My mother used to tell me that my mouth would get me in trouble, and she was right when I was younger. I did not go about delivering information in the right manner, the right place, or at the right time. Over time, with the help of family members and mentors, I learned how to express an opinion appropriately and share information in a way that it could be received. I have learned, that in some cases, this does not matter. People simply do not want to hear the truth.
I’m known for being an introverted, petite lady, who does not mind speaking her mind. Some people just don’t want the truth. They enjoy the “ignorance is bliss” life. It is hard for me to allow people to live that life when their actions are hurting others, in particular, our children.
Here lately, I have found myself having difficult conversations with educators, locally, across the United States, and even abroad. Some educators want a feel good chat. They are like the Christians who want to attend those prosperity churches. You know the ones where the preacher tells the parishioners they don’t have to do anything and God going to “open up the windows of heaven and there will not be room enough to recieve it.” I’m a Christian, and I believe God can do anything. I also believe we are charged with being good stewards over what we have been given, and we have some responsibility to hone the God given gifts we have been granted. We have to put in some work.
Putting in some work is the conversation I have been having with some educators lately. If none of your students are learning, at what point do you consider that you might need to do something differently? I do validate what people say. There are schools where the environment is toxic, resources are low, and demands are high, but there are some aspects of the day-to-day that you control. That’s where an educator should burn the most energy.
Every piece of critical feedback is not an attack. I can think of coaches and colleagues who have been honest with me, and their advice helped me as an educator. I’m worried about education. I’m worried about the lack of progress for students, especially students of color. Outcomes won’t improve any time soon unless we are open to honest conversations.