So, if you follow me on facebook, you know that a few people contacted my boss to complain? express concern? advise caution? in response to my last post and/or a facebook post that said a lot of the same stuff. I don’t know who complained; I don’t know the exact nature of their complaint; I don’t know exactly what hit them wrong in what I wrote.
This puts me in kind of an awkward position.
This blog, and my facebook account, are places where I let things fly. I’m not in the hallways at school, and I’m not speaking for the school. My school isn’t identified on this blog, and my facebook account is not public. I use these spaces to process my thoughts and feelings about things that happen in my life–at work and at home and in life in general. I process through writing–it helps me figure out what I think and feel. When I have a strong emotional reaction to something, writing through it is a way to bring me back to a calm place. I have done this for much of my life, and it’s just how I roll.
I’m not upset with any specific person (and wasn’t when I posted my last blog post). I’m not upset with whoever complained. If you are reading this, I’m not angry for what you did, but I am confused by it. If you feel that I am hurting the cause of inclusion in our school, it would be so much more helpful to me if I could understand where you think I’m going about it wrong. If you disagree about timelines for appropriateness of the introduction of certain materials in the curriculum, I’d love to sit down and chat about it and get your perspective. If you feel that expressing these kinds of concerns on social media is inappropriate because it’s publicly criticizing my employer and undermining the very place that gives me a job, you can tell me that. I can see how you might feel how you feel. But as it is, I have NO idea which, if any, of these concerns are yours.
Here’s how I feel about that last concern (criticizing my employer). I’m really trying to critique a much larger system, that my school is just one teeny tiny piece of, and that my school is really working hard to figure out its place in. Excellent work is happening. I get impatient and ranty, but work IS happening and change IS happening, and I acknowledge and celebrate it. It makes me very happy and hopeful, actually! I just want more change, and I want it faster, and those are my feelings about it. My feelings and thoughts don’t dictate what the school does, and of course they shouldn’t! (What a bonkers school that would be, amiright?) We are much bigger than just me and my opinions, and we are much bigger than the kids I am currently trying to advocate for. I get that society is deeply divided on the issue of LGBTQ+ rights. I get that changes have to be made with care and concern for all of the children in our care, and I trust my administration to prioritize the needs of the kids. If anything I have said doesn’t give that impression, let me make that clear now. I love my school. But it’s also true that I feel deeply that part of my job, as an advocate for kids, is to raise my voice and say what I think. If I think we need to change things, I have a right and responsibility to say so. I think I do the kids a disservice if I shut up.
You might feel strongly that I am dead wrong and that my perspective is harmful to children, and you have a right to your feelings, and I support your right to post them on your blog and facebook wall to your heart’s content! Or to post them in the comments on mine, if you so choose (but you will have to handle the responses as well). Or best of all, to talk to me about them in person!
So that’s what I’m processing right now. How to balance what you, people who have a problem with my posts, might be thinking with what I, as a person with legitimate feelings and the right to express them thoughtfully and considerately, which is what I try to do, would like to be able to do in this space. I need to have a safe place myself.
When kids are hurting (and we could differ on what we think is causing that hurt, and I do get that), the adults around them who see that hurt and who care about them should make it a priority to make things better. I see the hurt, and my ONLY goal is to do my part in reducing it. I can’t eliminate it. I can’t fix society and remove all hate and discrimination. But I can, and should, do everything in my (limited) power to make things better in my corner of the world.
Please understand that that is all I am trying to do. And that I would really, really like for you to come and talk to me if this post has once again raised concerns. I think I’m a pretty good listener.