#1MinCPD: Seven Times Why You Should Say ‘No’


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Say No

Hanna Beech

Hanna Beech has been teaching for ten years and has a range of experience across Key Stages 1 and 2 in a large Primary School in Kent. She is a phase leader for Years 3 and 4, and also leads on teaching and learning for... Read more about Hanna Beech

Do you find yourself saying ‘yes’ when you really mean to say ‘no’?

Sometimes, saying no (or at least ‘let me think about it’) is more productive in the long run. In a recent podcast, Dr. Doris A. Santoro talks about this being the number one reason why teachers leave the profession – not being able to say ‘no’ and thus, becoming demoralised.

Here are 7 moments when you ought to say ‘no’.

  1. When you are on your way to a meeting and someone wants to ‘have a minute’.
  2. When you don’t have the time to commit to a request, without it impacting negatively on your mental health.
  3. When you don’t have the skill set to complete the job.
  4. When you feel a request goes against your moral compass.
  5. When you are asked to do something beyond your physical capabilities (lifting, moving, trekking etc.).
  6. When you are asked if you ‘are ok’ with something and you’re not.
  7. When you are asked if you have completed something that you haven’t had the time to complete.

Why does this matter?

Saying ‘yes’ when you mean ‘no’ is not fair on you or the person asking you to do something. More often than not, when colleagues ask something of you, their intention is generally good, so being honest is vital if there is any reason the request can not be fulfilled. Look after your workload and wellbeing by knowing ‘when to say no’ is more important than saying ‘yes’.

If you are unsure if your answer is yes or no, just ask for a reasonable amount of time to think about the request. Remember, saying no doesn’t have to presented bluntly, use ‘I really can’t I’m afraid…’ or ‘Let me get back to you…’ to soften the blow.


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