Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Your problem and my problem

Boundaries.  Strong ones.  This is the key to having a happy, successful and long-lived experience working in education.  There are many areas where you really need boundaries such as saying no sometimes (to people asking for you little favors, or more OT work when you're really busy, etc) or keeping a good balance between work life and home life and not letting a bad class or two get you down.

But today I'm going to talk about "my problem" and "your problem."  I work at my school's Global Zone, where students have to make appointments to meet with me (or others), the native speaker of English.  The slots usually fill up each week and those that try to squeeze in last minute usually won't make it.  And in the 2-3 minutes between appointments, I'll always get 1 or 2 students 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.  Or, they'll try to pressure me to end a scheduled appointment early so I can help them for a few minutes.  In these cases, I will always say no.  Their stress does not become my stress.  Why should I rush through a student who made an appointment?  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?

It's always urgent homework that the student has left to the last minute, which is most definitely the student's problem and  most definitely NOT my problem. Sure, the students get kind of angry but I actually don't really care.  I consider it a life lesson!

My favorite book on this topic:

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