The Problem of "Yes" ...or please say "no."
We all need a common enemy. The historical precedent is that that shows how well it binds us, even if it is a fabricated one. Our enemy is not admin, and certainly not each other. Our enemy is not the superintendent. Our enemy is frustration.
Educators are frustrated. We are frustrated at the lack of critical constructive attention by the media. We are frustrated with the lack of concern politicians give our schools. We are frustrated with the systemic segregation of all kinds that is perpetuated by the seemingly endless testing mandates that do not address any of the real injustice in the classrooms. We are frustrated with the challenges we have every day.
Our classrooms are microcosms of the larger society. Educators feel helpless, disempowered and frustrated.
Civil unrest is magnified in the school system.
Educators, when we struggle in the antiquated system we are placed in, do not see our immediate effects. When the system says “no” we quickly blame the “no” and regroup with our colleagues. Educators boil over with frustration. “If they would just let me do ____________ the school would be __________________.”
Educators can find a common enemy and quickly blame outside factors such as :
“I don’t have working computers...”
“The furniture is broken…”
“My school doesn’t have enough money to fund …”
“My principal won’t let me…”
“My admin doesn’t understand…”
“The students can’t/don’t/won’t…”
At Hudson we have an additional burden: this “culture of yes.” Veteran educators talk about times when admin’s first answer was always “no.” Teachers would brainstorm possible solutions to problems, create a plan, propose a plan to administration and the answer was “no.” I have worked at schools where anecdotes like that were common.
At Hudson this does not happen. As far as I know, no teacher has ever proposed a plan and been flatly told “no.” I realize that is a bold statement but I challenge the reader to prove me wrong. That old scapegoat of “no” is gone. It is impossible to make everyone happy.
We do have a common enemy, and it would be easy to say it's admin. Some people feel empowered through other’s discontent. Feeding into the frustration and blaming each other is not productive. We need to rise above the frustration, trust that we are all doing what's best for our students and direct our energy in a positive way to help each other build this school into the awesome place it has been and has the potential to be. Funneling our frustrations into a negative embodiment of general distrust and plaintive inactivity will compromise this great school that we have all invested so much time and energy into making an exemplary institution of innovative education and progressive learning.