Teacher Wellness

Hey Shawnta! How Do I Tell My Principal That I Don’t Want to Sponsor an After-School Activity?

Hey Shawnta!

How do I tell my principal that I don’t want to sponsor an after-school activity?

That’s easy. Just say no.

Okay … stay with me. If you are asking this question, the real question might be:

  • How do I say no again after I already say no?

  • Will saying no have future negative implications for my career?

Let’s talk about these questions instead.

You Cannot Be the Solution to Every Problem

I have the habit of saying yes more than I should. Over the last five years, I have been way better at saying no. However, I found out that one way that I ended up saying yes was that someone circled back after I had already said no. In my mind, I wonder what will happen if no one does the job and how that will impact others.

In the school setting, we worry about the impact on students.

I had a mentor who was helping me with how to commit to the no. He asked me, “Why do you feel the need to take on the burden of impact on other people?” He also told me I could not be the solution to every problem I am presented with and noted how saying no prevents me from saying yes to myself, my needs, and my desires.

My mentor also helped me see that if someone circled back, I could offer up another person who could be approached instead so I wouldn’t feel like I had contributed nothing toward solving the problem.

Sometimes, we don’t really want to do the task, but we say yes based on fear. I have worked at a school where it was pretty clear that everyone stayed after school at least once a week to sponsor a club. I also learned that managing a club was like preparing for another class. At the time, I didn’t have the bandwidth. However, fear kept me from saying no. I did not stay at that school for too long.

Any school environment that makes you feel like you cannot say no is not the best environment for you.

You don’t have to solve every problem. You don’t have to sponsor this club.

Trust me. Students will know if you really want to be there or not.



Shawnta S. Barnes

Shawnta is a married mother of identical twin boys. As an Indiana native, she attended school in two Indianapolis school districts; she attended Indianapolis Public Schools for two years and completed her education in Lawrence Township Schools. Her sons entered kindergarten during the 2016-2017 school year, so she not only navigates Indianapolis schools from the educator's perspective but also ...

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