Monday, April 06, 2009

You Were My Voice. . .

(used with permission from

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There are silenced voices in education. The voices of the very young, the voices of children with disabilities and their families, the voices of the social and economic minorities, and the voices of teachers themselves. Speaking up can be terrifying, especially if you fear disregard at the very least and retribution at the most. All too often we let others speak for us.

- the dominant culture
- the media
- Hollywood
- politicians

"He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.” Elbert Hubbard

We need to learn how to have the difficult conversations and learn how to deal with crucial confrontations. But how do we do that without alienating those with the power? How do we assert our rights effectively? How do we become an advocate without becoming an adversary?

Let's examine some of the obstacles we face when we try to assert our or our children's rights. Try to identify which might be paralyzing you at this time:

1. You've been isolated or excluded by others who were supposed to be on your side.
2. You fear losing your job or reputation if you speak up.
3. You fear being seen as a troublemaker or whistle blower.
4. Everyone else denies there's a problemm and accuses you of lying.
5. You're reluctant to complain about a fellow human being.
6. Those in charge protect your opponent, even though they know he or she is in the wrong.
7. Your opponent feigns being a victim and manipulates your sympathies.

Look for the rest of the story under this heading "You Were My Voice" in future blog posts.