser in you doesn't know how to say, "No"? 

Here are some tips to help:

Just Say No

Maybe your principal asks you to serve on "just one more committee" or a parent asks you to pull together work for a week for their student while they go on vacation starting tomorrow.  Sometimes, you just need to say, no you simply can't!  

Frame it in a nice way.  

"Thank you for considering me for the Sunshine Committee, but I really need to focus on improving my math instruction this quarter." 

"I would love to put work together for Johnny, but unfortunately it is impossible to do that with such short notice.  I will have his missing work available for him when he returns to school."

Be a Matchmaker

If you can't help someone with a problem, offer to hook them up with someone who can. 

 "I can't serve on the committee, but I know that Ms. Smith has a lot of great staff morale building ideas!"

It's Not You, It's Me.

Let them know that your not saying no because of them personally, but it is just your own personal boundary.

"I'm sorry, It's my policy to have students make up work when they return to school so that I can offer instruction and support if they need it."

It's Just Not the Right Time

Your principal might ask you to take the lead on a project that sounds interesting, but you just can't take on another thing at this time.

"I would love to implement XYZ in my classroom, but I am swamped with report cards right now.  Can I start that next quarter?"

Reverse the Question

Let's say your principal is asking you to do several tasks at once, or is adding additional things to your already overflowing plate.  Turn question back over to them.

"I would absolutely love to do X, Y, and Z, but I am going to need additional time to do them.  How would you like me to prioritize them?"

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