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The Power in Saying "No"

Let's be honest, we are inundated with never ending tasks as teachers. And the old saying goes, "the better you are at your job, the more is asked of you". Being a great teacher is so rewarding for you and the students. However, being amazing almost puts a target on your back! Saying "no" at work can be a tricky situation, but it is sometimes necessary to set boundaries and manage your workload effectively. Establishing appropriate and realistic boundaries is so important in maintaining your sanity and happiness at work.

I hope to have a long lasting career in education. And honestly, maintaining appropriate boundaries has truly kept me in the education profession. I have witnessed colleagues burn out and walk away from education. There's absolutely no shame in doing what is best for you in that moment. I'll make a separate post on the ills of public education- that's a long, growing list. However, saying "no" and choosing to focus on positive things has kept me sane in some very stressful work environments.


I now recognize that although there is so much that I would like to do, I simply can't do everything. My life outside of my career is so fulfilling and worth exploring. So, I've learned to put myself first and give 100% effort for what I am responsible for. Anything beyond that is out of my control. The power of saying "no" is so rewarding. I am best when I can competently complete tasks that are most interesting to me.


These are a few things that I have to remind myself of:

  • Be clear and direct: When saying no, be clear and direct with your response. Don't beat around the bush or sugarcoat the message as it can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. Be polite but firm in your answer.

  • Provide a reason: If possible, provide a reason for why you're saying no. This can help the person understand your perspective and why you're unable to fulfill their request. And it eliminates your supervisor from expecting that in the future. You don't need to give an overly detailed explanation, keep it brief and to the point. But honestly, no reason is sufficient! You said no! Be firm and stand on what you believe.

  • Offer an alternative: If you're unable to fulfill the request, consider offering an alternative solution. This can show that you're willing to help in some way and can also help manage expectations.

  • Be mindful of your tone: The way you deliver your message matters. Avoid sounding defensive or dismissive as it can create a negative impact. Use a professional tone and approach to keep the conversation respectful and productive.

  • Follow-up: If necessary, follow-up with the person to ensure that they understand your response and that there are no misunderstandings.

Remember, saying no is not always easy, but it is sometimes necessary to manage your workload and priorities effectively. By being clear, direct, and respectful, you can say no in a way that maintains positive relationships and supports a productive work environment.


Don't forget to follow me on instagram @kreativescience. Leave a comment if this post is helpful for you!

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