Friday, December 6, 2019

How to say no politely

December can be a hard month for educators for many reasons. The semester is wrapping up and teachers feel the crunch of ensuring that they taught all standards and kept up with the state, district, and/or school curriculum. 

Also, it's a time that many emotions come to the surface for students and adults alike. Joy and hope are experienced by many, but it's also important to remember that there are some who feel great loss and helplessness around the holiday time. 

In a meeting recently with teachers who are new to our school this year, we had some great discussions about pedagogy, technology, positive relationships with students, and the future of school. 

In the meetings, I reminded our new teachers that being an educator is the hardest and best job in the world. 

More and more kids come to school with struggles - whether family dysfunction, hunger, mental health issues, stress, poverty, our some other unmet needs - and sometimes we as educators want to shoulder the burden for our students. It can be a heavy burden to bear, especially when we feel as we can't make a difference in a child's situation. 

I reminded our teachers that as we wrap up the holidays, it's important for them to take care of themselves, too. That means setting healthy boundaries, getting enough rest, making healthy food choices, exercising, saying no sometimes, and anything else that they know will help them to take care of themselves.

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How to say no

In our quarterly new teacher meetings, I try to model how to talk to students or explain how to use a classroom management strategy. Sometimes new teachers need to see and hear what a strategy will look like in action. 

While we're sitting around a table for these meetings and not in a classroom, I still want to make sure that our teachers are armed with the phrases that can be beneficial in their relationships with students and other staff members. 

In reflecting on our meeting, I realized that while I encouraged them to say no sometimes, I didn't provide a resource for them. Below you can see the graphic that I plan to send to them today. 

Is there a phrase that stands out to you or that you needed to read about today? Leave me a comment below or tag me on twitter, @Jennifer_Hogan. I would love to hear from you!


  1. Excellent blog post. Agree with you completely. Sometimes we've got to say no politely due to time constraints or other commitments.

  2. Wow, great words that would never hurt anyone.