Featured Blogger Jenn from TeachLoveAutism - Saying No in Education

We all do so much and in so many different aspects. We work in our classrooms, we have family, we have hobbies, some of us have second jobs and the list goes on. I think teachers are just overachievers by nature and they always feel like they need to take on more. That’s where this post is stemming from.

I often am the person that you see that is part of three committees and always volunteering to help out with the different events in my school. And by no means do I want you to applaud me because, I am finding that it’s burning me out. I have had some time to think about this over the summer. Am I really making a good choice by taking on so much? Does it make me a better person or a better teacher if I continue to take on all this and spread myself so thin?

All I know is that I am an all or nothing person, I hate when I take on a task and I can’t give 110%. That’s just who I am and I have learned this about myself at this point in my teaching career. I have really thought about why it’s important for you to sometimes say “no” to some of the responsibilities we get laid in front of us so let’s dive in.

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The first thing you can do is actually figure out what you just can’t do. This sounds weird, but hear me out. You need to think about the non-negotiables in your life that you would never be willing to give up. For example, I am never okay with missing out on something for my children, so if the committee, dance, or group is expecting me to give up that time continuously, it is very easy for me to say “no”.

The other aspect you can look at is the longevity of the task you are being asked to do. If you are asked to plan and prepare a school dance this is once and done, that can be very different from being asked to commit to a year-long committee with multiple meetings a year with extra work on the side.

Lastly, look at if this task is going to ask you to provide some kind of monetary input to it. If you are a first year teacher struggling to pay your college loans, new car payment, and apartment rent then you may not be ready to help pay for a new initiative at your school. Sometimes you have to say “no” because you aren’t in the right place to say “yes”.

THINGS YOU CAN DO:

So, we talked about things you shouldn’t do and I want to end this post with the things that you can do to help yourself make the decision to say “yes” but, in a more productive way so you won’t regret it later.

Try thinking about the concept of the task and if it stresses you out, then it probably is not for you! Think about the committees and tasks that are with your passions and try to figure out a way to be a part of them. Even if the committee is full I bet they would be happy to take on one more person and especially if it is someone that loves the content. If it is something you are passionate about it, you are more likely to enjoy it too!

Lastly, if you don’t see the committee or event of your dreams at your school then take some initiative and do what you are passionate about and create it yourself! Talk with your administration about it and see if you can come up with a plan that you can get approved. I have done groups that incorporate my students with their peers more, or things that involved an assembly topic that I love.

I hope that these tips will help you to say “no” to the things that are draining you so that you can dive into saying “yes” to something that you are passionate about. Here is a little image I created to help you decide if that committee or dance is a good fit!

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Lastly, be prepared for the next post in this series because I am actually going to give you tangible ways to say “no” and help you with wording it so you don’t guilty.

Thanks for reading and lots of love!

Jenn

www.teachloveautism.com

@teachloveautism