Rocking the Boat
Task Zero Review
In Rocking the Boat Debra Myerson explains tempered radicals. She gives the reader real life examples that employees face on a daily basis of obstacles that are overcome on the job. This book breaks down boundaries that individuals may think that they face along but also gives hope on how to overcome challenges that an individual may not feel they have the mindset or skill set to overcome. As I read this book I thought about the obstacles that I am faced with on the job from culture and climate to the lack of cohesiveness amongst staff members and I found where I fit on the continuum and how I handle my situations the best that I can. The tempered radical does not necessarily have to be seen or heard but their presence is always felt in a positive way!
How am I different?
When reflecting on how I am different based upon Debra Myerson, I feel as though I fall into the category of those who have different social identities and see those differences as merely cultural and not a basis for exclusion. In my current position, I am one of very few teachers who has taken the challenge of STEM as related to science and ran with it. I am endorsed in middle school science and while the focus of the school is mathematics and language arts because of high stakes testing for students, I have made sure that students are receiving high quality instruction in science on a daily basis. Each teacher is passionate about their content area for they are held responsible for student data that corresponds with their teaching but I truly enjoy seeing students learn and I make sure they are given experiences that not only teach them content, but how they can apply that content to life-long lessons and experiences. I feel as though science in my building has its own culture. it is not reading word from word and marking up and analyzing text like in language arts, it is not looking for patterns to solve equations like in mathematics, but it is looking to solve why and how in the natural world while applying reading and mathematics. Science is hands on learning, collaborating with peers to share information and learn information. Science is something that is used on a daily basis and will continued to be used on a daily basis. I do not feel like I am excluded based upon my identity, I just feel as though I have my own social identity that is related to the culture of science that makes me different and what makes my students tell me time and time again, this is the best class ever!
Becoming a Tempered Radical
I find that I fall into the category of resisting quietly and staying true to one’s “self” when it comes to becoming a tempered radical. I have learned that becoming upset about things beyond my control will only consume me so for this reason I have learned to just stay quiet and do what I do best. The culture and climate in the building where I am employed is really shaken right now as I am sure other schools are experiencing with the year being half way finished. There is also no consistency when it comes to employees because of teachers taking leave so students are not seeing teachers on a consistent basis and the teachers who have been showing up are feeling the pressure of trying to make sure students are learning. The workload has become very stressful and some things that I have been asked to do are not what I feel I should be doing but in spite of I how found that staying true to me keeps me sane and my students learning so I stay quiet, do what is asked but in the midst of all the confusion I make sure that I keep my passion for teaching first because I want to make sure my students are learning and are not feeling the anxiety that I am feeling because of what is being asked of me. I have found that this method for me works best so I would say that I also am leveraging small wins. I aim to stay true to myself so although I am not staying in one point on the continuum, I stay in this area quite a bit so I feel as though it is an accomplishment for me.
The biggest challenge that I face as related to Meyerson’s 4 levels of challenges is frustration and burn out. Recently classroom sizes doubled for me and I could not handle so many students in the classroom with no support. My situation had become so bad that I wanted to walk away from teaching. What I learned was to not take things so personal. Although the classroom sizes had increased for me, it wasn’t done as an attack on me but for students to make sure they were getting science. I also learned that I could only take on and manage things on a day to day basis. I could not worry about the future and what it held because that only stressed me out even more but when I started to take things day by day, I found that I could manage things much better. Learning to lead with positivity and not with negativity is something else that has helped me deal with this challenge because others pick up on this energy and it permeates in the atmosphere. I also had to remember why I went into teaching and find that love and passion again. Once I began to put all of these things into action, along with creating a space for me and my students that blocks out noise around us, students are thriving, and I am loving what I do again.