The first reason I like to say yes is because I love learning new things. I think continuing to learn is one of those innate reasons that led me to become a teacher. My friends call me the Google Queen because if I ask a question and nobody knows the answer, I want to find out what it is.
The second reason I like to say yes is because I want my voice heard. If changes are coming down the pike, I want my voice to be part of the implementation. I want to be able to say what I think is good for the kids and what is not so good. Sometimes this gets me in a little bit of hot water, but at least my voice gets heard.
A third reason I like to say yes is because of the kids. Sometimes I can really see why we are doing something and how it will benefit the kids, so I jump right in to see what will happen if I give it a go. Other times it's because I disagree with the benefits for the kids. I feel like somebody has to speak up for them if a new initiative is going to make them more of a number than a little person. (See above in regards to getting in hot water!)
I've also come to realize that I said yes to escape. When things were not so great at home I said yes because yes kept me busy. Yes kept me at school in meetings or working on tasks. Yes kept my head and my hands busy even when I was at home. Yes was a great way to throw myself into something useful and beneficial while avoiding everything that was going wrong.
My answer was also yes because a lot of times many other people's answers were no. So many times I said, "I'll help if you need me to, but if somebody else wants to do it, please pick them." And there were just no other thems to pick.
There have also been many times where the yes wasn't my yes; we affectionately call it being "volun-told" to participate. The latest happened this past school year when I finally said no to something and received an email that started, "You administrator believes that you would be a valuable contributor to our conversation. We will be meeting..........." It's flattering that my voice is valued, but even when I say no I still somehow end up saying yes.
Now that my life is a little bit different, I've been working really hard to balance my passion for learning, my love of being involved, and the feeling that I don't want to / can't do everything. In our latest summer assignment from Unshakeable by Angela Watson, I read about establishing healthy habits and determining what matters most to me. She recommended asking these questions before deciding to take on a task:
- What would happen if I didn't do this?
- What will happen if I do it later?
- How long will it really take me to handle this?
Now, these questions were specifically meant to help teachers prioritize the work they need to finish for their classrooms while handling all of those unexpected things that pop up during the day. But the first question really struck a cord with me.
What will happen if I don't do this?
It's a really interesting question to ask yourself about a lot of those things that we seem to make into "must dos" in this day and age. There are so many things that it will apply to, and I really want to make it into my question. It's not that I don't want to keep saying yes, I just want to say yes to those things that REALLY matter to me. I guess that'll be my next step: deciding what really matters.