Saturday, December 23, 2017

Getting to the Heart of the Issue

All week an issue gnawed at me. I knew that I could not enjoy the holiday break without getting to the heart of the issue--what is going on?

I thought and thought and thought. I consulted a number of other people. I looked deeply at what I did and what I could do, and finally I arrived at the heart of the issue.

In general, I believe the heart of the issue lies in how we handle new ideas for betterment including how those ideas are shared, discussed, and debated.

In anticipation of an upcoming meeting, I shared an idea for what my team and I believe is betterment in the situation.

The idea was met by silence from some and questioning by others. After answering the questions, the idea was met with greater silence--a silence that was worrisome, and a silence that appeared to disagree with the idea.

Later I queried more in person, and there was even more silence, again a worrisome silence making me believe that the idea was seen as contemptuous and ill-conceived. I felt voiceless and choice-less.

I thought more and more about it. Why did we come up with the idea in the first place? We came up with the idea because given the parameters that exist, we felt the idea was a way to better serve students. Why did I forward the idea prior to the vacation? I anticipated debate with regard to the idea since it proposed a change to an established practice, and I didn't want to create havoc at an upcoming meeting. I felt that previewing the idea with those in charge would create a better meeting. I was hoping that a decision about the idea could be made in advance of the meeting so we could spend the meeting on deeper and more meaningful discussion and efforts.

So where do we sit now? The idea is on hold since there has been no response other than questioning from those to whom the idea was posed. The idea will be decided on in some way at the meeting, a way that I will witness then unless I hear more about it in the days leading up to the meeting. I feel I can't write anymore since I've already provided my advocacy and evidence, and now I'm waiting for a response.

At the heart of the issue is that I wish  my teaching team had total control over this issue, but we don't, and we have to rely on the approval or disproval from others. Also, I wish the decision could have been made in our favor prior to the meeting so we could talk about deeper issues at the meeting--issues related to specific student learning, but that will not be the case. I also wish that I was better at advocacy--I wish that I could share ideas and accept the resulting silence or comments with better understanding and knowledge. The silence always stabs me like a knife--the silence always says to me that people don't care or don't honor my work, when in truth, silence is silence, and silence could mean people don't have time, people don't know what to say, people don't feel the question is directed at them, people don't think I should be offering ideas. . . . .no one really knows what silence means.

Hence at the heart of the issue is how does one share ideas in ways that matter? What are the protocols for idea share? What is the expectation for response? What is the systematic view of idea streams and the protocols related to that? How is teacher advocacy looked at and supported or not supported? What is the role of teacher voice and choice?

I will share these questions when the time is right to better understand this situation, and in the meantime, I'll let the issue rest until I hear more. Onward.