During a Twitter exchange this morning, I was squashed. A tweeter implied that I needed greater Christian values/efforts. While I keep my religion private, I do honor the good values of all religions including Christianity, and I was offended by the individual's quick appraisal of my values and efforts due to my tweets that disagree with President Trump--a President that some Christians regularly and outwardly support with religious words and phrases on social media.
During my professional tenure as an educator, I've been similarly squashed. On a few occasions colleagues have disagreed with me using similar disrespectful and all-knowing statements rather than engage in an open-minded dialogue and discussion to understand my point of view and relay their point of view. Similar to the tweeter, these colleagues see only their point of view and typically don't make the time or demonstrate the interest to listen to others or work together. This does not represent all colleagues, but does represent a few.
How does one react to situations where you are squashed?
First, it's best to analyze. Why did that happen? What buttons did that push? At work, I believe the "squashed" feeling originates in structural hierarchies that promote a top-down leadership approach where teachers who are not tightly connected to leadership have less voice and choice. This is an area of school life I've analyzed a lot and continue to work to understand and hopefully change since I support greater teacher voice, choice and leadership as well respectful debate and discourse and the value of diverse voices/approaches to teaching well.
On Twitter, I believe there are some who tweet without the desire or ability to engage in civil debate and exchange. Instead they're quick to judge with the feeling that their way is the one way to truth or knowing. I know that I don't know all and am open to other points of view. I don't believe that anyone has the monopoly on truth or right as there are many ways to do good work and relay one's point of view.
I am strong minded and quick to comment. I believe strongly in my points of view and typically spend a lot of time developing new ideas using multiple perspectives. Yet I believe that the really good ideas and initiatives profit from collaboration and the synthesis of research, thought, discussion and debate from many not just one. I believe that the more we're open to these discussions and able to listen to one another, the better work we will do.
With regard to those at my work place who are unwilling to listen or collaborate, I will continue to look for ways to work with those colleagues to better move our collective efforts forward. On Twitter, if someone is disrespectful to me and others, I will block as I don't have time for that kind of demeaning social media exchange. I just can't accept that at this point when life is busy and there's much to do. I use Twitter to enrich my ideas in ways that matter with respectful folks who offer their ideas respectfully with care and commitment to others.
We will all be squashed from time to time. That feeling makes us stop to reflect and think. Then it's time to work forward again.