Slice of Life 26: Non-negotiables

A short post today as I get ready to head back to school tonight to chaperone the “Mr. Pioneer” talent show/fundraiser (add this to my growing list of things I thought I’d never do)…

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my teaching practice, why I do the things I do, how I can be more effective, etc. Of course, this line of thinking started to overwhelm me a bit, so I came back to this one basic question – what are my non-negotiables? What are the things about teaching and my classroom that I would absolutely not compromise? 

I came up with a few different answers, things like having a certain level of autonomy in making curricular decisions and collaborating with some of my colleagues, finding a way to laugh every day (a sense of humor is key, I’ve realized, in a successful teaching career).

But at the end of the day, I think a non-negotiable for me is my relationship with my students… having time to work with and learn along side students each day.

I need more time to think on this. My thoughts aren’t quite fully formed yet… still, it’s an interesting question.

What are your non-negotiables?

slice of life

This post is part of the “Slice of Life” series, organized by the teachers at Two Writing Teachers, whose goal is to give teachers a place to write and reflect. This March, more than 250 teachers have committed to daily writing. If you’d like to read more “slices” (from other teachers and even some students), visit


  1. I love that you go back to relationships with students. I believe that is the core of it all. When kids know you care and that you truly believe in them, then you can teach and learn together.

    It sounds like you are thinking about your core values and beliefs. It’s so hard in education because we get pulled in so many different directions and have to do so lots of different things for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes, things aren’t truly what we would want or hope for our students and that’s when I think it’s best to go back to core values and beliefs. We got into education for a reason – hopefully to help students. It sounds like you know your values and beliefs but revisiting and really knowing them is such a great practice.


    • Thanks for your comment. I think that in the day-to-day busyness of teaching that our core beliefs – the things that truly drive and motivate us – can get easily lost. In a lot of ways, what I believe today is what I believed when I first when into teaching, and yet so much of my practice – how I put those beliefs into action – have changed (for the better!). Reflection is key.


  2. Hm, good question. I like reading your non-negotiables, and of course they are students. I really can’t think of anything else. We can adjust and flex around almost anything as long as our relationships with our students are solid. I’m going to have to think about this…


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