Guilt of Saying No

I don't think I need to explain to any teacher that the last couple of weeks of the school year are nothing short of overwhelming. It was hitting me especially hard today. And then the emails started coming.

We recently missed four days of school due to catastrophic flooding. The Missouri Department of Education took pity on us and decided that we do not have to make up the days. Yay! Except that we still have a bunch of state testing to get through in 5 days. I've already done hours of make-up testing, but still manage to feel like a jerk for not doing more.

A parent of one of my students is part of our killer PTO. Her email was a panicked plea for help finishing a video for a contest they've been hosting. She wants to put it together before the week is over. I am the jerk that does not have time to help.

There weren't enough helpers for field day today. I didn't help...jerk. Oh! Did I mention I forgot to bring in a potluck dish for our retiring cook? Jerk, jerk, jerk.

A former student came by asking for help prepping for her geometry final. I stopped what I was doing, helped her out, and made a plan to work with her again tomorrow.

I did a good thing. So why do I still feel like such a jerk for not helping put out all of the other fires? Why are we so hard on ourselves? It could be my bleeding heart. It could be my need to support my peers. Maybe it is just my ego telling me that I can fix everythying. Whatever the source of this jerky feeling, I know that it something I need to work on.

I just need to make the time to fix my own problems...but that is a whole other post.


  1. Did you ever ask yourself if you just like jerky? If so, a simple trip to the store would help save yourself the feeling. I love this post because I think so many of us can I identify with these feelings. My co-worker once told me she felt similar, but she had been told every time she says yes to one thing, she is saying no to something else. Time is finite, we can only give so much of our selves, and every time we are engage with another thing we are not spending our time with our friends, our family, or on ourselves. So while it is sooo hard to say no, realize you are saying yes to so many other things. Finally, like my co-worker, what we decided was (saying no is still hard) we would give alternatives to those things we wanted to say yes to, but just didn't have the time. What we found was that by giving options, it allowed the other person to sort of self select, if they really needed us then they'd choose, if they just wanted help then they'd find another soul. I hope that makes sense, great post.

    1. I love this perspective! I believe that my fatal flaw as an educator is going to be the lack of attention that I give myself. Thank you!


Back to Top