In my twenty two years as a teacher, I’ve advised a number of clubs, produced the literary magazine, lead a committee or two, and represented my school when the district, pre-Common Core, developed curriculum guides based on the state standards. I’ve always been a team player and help out where I can.  

But last week when the vice-principal called me into his office and asked me to participate in a campus-wide event, I said no, thank you.  Why?

Because I’d participated in that event at least twice before.
Because I knew that, right then, it would dilute my effectiveness as a classroom teacher.
Because I knew I was overextended in my personal life and this activity would take time, energy, and resources I didn’t have.  And I wanted to listen to that.
Because I was tired and knew I wouldn’t be able to do my best.

After I told him no, the vice-principal looked at me and said, “Okay.  No problem.  Maybe next year.”

It’s okay to decline requests, set limits, and choose only the essential in your life.  Saying no does not make you a bad teacher, friend, or person.  It shows people that you value your personal time and energy, that you respect the other person’s request, and that you’re actually honoring them by wanting to do the best you can and waiting until that’s possible.  

Don’t be afraid of The Power of No.  It often makes you better, not worse. TZT