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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

When You're Afraid to Ask?

It worries me when people say, "I'm afraid to ask that question."

When it comes to issues related to public schools and teaching, I believe that almost all information should be transparent and forthcoming. However, I know that sometimes circumstances can make it frightening or uncomfortable to ask questions.

In the best possible situations, people are doing their best to teach students well and run schools. That doesn't mean we don't err, but as I think back on the times that I have made mistakes in teaching and learning, it's mainly because I was reluctant to ask a question that would have leant perspective and mitigated or prevented the error. If I had sought understanding in an open forum, I would have had a chance to figure out what was going on, why particular incidents happened, and what I could do to make a positive difference.

The only area of school life where I think that we have to be very mindful of privacy is the area of individual's personal lives--I agree that when it comes to an individual's relationships, health, or personal choices, that's mostly out of the professional sphere with the exception of the few times it may overlap and therefore need greater scrutiny within legal bounds.

I suppose if you're afraid to ask, you could seek the consult of others such as your union, teammates, or community members. You could do more research and find out as many facts as are helpful.

That might help.

In general, though, when in doubt, it's best to ask the questions. You won't always get an answer and you may even be chastised for asking, but if you don't know, how else are you going to find out.