Can I Be Frank? Update

I was dreading the morning teacher training workshop I went to on Saturday. You may remember that I wrote out my problems with the program in a lengthy email to the admin, which my mom said was much too harsh. The admin didn’t respond, and when I’ve responded to her emails with questions since, she didn’t answer me. I walked in expecting that she’d refuse to look at me, or possibly passive-aggressively reference my email anonymously and poll the audience “I received an email that said that what we’re asking of you all is unreasonable. How many people here think we’re being unreasonable?”

I figured that if it was really bad, it would be just one more reason I could walk away from the program with a clear conscience at the end of the year, but that avoiding the training session because I was uncomfortable with the conflict made me look like a bully— content to heckle from the sidelines, but not willing to back it up. I also think that I’m saying things that other people are thinking, but not saying. I admit that this is a dangerous position to take. I’m not a spokesperson, elected or otherwise. But it seems clear, here, that we don’t have the time to do all of the things we’re asked to do, let alone to do them well, and when we’re called to task about it, everyone complains to each other, but not up the food chain, to where it could do some good. If I’m the only one who feels this way, I can take that feedback, but I’ll be there standing behind my statements, either way.

I got there and the meeting was different from last month’s. There were no new projects or initiatives on the menu. I made sure I stood behind the things I think the administration is doing right, and let them know when I thought what they were doing didn’t work the way they wanted to. I had her back when she deserved it and said publicly what I had said privately. She gave us time at the end of the meeting to tell us what was reasonable for us to accomplish, and when we said we couldn’t meet the criteria she laid out, she said she’d let the leadership of the program know.

At the end of the meeting, I felt relief— she’s at least going to push back against what I and the other teachers think is unreasonable. I went to her and explained that my intention with the email was not to be harsh— that if it was harsh, I apologized, but that I wanted to tell her the truth, and be the same person to her face that I would be behind her back. She said she didn’t think it was harsh, and said she was grateful for the feedback. She said I’m basically the only person who’s giving her feedback.

I can’t say that this will resolve the issue for me, but it might. If it changes things, it just might.

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