Goal: Ask, Perhaps You’ll Receive

Part of the Goals 2010 Challenge Series, Goal 11

If I still bit my nails, I would be biting them, but this was a previous goal I did accomplish. The next goal in this series  has my stomach in knots. What is this daunting task? I have to ask my director a question. That’s it! I just have to ask a question. However, for many of us asking for a favor requires us to muster all our courage and strength. Why? Probably, we are afraid of being told no, being a bother, or how others perceive us for asking. When I think about it, this is silly. I am learning to get over the fear of asking by working closely with Tom Whitby. Tom is fearless. For example, when getting Alfie Kohn to be a guest on Edchat, I made the suggestion, but Tom actually was brave enough to ask. Tom has asked other guest speakers to be a part of Edchat as well. Tom’s philosophy as he recently tweeted is “If you never ask, your life becomes a world of what if’s. Not a good way to live.”

Therefore, today’s short-term goal is to ask. The long-term goal is to build up the courage to ask, especially if you think it is improbable. The answer might be no. Getting over the fear of being turned down is definitely one goal I hope to achieve.

On the same note, another goal is to learn to say no. This is one goal I have a difficult time with, but I am realizing that having too much on one’s plate is not a healthy way of accomplishing tasks effectively. I think the same fears are mirrored, because if we fear people saying no to us, then we fear saying no as well.

Your Students

If you have neither of these problems then consider teaching your students to ask questions and learn to say no. Many of our students fear asking for help, because they fear what others might think. Never learning to ask for help hurts students. The student may have a learning disorder that is never discovered, may never receive a recommendation letter for a scholarship, or may fail a subject. Teaching your students not to fear the word no will also help them after they leave your class. This is a real world lesson.


Ask a question or say no to a task. You can also choose to help your students achieve these goals.

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If you are new to the 30 day Goal challenge, then you may want to read this post with more details!

This is goal 11 of this series! If you’d like to join the challenge, please read this post!

Don’t forget to leave a comment that you accomplished this goal using the hashtag #30Goals!

Care to share your experiences with asking for the improbable?

Photo courtesy of Crystaljingsr, Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell is a teacher trainer, instructional designer, adjunct professor, and the author of The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers: Small Steps to Transform Your Teaching and Learning to Go: Lesson Ideas for Teaching with Mobile Devices, Cell Phones and BYOT. She has been recognized by the ELTon Awards, The New York Times, the Ministry of Education in Spain, and Microsoft’s Heroes for Education as an innovator in the movement of teacher-driven professional development and education technology. Recently, she was named Woman of the Year 2014 by Star Jone’s National Association of Professional Women and awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, the Twitter chat that spurred over 400 teacher chats. She has trained teachers and taught learners in over 25 countries and has consulted with organizations worldwide such as UNESCO Bangkok, The European Union aPLaNet Project, Cultura Iglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, and VenTESOL. She shares regularly via TeacherRebootCamp.com, Twitter (@ShellTerrell), and Facebook.com/shellyterrell. Her greatest joy is being the mother of Rosco the pug.


  1. I’m the cowardly lion when it comes to asking. Luckily, my principal is very warm and open, which has allowed me to begin to conquer that fear! 🙂

  2. Hi Shelly,

    As part of growing up, I’ve been learning to ask and I´ve seen my students feel free to ask me for help or anything when they they need it. As to say “no”, I find it more difficult but it’s a question of more practice.

  3. Saying no is definitely my downfall. I am usually brave enough to ask but never to turn someone down who is looking for help. It is exhausting and not always productive. I need to work on this. I need to recognize the times that a “no” is okay.

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