It’s that time of year. The time of year when teachers are feeling stressed and start to burn out. Over the next few days I’m going to share with you a few tips that I have for avoiding teacher burnout. Today’s topic……don’t be afraid to say no.
A few years ago if I was asked to do something at school my immediate answer was yes. What ended up happening over time was I was taking on more side projects than I could handle and was starting to feel burned out trying to juggle a full time teaching load, extra projects, and a social life. My mindset changed after reading Chris Hardwick’s book The Nerdist Way. In his book Chris talks about taking on a project that ultimately failed. He said his biggest regret was starting the project because he was too busy to fully devote his full attention to the project. After reflecting on my own experiences I felt the same way. Not giving my full attention was causing me to stress out.
Later on in the chapter Chris offers three questions that you should ask yourself before taking on a new project or responsibility.
- Is this in the wheelhouse of things I normally do?
- Would taking on this project REALLY change my life?
- As objectively as possible, do I really have the time to give this project the attention it deserves.
When approached with a new project or opportunity I normally ask myself question number 3. As a husband, father, full time teacher, and part time Jiu Jitsu student/teacher my extra time is very limited. If I feel like I can’t give a project the attention it deserves I normally say no. I’ll admit it’s hard at first. Saying no feels like you are disappointing the person who is asking for help but I’d rather disappoint them before starting than have to quit half way through and feel like I abandoned them. I think most teachers suffer from this same problem. Saying no goes against our teacher nature of wanting to help others. However by saying no you ultimately can help relieve stress from your life and focus on the things that matter to you.