Teachers are asked to do a lot of things in addition to the general expectations of teaching, prepping, and correcting. They are often asked to join extra committees, attend professional development and take on additional responsibilities and tasks.
While many things can be very beneficial, others can simply spread your time to thin. It is important to become involved outside the classroom, but it is better to excel in one or two areas than be adequate (or worse) in many.
Get in the habit of responding to such requests (even small tasks) in one of two ways:
- If you know you can’t do it or simply don’t want to do it then just say no immediately.
- If you are not comfortable being so dismissive then always respond with, “I will look at my schedule and responsibilities to see if I will have the amount of time it takes to ___ and will let you know ___.”
When using the latter approach be clear on when you will give a definitive answer and make sure it is in a short amount of time. Next truly look at your schedule and your to do list for the time frame the request involves and analyze if what is being asked of you is feasible in conjunction with your other personal and preofessional commitments.
Then ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it greatly benefit the students?
- Will you take something valuable away from it?
- Can it be added to your teacher evidence binder?
- Will doing it/not doing it impact your teaching status?
- Is it a task that you can do quickly, but will greatly help someone else?
Also think about why the request was made. Do you possess a skill that others don’t? Is there someone better or equally qualified for the job? Are you simply known to be someone who always says yes?
Keep in mind that just because you may currently have time available to do something, you may not in the future and take that into consideration when making your decision. This is especially true for agreeing to participate in committees that meet throughout the year. It may seem feasible at the moment, but as the months go on you may have much more on your plate. Look at the big picture.
Finally, while you are not always obligated to provide a reason for saying no, it is usually a good idea to share your reasoning with something like...
- “I appreciate you asking, but I have too much on my calendar right now.”
- “Thank you for thinking of me, however I am overcommited at the moment.”
- “I wish I could help, but I currently have too much on my schedule to allow me to properly...”
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