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unconventional teacher advice

Why Every Teacher Should Learn to Say 'No'


Why Every Teacher Should Learn to Say 'No'


“What you don’t do determines what you can do!” –Tim Ferriss

Here's a fact: Dedicated teachers are in short supply and students, parents and administrators are masters of—often unfairly— squeezing every last drop of energy from them.

Here's another fact:  You have the right to say 'no' to unreasonable requests without feeling guilty!

It's true that teaching is an inherently selfless profession and many view themselves as servants to their students, schools, and communities.

It's also true that well-balanced students have well-balanced teachers. 

Saying 'no' is never easy. You want to do everything that you can to make a positive impact on your students and your school. In Kenny Nguyen's TED Talk, The Art of Saying No, the practice of declining certain requests is the key to saying yes to others. If you have set priorities for your students and yourself and expect to get through the school year with your stamina and sanity intact, then you simply can not say 'yes' to every request. 

Great teachers, of course, are team players, and saying 'no' sometimes won't change that. Know your limits and never feel guilty about putting a cap on how far you're willing to extend yourself.

Otherwise, like many teachers often do, you can fall victim to exhaustion and burnout towards the middle/end of the school year, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, unhappy, and ineffective.

You just may find out that saying 'no' more often prepares you for the perfect times to say 'yes'!

Do you think it's important for teachers to learn to say 'no' more often? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.