Monday, December 8, 2008

Avoid the Energy-suckers!

Lee writes in Now I Know The Way To San Jose!, “Our task is to seek those people out and avoid the energy -suckers!” This really stuck with me since she wrote about it and the more I thought about it, the more I felt like I had to write about it.

I recently ran for public office and did not win. It would have committed me to monthly meetings for four years, which I would have been fine with. Then my husband and I began to talk and he feels that I have a major problem with saying no to people. I admit that I sometimes impulsively say yes and then later regret agreeing to things. I have decided that from now on when I am asked to do something, I will not give any answer right away. I will take at least 48 hours to think the commitment through carefully and discuss it with others (mostly my husband) in case I am missing something I had not thought of.

As the holidays approach, it made me think more of all the opportunities people have to ask others to help them. There are so many charities out there and so many needy people that many teachers can’t resist helping. I think about the children who won’t have gifts or people who won’t have food and my friends who have had cancer and I want to help them all but I can’t. I suggest if you tend to get overloaded with this, that you pick out one or two charities to help this year and do different ones each year.

There are also tons of holiday parties to attend which can make you feel run down and overwhelmed as the holiday approaches. Holidays should be fun and you wonder why you want to run away and hide. I suggest that you agree to one or two parties and tell the others that you will try to attend next year if they have it again. You should not feel guilty for not being able to attend all the events people would like you to attend. Instead you should feel flattered that you have that many friends who want to be with you.

You may also be overwhelmed with holiday activities in your classroom. My students tended to get overstimulated with all the excitement near the holidays that I tried to keep it more low key. Many of my students enjoyed the calm stable environment next to all of the other activities around them. I’m not saying we need to be a Scrooge, but we need to remember our students and how they are feeling. I try to plan about one activity each week for December that deal with the holidays but otherwise I try to keep a routine. If we are feeling the energy being sucked out of us, I think this feeling is magnified for our students.

Next are the people who just have a negative attitude most of the time. This negative attitude is like a virus and can spread just with a word or a thought. I suggest that you stay away from these people. If you are like me, you feel obligated to say or do something to cheer these people up. You can give it a try but after you try and nothing helps, it is time to remove yourself from that situation. Nothing you can say or do will help them and it will do nothing but suck the energy out of you.

If you try to follow some of these suggestions, I think your holiday season will be more enjoyable and successful for you!

Original image: 'Extreme fatigue' Polo


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hloy said...

I'm sorry you didn't attain the position you were running for (that is if you truly wanted the post), but I soooo understand your point. I have trouble saying "NO" and stretch myself too thin. In fact, one of my new years resolutions will be to cut back on my commitments. I've gotten a jump start by turning down the nomination to organize a school talent show - just because I sponsor the drama club does not mean I'm the natural choice! Normally, I would have said yes, as it COULD be a great opportunity and I know my kids will be involved anyway. BUT, I can't take on any more projects right now. I think there is something about being an educator that makes us want to always be "helpful."

Take care, and happy holiday! - Heather

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Anonymous said...

I love the expression 'energy-suckers'. I have been a victim of them for many years, but feel much better now that I have a name for them. Like you, I have a problem saying no. I love your suggestion to ask for a 48-hour cooling off period. We owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to conserve energy and to direct our efforts to worthwhile causes where we can truly make a difference.

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget the main purpose of being in the classroom - to clarify the basic principles of the subject matter. See "Teaching and Helping Students Think and Do Better" on amazon. People forget about principles, and focus on tasks!

loonyhiker said...

Susan: Thank you for visiting! I appreciate you taking time to comment.

loonyhiker said...

Heather: I'm proud of you for saying no because you need to think about yourself sometimes! I know as an educator, I find myself feeling guilty for saying no sometimes.

loonyhiker said...

Kobus: you wouldn't believe how many times I have already had to refer to this post for support and encouragement for myself. I think the title will be my mantra during this holiday season.

loonyhiker said...

Dr. Aranoff: Thanks for the suggestion!