Learning the Art of Saying “NO”

As a teacher, learning the art of saying “NO” to learners is quite a challenge. You are torn between giving your learner a chance or giving them the lesson they would not learn otherwise.

The Impact of Saying “NO”

Accepting a “no” for an answer is painful sometimes. Even if you intend to make things right, it’s just too late to change the situation.

As an educator, learning to say “NO” toward the learner is kind of tough.

It is tempting to let it pass, like it’s okay, I’ll give you another chance.

On the other hand, isn’t it teaching learners to be complacent? It is like lifting them off responsibility and discipline that we all hope to leave as a legacy, at least in school?

Performance Tasks

For four days, my learners have been busy with their performance task. I assigned them to individually design and create a box.

I divided the entire task into four parts. First, they need to create a draft of their back story.

Second, after checking, they will finalize the story.

Third, they will submit the computations together with the design of the box.

Last, they will create a prototype.

I Have To Say “No”

The first half of our project is writing. My goal was to at least allow my learners to practice the language skills. There was also the intention of inculcating that Math can link across other subjects.

For the first two days, we were already finished with story drafting and finalizing the story. I gave them about an hour to finish but repeatedly extended the deadline.

This morning, I gave some instructions on how they would present their computations. I also included how to create the box.

Learning the Art of Saying “NO”

One of the learners, sitting at the back blurted,  “Ma’am, ipasa nako akoang story unya!!!” (I will submit my story later)

In my mind, “Wow, ha???!!”

Of course I needed to employ self-control.

I said, “Okay, I will give you a chance… 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14,… 0!

I then looked at my learner’s eyes coldly and said, “You have enough deadlines.”

I wanted to curse but feared I might be bullying. LOL

This is truly savage but if I still allow him to submit, it will not give justice to the learners who religiously complied with the deadlines.

On a serious note…

But seriously, it is really hard, especially for me, to be truly strict. Math is already a hard subject.

I always wanted to help because I could just give any grades, like right now, I can give him a passing or failing mark.

However, my melancholic nature needs to follow rules. My students will need to adjust, I guess.

I don’t mind if the learner hates me now. I need to act as a firm adult who can say, “No.” And I am now learning the art.

One thought on “Learning the Art of Saying “NO”

  1. I’ve said “No” to students and I agree that it’s very difficult, even for them to learn the value of deadlines. I know teachers have so many things going on that nobody should be asking them to do anymore than they already are. You can talk to the student’s parent(s) and maybe that could address the student’s attitude. You can also implement a late submission penalty. However, as we know, when a student misbehaves, there’s usually something bigger going on that we don’t see.


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