Finding Your Voice

On a windy Saturday, I spent my afternoon in a dark theater watching The King's Speech. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. In my Ebert moment, two thumbs up and it should win the Oscar.

While I am not going to give away any details. the entire theme of the movie is overcoming life's obstacles and finding your voice. This seems to be perfect timing right now. My school is at that point of the year where there is too much complaining and not enough action.

My school isn't perfect, but what school is? We have good students overall, a staff with lots of experience, and an administration that supports so many ideas. We have all the parts, but seem to lack something that puts it all together. So many teachers, not just ones in my school, have great ideas they don't give a voice to. Why? Fear of the word No, extra work, colleagues' opinions, or something else?

If you have that good idea, give it a voice. As someone who has spoke up a time or two with good and bad results, here are some potentially helpful hints:
  1. Think it through! Stop before you run to the principal's office with that good idea that popped into your head. Try to look at your idea from all viewpoints to work out the potential problems.
  2. Be respectful. Do not start with complaints or what you have heard or seen. While this might seem like a way to support your idea, it is nothing more than a distraction.
  3. Put it in writing. While you want to sit face-to-face when proposing your idea to administration, it is easy to forget without something in writing. Either type out your ideas ahead of time or take notes during the meeting to polish up later.
  4. If possible, gather allies. The more people that support your idea, the easier it is to make it a reality.
  5. Follow-Up and Follow-Through. I am not going to say that more work won't be added to your load. If you care about your idea, this shouldn't be a problem. A good idea is like a fire, you need to supply fuel to keep it alive.
Now time to follow my own advice.