Don’t tell me “no”.

There is a certain reckless danger innate to in-the-moment blog posts. You have been warned.

Scene 1: I am sitting across from my brilliantly astute and mercilessly honest university coordinator. It’s a few minutes after my third and final teaching observation and she’s looking at me over her glasses, evaluation in hand. She’s telling me that she knew after the first observation that I was one of the most stellar teaching candidates she’s ever worked with, that when she had nothing to offer as a recommended area of growth it was my own expectations for improvement that were listed on the evaluations, that she was personally recommending me to an elite North Shore district, and then… and then somehow she said something else. It was something like, “… and it’s very clear to me that you are unaccustomed to not getting your way immediately and that it is difficult for you.”

Did someone just kick over a trap set? Where did that come from? That can’t be true. I don’t always get my way. In fact, I’m a really flexible, adaptable person. What?!

Scene 2: I am sitting at the dining room table. Danny is across the room at the computer. I have graduated from my master’s program and am trying to work out how and when I will complete my science endorsement. I have laid out the reasoning behind the science endorsement to Danny five million times. 1.) It provides me an edge in my market. 2.) It makes me more marketable to middle schools to have both a social studies and science endorsement. 3.) Teaching science allows me to use the inquiry-based learning model more than any other subject. 4.) You’re bored now, right… I won’t go on.

He says: I don’t think you can do it right now (for financial reasons). Why don’t you wait until next year?

She says: Because next year I will be teaching full-time, and won’t have the time or energy to take additional coursework.

He says: We’ll have the money later.

She says: I have the time now.

8 months later… she is unexpectedly given all the time in the world and pursues the endorsement. She reminds him that she’s still right. That she wouldn’t be able to do this if she were teaching full-time.

Scene 3: I am sitting at my computer. I am researching programs to become a yoga instructor. The above argument re-kindles. Time v. Money.

To bring this full-circle, I have been forced to reckon with Dr. D’s harsh blow. Those words still echo in my mind and leave me feeling baffled. That’s not true about me. It can’t be, can it?

The truth of the matter is that I don’t hear no very often. It’s hard to tell me “no”. In my other lives, I must have been a salesman, a lawyer, and a politician. I can lay out my case and in a few minutes, you believe it more than I do. So I have to remind myself in times like this when I’m being told “no” that in the face of resistance I have the habit of holding on tighter. This tenacity is a great thing. But I have to check in: what am I holding on to? Is it worth fighting for? How badly do I really want this? The disagreement leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth toward this venture anyway.

I think that time will win out in this argument after all, just not the way I originally intended. I have to remember to always look at the big picture, pink-tinged perspective or no.


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