Contract negotiations at my school are in a much better place than they were two weeks ago. I've had trouble determining right action during the whole process because I'm not a huge fan of the Us/Them mentality that develops out of situations like this one.
When those mentalities first developed, I shrugged my shoulders because I believed it really was just part of the process. My dad served on a school board for a couple of decades, so I feel like I speak from experience there. I feel like the real loss, though, comes in the form of an unwillingness to reach out for the sake of conversation--people don't want to look at each other. Forget talk.
We stop hearing each other. We stop understanding that some (though definitely not all) motives might be good intentioned the way ours are.
I'm guilty. After several months of emotional ups and downs on a contract, I just wanted resolution. I got tired of hearing that my one concern as a teacher was money and I was sitting pretty with a "posh" contract and I needed to count my blessings.
Those were the things that were actually said. What I heard was that it was OK for others to have deeper concerns regarding contract negotiations, but any unwillingness on my part to accept what is offered is greed, plain and simple. It didn't matter if there were reasonable solutions presented. At that point, I couldn't hear them.
Sometimes it's hard to hear people. Hearts are all tied up in words and that may mean there is intention and deep conviction behind something that sounds a little flippant at the forefront. But I'm so quick to dismiss words--a lot because I'm an introvert and would prefer to surround myself with only people I know and connect with easily, but also because I think I've allowed myself to become dismissive with words, and, as a result, people.
It's a work in progress. It's letting myself share what I think without being able to fully process the emotion behind it and then allowing someone else the same luxury.
That's the difficult part--allowing someone else the same luxury.
Because often there just aren't conclusions--and I need to stop drawing them.