A friend once told me I could be diplomatic when I choose to be, I am also very good at negotiating just about anything outside of my professional life. However, for some reasons, I can be too much of a bull in a China shop when I am trying to put my arguments across with my colleague and I often end up not being listened to.
I would like to think my passion for wanting to improve students’ learning experience is the reason why I am often frustrated, because the system we are in is far from ideal. I would also like to think because I care, perhaps too much, perhaps I want to make too many changes too quickly; whenever I am making a case that my ideas are sound, could be seen as a continue rant. So how can I finally make myself heard and maybe stand a chance of implementing my ideas?
Throughout this writing unit, I tried to be level headed, but that made me sound like a translator of my ideas, so that didn’t work. I then tried to show my bleeding heart by going all in with the mindset that I am right and I am right and you are most definitely wrong. That didn’t work either, because nobody wanted to be told they are wrong to their face.
At the 11th hours of this unit, I have finally realised it’s not about proving the system is flaw, it’s not about showing how clever my ideas are nor how popular they would be for students. It is about negotiation and compromise – if I can make some small changes in some small ways, then I will have done my best and that should be good enough.
If I can always negotiate a good deal for my energy bills, pet insurance and other everyday things in my life, surely I could just repeat what I do best everyday when trying to negotiate positive changes for students?
I guess in order for my article to truly represent my voice, to give some meaningful thoughts for my colleagues to take away with, for them to take what I have to say seriously, I first need to drop certain idealism of mine.
I still think it is perfectly acceptable to state my ideals, but it is equally important to understand those who have actual powers to make changes have limitations that I might or might not be aware of, or they are just simply not interested in any changes. Either way, I need to start understanding that my responsibility isn’t to change the system, my responsibility is to give my students good learning experience when they are with me here and now, one student at a time.
In this article then, I ought to adjust my expectations of what changes could realistically be implemented, so everyone is happy. Not only do I need to defend my ideas, because this makes it personal and interesting. I would also need to defend my barriers and explain why and how I think they won’t ‘listen’ to me, so that would make things tangible and hopefully engaging.
Stone, D. Patton, B. and Teen, S. (2011) *Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most.* 2nd end. London: Portfolio Penguin