I Said No!

25 Feb

I said no to someone today…

And I feel pretty good…

I’m not good at saying no. So this was kind of a big deal for me.

I said no to a request for a letter of peer review. This means that I observe another faculty member’s classroom, taking note of their teaching style, their interactions with students, and the educational environment that they create (or don’t create) within their classroom, and then I write a fairly detailed letter (presumably supporting their quest for promotion, tenure, or whatever goal they are seeking to achieve). It’s a show of respect to be asked to write one of these.

I said no.

This wasn’t as easy as it might sound. The request came from the dean of their school. This was not a small request.

So saying no was not a small deal.

But I did.

The reason is not because I think the other faculty member is not a good teacher. To be honest, I have never seen him teach. We have met a few times at university functions, and I know that he is committed to excellence in teaching, based on his regular attendance at teaching conferences.

I said no because I read the comments left for me in my recent blog “Are You a People Pleaser?”

I examined my priorities…I reflected on the things I was already committed to. I looked at the time requirements necessary to complete this task within the time parameters necessary. And I thought about the reasons why I would WANT to do the observation.

There was only one reason why I wanted to do it.

Because I didn’t want to let down the dean…

The dean of the other school…

The dean whom I have never met…

Now I have written plenty of letters for plenty of people. And I won’t necessarily say no if this dean asks me again in the future for help with something like this.

But I did today.

I had to…

The teaching schedule was not at a time that was convenient for me…

The service commitments I have already made are far too time-consuming to add another commitment right now…

And that means I would have to dig further into my personal time to do the job effectively.

I said no.

I drew the line at my personal time.

And I feel good about it.

I cordially thanked the dean for the request. I respectfully declined, stating the reasons why I was unable to perform the task, and I recommended another person on campus that I respect and who I believe would do an excellent job.

I handled this politely, professionally, and collegially…

And I managed my personal time effectively.

So why do I still feel guilty?



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