Rocking the Boat
Task Zero, Review: Short review
The book is about the different ways that people approach problems to make changes and how these changes big or small can lead to big outcomes. Behind those changes are people who have persistence, patience and interest in working out a solution by making small changes using their initiative and without disturbing the internal organization of the institution where they work. There are also individuals who take immediate action when they see a problem and so become natural leaders convincing other fellows to take action and develop a plan that can make a difference right away. Some people take action little by little, accumulating small wins, which at the end produce visible changes. They decide to go against the norm because they believe that something should be done when a problem arise. They act based on their beliefs, ideas, and strengths. They put all of their time, effort, knowledge, instinct and objectivity towards the solution of the problem. The may not know, what other people are doing, but in a roundabout way this intent to produce positive outcomes, to challenge the origin of the problem, can lead to progressive changes. According to the book, people who are temperate radicals and take their actions quietly outside the scope of the organization can be seen an example of “quiet resistance.” This doesn’t mean that they are not making changes in their own way. Other temperate radicals turn an immediate threat to their personal values and priorities into an opportunity for learning; and to disclose their beliefs, opinions and ideas without conflict or defiance of authority. As a conclusion, I agree with the author when he says that an “a lifetime of quiet resistance can require enormous patience, conviction and fortitude. And sometimes persistent behind-the-scenes actions cumulate over time for lasting change or set the context for more public and revolutionary acts”.
Task one, how am I different?
I am different because of the way I value things and follow my beliefs. I hold values about education, parent’s responsibility, good manners, respect for others and belief in God that fuel my desire to make students aware of the importance of using good manners, treating their classmates respectfully, appreciating the difference of others and learning how to deal with things that bother them. They realize nothing is perfect, and the world is not like a bubble full of clean air. I try to make them aware of how people around the world have needs, and how lucky they are to have food in their mouths. I resist focusing 100% of my instruction on covering academic topics and taking tests, but take time to bring to the table how we as humans can make a difference, just by changing some behaviors to make our relationships with other humans more tolerable. According to the book , I can say that I am different in a way that I identify with the follow idea; “resisting quietly and staying true to one’s ‘self,’” which includes acts that quietly express people’s “different” selves and acts that are so subtle that they are often not visible to those they would threaten. As the book says, I see myself finding ways to rock the boat, but not so hard that I fall out of it. I fight small battles in my classroom. I incorporate changes in my classroom that I think are more beneficial and more adequate for my students. For instance, having a 5 minute break within a period, and allowing them to eat snacks during the break; allowing movements that can be taken as too noisy such as jumping and running, and letting them to listen to music when they are done with their assignments.
Task Two, Become a Tempered Radical
I see myself as a person who doesn’t like direct confrontations, yet I am aware of situations that arise between colleagues that produce discomfort and division between some of the teachers. However, I believe that confrontational situations can be turned into positive opportunities to bring up strengths of people instead of pointing out their weaknesses. I am shy in my efforts to persist in the changes. I am able to visualize a situation that is a problem; I see that I can contribute to the solution. I don’t have issues talking and discussing with my colleagues. I want to be able to identify instances of positive deviances and turn these into occasions for learning, positive adaptation, and change that. Willing to speak is not the issue, nor is my relation with the principal. I feel confident, and know I will have her vote of confidence in me. I am a beginner tempered radical because I have more conformity than rebellion. My rebellion is private and I feel I am doing something that will bring positive change.
Task Three, Facing Challenges: How do you see yourself dealing with some, if not all, of these challenges in your work situation?
The challenges I see in my work situation are not related to the relation I have with school staff or administration. I have enough freedom to plan accordingly what I think is in the best interest of the students, and I have the flexibility to deliver my instruction and to use different activities, curriculum, lesson plans and projects on behalf of my students. My challenge, and one could say disappointment, is related to how the law mandates services to students with different needs. It allows accommodations and modified grading criteria, and includes countless ways to help diverse learners be successful in the general education setting; however, in spite of their learning disabilities, they are measured for the state tests in the same way as their peers, and worst of all, some of their accommodations are not taken into account, and they are expected to meet the same percentile as the other students. There is discrepancy in what the state considers a growth and what a diverse learner can show as a growth. The test is designed in a way that diverse learners won’t show growth. Since I know how tests are very frustrating for them, I try to minimize its impact by discussing with them the advantages and disadvantages of the test; by talking about positive things they can learn from the test. I also allow them some flexibility such as using different colors for highlighting, chewing gum to release their frustrations, enjoying different periods of breaks to help them calm down and by reassuring them constantly that everything will be okay and there is no need to be worry. Changes are difficult is this case; however, every time I have a chance to participate in an open CPS focus group or in creating a performance based task assessment for a specific subject, I raise my voice to make them aware of the difficulties a diverse learner can have when taking a test, and discuss how we can create a modified friendly assessment for them.