Do you tend to over-commit?
Do you have the “I’ll do it” Syndrome because you can’t imagine giving up control or believing that someone else can do it as well as you?
Are you on more committees than you care to admit?
If you said “yes” to any of these questions, you must keep reading.
As educators, we are typically altruistic and helpful individuals. It’s no surprise that we say “yes” when administration asks us to lead an initiative, help with after school programming or mentor a new teacher. But what happens when we say “yes”, and then “yes”, and “yes” some more? Two words…teacher burnout.
Author and performer, Thema Davis, once said, “Saying YES to happiness means learning to say NO to things and people that stress you out!” To avoid teacher burnout due to overcommitting, you must say “NO”!
Here are three tips for doing so:
First, have a “NO” statement ready. Here is mine: “Thanks for giving me the opportunity, but with my other commitments, I don’t think I could give this the attention it deserves.” Peers and administration will like the fact that you thanked them and were honest about how much you could contribute.
Next, ask for time to think about the offer if you are feeling pressured to say yes. Colleagues and leaders can handle a “no” and will often respect the fact that you took time to consider it before saying “no”. Remember that your “no” might be someone else’s “yes” and their opportunity for growth!
Finally, determine when a “YES” is ok or even necessary! It could be that you or your students are in great need of a certain outcome like increased parent engagement. That might be a very purposeful and necessary “yes”! Saying “yes” to responsibilities that are within a passion area can fill you up and actually decrease burnout. Just make sure you are being realistic with your time and choosing wisely.
Steve Jobs had it right when he said, “It is only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” Give these strategies a try to limit your commitments and save yourself from burnout.
Looking for more strategies on how you can help avoid or overcome teacher burnout? Check out a few of our other resources below:
- Self-Care for Teachers [VIDEO]
- Increase Resilience & Combat Teacher Burnout [VIDEO]
- Warning Signs of Teacher Burnout [blog post]
- Fireproof: Building Teacher Resilience to Decrease Burnout [WEBINAR]