Saturday, September 3, 2011

A pile driver? Really?

It's funny.  Just the other day I posted that when trying to make my school system understand the needs of the 2e learner, "these things must be done delicately."  I added that I'd rather heft a mallet.  All in all, though, I don't tend to work well with mallets, and it violates my underlying philosophy that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  It also is way outside my comfort zone.

Almost immediately after posting that, I accepted a new Facebook friend, and the first thing that popped up was his info. page with this favorite quote:  "If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever.  Use a pile driver.  Hit the point once.  Then come back and hit it again.  Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack."  (Winston Churchill)  Oh, how gloriously freeing that would be!  Not to have to consider the egos or to preempt the typical poisonous responses of the people who need to have the point -- that we must meet both sets of needs, the need for rigorous input as well as the need for organizational and social skills supports -- whacked into their heads!

My comfort zone is my problem when advocating for the needs of my children.  If I stay in it, their needs don't get met.  I just don't like to behave badly.  It's wrong, and it's rude.  Despite what the good people of Wrightslaw recommend over and over, and what I truly believe myself -- that we must maintain a professional, collaborative, positive attitude -- I have not been successful using that approach.  At best, I get lip service.  Followed by a whole lot of silence.

If you've followed along this past year, you'll remember that my friend and I put a lot of effort into advocating for our 2e children.  We started out in September by speaking to the Board of Education in support of the Superintendent's Mission Statement and were surprised at the end of our three minutes with a Johnny Carson-like chat on the couch and praise for being so positive.  Lots of advocating later, in March, we discovered that the school system's response was to change the STEM application to include questionnaires that have the potential -- and let's face it, the likelihood -- of being used to screen out 2e children.

The response to our protest to that?  From what we can see, the Superintendent sent it back to the very people who were responsible for making the change in the first place and who have demonstrated from the beginning, through it all, and right to the end, that they do not understand what it means to both be gifted and to have special education needs.  It feels to me like the Superintendent handed my precious basket of eggs right back to the disguised foxes guarding the hen house.

So what do I do now?  Run off with my tail between my legs because yet again, being positive yielded not just a relatively benign nothing but instead ugly, sometimes vicious responses from the very people who are in the positions of power to support the needs of such children?  To risk an even uglier response?  I don't think so.  The children need.

Despite being so far outside my comfort zone, despite knowing that continuing means traveling even farther outside it, the question really is whether to continue the fight quietly, calmly, rationally, collaboratively or to whack that point with a pile driver -- though I like to think I could do that calmly, rationally, and collaboratively if not quietly.

My new Facebook friend's second listing in his Favorite Quotations is this, from George S. Patton:  "A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week."  I don't think I could go that far -- talk about rude! -- but it's not off the table.  ; )

1 comment:

Lori said...

See, you're so kind.

I LOVE a good work-up.

I LOVE a good opportunity to show people how Scrappy I am!

I LOVE watching people squirm because I've just scared them to death with the fact that I MEAN BUSINESS!

I know I shouldn't, but I do. And honestly, whenever that's been the case, it's always been for the good of kids.

Same for you.

So, go get 'em, Tiger! No one will give you the rude card.

And if they do, you can just sic me on them, ha ha! xoxo