Monday, August 25, 2014

Learning to Say No ... How to Maintain Balance & Wellness in Teaching

In preparation for another school year I was reading Mark Anderson's text The Well-Balanced Teacher since balance is definitely something that I struggle with even in my sixth year of teaching.

I've heard time and time again..."How can you be thatttt busy?  It's just teaching kids.  It can't be that hard."  You teachers know these comments definitely do not come from teachers.  We teachers are in the trenches trying to do it all....
*getting the struggler reader up to his/her peers,
*getting the advanced student to complete an extension project that is specially designed with his/her interest in mind,
*getting the student teacher to perfect her craft,
*meeting with colleagues to analyze data and plan lessons,
*getting that student who can't sit still to control his/her body with some manipulatives that you bought with your own money.
**I could go on and on with everything we do in a short period of time through the day (but I don't have time!)!!

While doing all of the above (and more), it's difficult for me (and many of my teacher friends) to also maintain a personal life, hobbies, health/wellness/exercise regime, etc..  However, it's not impossible!

In the possibility of doing it all Anderson suggests that the most balanced teachers know how to say no.

What does "saying no" really mean?  Let me explain... as a teacher you have so requirements to meet at the minimum...
*you have to plan rigorous lessons that meet the diverse needs of your learners,
*you need to be on specific committees,
*you need to communicate with parents via e-mail, text, phone call, or meeting

...all while being an actual person (wife, friend, daughter, etc)!

If you are already overwhelmed with the general responsibilities of teaching, acknowledge that and be okay with it.  Teaching is time-consuming and hard work in itself without all of the added extras of professional development, afternoon meetings, more work that the principal may put on you, etc.

Learn to say no to these additional activities.  I'm not saying to be a low-achiever by any means.

Saying no will allow for you to be more balanced, happier, and satisfied with your work!  It will improve the longevity of you in the profession and research shows that happier, more balanced teachers yield higher data results.  

Try to say no to some extra tasks this school year and let me know how it goes!!

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