Only My Plate
Not long ago, a student walked into my class when it wasn’t his hour to be there. I had already had him for English that day, yet he waltzed in during another English hour, presumably just to “hang out.” He was sorely disappointment when I promptly sent him on his way.
“But I’m bored!” He whined as he was ushered back into the hallway.
“Your boredom is not my responsibility,” I told him and shut the door.
I didn’t feel guilty. I didn’t hesitate or change my mind or react to the flattering implication that my room was more fun. I had peace in saying “no” because I had boundaries. School provides natural boundaries. I am responsible for my students’ boredom when they learn English from me. I am not responsible for my students’ boredom when they are in other classes.
Boundaries help us know when to say “yes,” when to say “no,” and how to protect our priorities. Boundaries allow me to say, “I am responsible for that, and I will take ownership of it.” But they also allow me to say, “I am not responsible for that, and I will not take it on my plate.”
Only what’s on my plate, that belongs to me. I release the rest and rest in peace.
What are you taking responsibility for that isn’t actually on your plate?
What can you peacefully release?