Can teachers say "NO?" - YES!
By nature, teachers are conditioned to oblige to whatever circumstances they are presented with - even if it is unfavorable toward them.
This New Year consider these "No - No's"
1. No, you don't have to settle.
If the environment you're in is not conducive to promoting the values of equity for all students, teachers, and staff, supporting inclusion, and prioritizing fairness it does not have to be your final destination - keep your options open.
2. No, you are not perfect.
Our profession is ever-evolving. You will recalibrate, reconsider, and review all the time. Do not beat yourself up over one bad something.
3. No, you don't have to go in.
If you are sick, stay home, that means emotionally, physically, or mentally. You owe it to your students to be your best self or whether testing is coming up or not; a big event; a pertinent staff meeting - do not go in sick. Don't do it. Take care of yourself.
4. No, say something to somebody.
If you ever feel a microaggression toward you or if you were the recipient of a blatant form of racism by speech or deed (from a parent, administrator, or colleague) - report it - even if it came from a person of power. Have to the courage that lies within you to dismantle the power structures that are fully depending on your complacency and silence to perpetuate these harmful systems.
5. No, everything does not merit a response.
You don't have to answer the email. Anotherwords, everything does not merit a response, be careful about going back and forth via email, it does something to your psyche that's counterproductive - resolve it via phone or refer it to someone to who it can be escalated.
6. No, you don't have to quit.
These are challenging times and emotional responses are okay but quitting altogether may not be the ultimate solution - if it's to that point, you'll know, but take some time to think it through first.
7. No, don't take it home.
We have a bad habit of taking things home and in the process taking away from our families. Teaching is a 24-hour job, you can never "turn off" being a teacher but you can choose to not overexert yourself if it is coming at the expense of your personal well-being or that of your family.
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