Teachers: Get some Boundaries
Boundaries, and strong ones are essential in order to have a happy, successful and long experience working in education. They’ll help you in basically every single thing that you do, from dealing with admin and coworkers, to students, to parents.
Students: Your Problem is Not My Problem
Let’s get specific with an example from my current university. I work at my school’s Global Zone, where students have to make appointments to meet with me or another “professor” at my school. The spaces often fill up each week and those that try to squeeze in at the last minute usually won’t make it.
Note: These students who are bugging me are NOT my normal students who take for-credit classes with me. They are just random students that I’ve often never met before and want help from any white face that they see. If it’s my own students, I’m far kinder and will usually go out of my way to do whatever I can for them.
“Just Check it Quickly, Okay?”
In the 2-3 minutes between appointments, I’ll often get a student trying to catch me just to “check something quickly” for them. Or, when my shift is done and I’m heading to another class, they’ll try to stop me and want a few minutes of my time. Or some students will try to pressure me to end a scheduled appointment early so I can help them for a few minutes.
Note: I’m not just hanging around chit-chatting with the students who work in there-I’m actually rushing off to another class or thing that I have to do.
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I Will ALWAYS Say No
In each of these situations, I will always say no. Their stress does not become my stress. Your problem is not my problem. Why should I rush through a student who was organized enough to make an appointment in order to squeeze in someone who didn’t put a single thought into their English homework mere hours before it’s due? Why should I not get myself a cup of tea and rest my mind for 2 minutes in between appointments? Why should I be late for my next class? The best thing you can do is to learn how to say no, without feeling the need to explain yourself. Just say no!
There is never a case, actually.
Consider it a Life-Lesson, Students
It’s always urgent homework that the student has left to the last minute, which is the student’s problem and most certainly NOT my problem. Sure, the students get kind of angry but I actually don’t really care. Life lesson, you know? Get organized! Be respectful of other’s time! Don’t push your stress off onto other people.
Your problem is not my problem.
The students are always so shocked when I say no. It almost makes me think that other teachers don’t do this as well, which I find distressing. It’s a tough way to live when you’re at the whims of all the last-minute, urgent requests of those around you, especially panicky students who want you to do their homework for them basically.