I am usually the worst person at saying, “No.” I like to get involved in different things and I like to help people out. If somebody needs a volunteer, I’m always there. When offered different personal and professional opportunities, I consistently take them. I love opportunities to share. I love opportunities to collaborate with others. I love opportunities to present. These are all parts of teaching that are outside of my time in the classroom, but bring me a lot of joy.
Recently though, I’ve been thinking a lot about a blog post that I read a few weeks ago by one of our Board’s superintendents, Sue Dunlop. Sue is working hard at meeting her one word “essential” goal, and I applaud her for this. Her recent post about “the art of choosing no” aligns with her one word goal, and in it, she shares about the different ways that she says, “no.” Since reading Sue’s post, I’ve found my own “no” voice.
It’s the end of the year, and this definitely means some increased stress.
- Report cards are due in about three weeks.
- My final project for my course is due at the same time as report cards.
- I’m packing up a classroom and moving to a new school.
These are just three things, but they’re three important, time-consuming activities, and I’ve realized that I can’t add more to my list right now. I need to be there for my students. I need to be happy, patient, and calm, for while it’s a stressful time of the year for educators, it’s also a stressful time of the year for kids.
- Some kids are worried about next year.
- Some kids are sad about school ending and unsure about what the summertime will bring.
- Some kids are anxious because of the many changes in routine with field trips and special days.
- Some kids are extremely happy and excited about the start of summertime, and finding it hard to focus on school work.
If we want our students to be calm during this challenging time, we need to be calm too, and for me, that means that I need to recognize my limits. Today, I said, “No, I can’t do that right now, but I will by …,” and I gave another time after the deadline for my report cards and course work. This was really hard for me to do. I had to tell myself not to go back and change my response. I stuck with the “No,” and I’m glad that I did.
I love my job, and I choose to spend the time that I do on programming for students, planning provocations, and professional development because these are all part of what I love. But lately I’ve realized that I also love, and need, “me time.”
- This morning, instead of reading a blog post, I read the last five chapters in a mystery book that I’ve been trying to finish for the last two months.
- I’ve met friends for dinner.
- I’ve gone out for brunch.
- I went and got a pedicure, and I enjoyed some time reading as I did so.
- I played with my dogs outside.
- After reading Sue‘s post on sleeping, I’ve gone to bed by 10:15 every night, and gotten at least six hours of sleep. That’s a lot for me!
Teaching is still my passion, and I continue to put a lot of time and effort into our students, but I’ve started to realize that in order to be “better” for them, I need to spend a little more time on myself. This goes along with sometimes saying, “No.” I don’t know if this word will ever come easily to me, but I’m going to keep working at it, for sometimes it’s the right word to choose. How do you decide when to say, “No?” At a stressful time of the year, maybe this is a word that would benefit all of us. What do you think?
As part of my final project for Foundations 4, I am blogging about my thoughts, questions, and experiences connected to self-regulation. While this post doesn’t explicitly mention self-regulation, the ability to stay calm and self-select strategies to do so, definitely aligns with this topic. I hope that these blog posts provoke more conversations on self-regulation.