Friday, March 05, 2010

The One Promise I Can Make You

My son's high school English teacher has a great blog for other English teachers.  Even though this post is for teachers, you will get the gist of it and know that it applies to many of us.

No one will ask you to do LESS this week. No one will ask you to do less work. Nor will they say, "We have talked about it and would like you to attend fewer meetings and sit on fewer committees from now on."
This is the only promise I can make you.
No one will suggest you teach less, spend less time on student papers, or meet with fewer students. I promise you they will not encourage you to respond to fewer parent (or student) emails, phone calls, or requests to meet.
So it is up to you to say No. Practice it. Find language you are comfortable with, which sounds something like this: "I really appreciate you asking me to ________, and it means a lot to me that you would think I was capable of doing that. Given all that I am doing at this time, I just can't right now, so I have to decline. But thanks!"
Remember: saying No to one thing always means saying Yes to another. No to that committee means Yes to your kids; No to attending the district meeting after school means Yes to yoga, a run, time at a cafe--or just the time you need but can't say no to when it comes to grading papers.
Am I saying to avoid doing anything and everything at school? Not at all! You already do soooo much! But realize that you can say this word and at times should, even must. So, too, must the younger teachers, those without kids yet to care for and who need to develop the leadership skills, learn to say yes, though many no doubt already do.