The Balance of Boundaries by Sarah Sloane

By Sarah Sloane (posted originally on

I asked my friend, who I hadn’t seen in over a year, why they hadn’t been teaching very much. I’m always curious about how other educators handle their life/work balance, and I like to learn great skills from others (as well as benefit from their lessons learned).

“I don’t have any private time anymore”, he said. “I have people coming up to me to talk after classes, then emails, and invitations to coffee or dinner, or people come up to me during play parties and ask me questions or want me to show them how to do something. I don’t get to just relax anymore, and it’s just not worth the stress.”

My response was pretty quick. “Did you ever say no?”

It’s hard to have any kind of relationship – business or personal – without knowing and speaking our boundaries. They’re what allow us to operate in ways that are healthy for us; they not only define our wants and needs, but our limits, too. And contrary to our culture’s trope that as an educator (or volunteer, or healing professional) we’re here to only serve others, it’s almost impossible to be there for others if we can’t take care of ourselves.

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