New Teachers: When to Say Yes… When to Say No

Posted: July 17, 2012 in For Educators
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For the most part, teachers are good, caring generous people. The fact that you’ve chosen to devote your time to the betterment and development of young people is a strong indicator that you are compassionate, thoughtful individuals who want to contribute to the lives of others. And people know this. Even your colleagues know this and unfortunately, sometimes knowing this about you makes others think they can ask you to do things that you don’t have the time or energy to do. Many schools have budgetary problems and consequently, there are services that should be in place that aren’t. This unfortunate reality compels many administrators to find creative ways to provide necessary services to the students… which brings me to you, a first year or a relatively new teacher. You are more likely to have extra energy for the work than a 30 year veteran, and your new devotion and idealism make you commodities in schools. So be prepared to be asked to volunteer your time before or after-school or during your lunch period. And this isn’t to tell you to say no to these requests, nor is it to get you to resent or mistrust authority figures who ask you to volunteer for activities or tasks. This is only to notify you that it may happen, and to remind you that you always have the right and the choice to say “no thank you.”

When making your decision as to whether or not you will commit yourself, simply think about whether or not you have the time, the energy or the desire to commit yourself fully without resentment. The last thing you want to do is over-burden yourself, add to a long list of other stresses and create a situation where you feel like you have to say yes to every request. Volunteering is an honorable and wonderful gift to give to the students and to your school, but be sure that if you choose to give up your personal time without compensation, that you’re doing so in a healthy way where you can keep your balance between your personal and professional lives.


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