Saturday, November 17, 2018

Unmet Potential

In my sphere of living and learning there is an area of unmet potential. For years I have tried to influence this area of teaching and learning with little impact--why?

This is the situation.

There is a small pocket of students who share similar characteristics that, in my opinion, don't succeed as well as they could. Programming related to these students has not changed significantly in years, yet these students' characteristics have changed quite a bit over time. The programming related to this group, in my opinion, lacks a transparent vision, good planning, and a researched direction. Instead the work appears to lack transparency, inclusion, communication, research, vision, and planning.

Unlike other pockets of teaching and learning that could be better, there is little statewide attention to this pocket too which makes advocacy here even more difficult. In multiple areas of need in Massachusetts where I teach the state has played a big role in promoting positive change.

There are a number of actions I have done and can do in response to this situation.

I have spoken up to those in charge, but my words did not work.

I could just go along and do what I can within the current structure, but because I believe the current structure is more detrimental than supportive, I can't do that. Yet some good colleagues, even with the knowledge that the programming could be better, have decided that supporting what exists is better than doing nothing and they give good time to these students. I have trouble supporting what appears to be detrimental programming, yet I know that to do nothing is not positive either. This is a quandary for me--one I am thinking about.

I think, in time, there will be change with regard to serving this pocket of students better with greater research and more modern and impactful efforts. As I assess the situation, I'll do what I can within my sphere for these students and speak up if there is an opportunity to do so via the union or through other channels. At this time, I won't support programming that I believe is ill-directed especially when I know we can do a much better job. I'll also continue to observe and listen to those who interact with this programming as I may be missing something. I may be blinded to aspects of the work at hand that is impactful, powerful, and transformative. I also may be able to follow the lead of good colleagues better in this regard.

In any organization there are going to be initiatives, efforts, and decisions that we fully support and those that we question and perhaps not support at all. It's important that in the face of this we stay true to ourselves and our abilities and contributions while also working to be open minded, reflective, and mindful of the other initiatives and needs that surround us.