I do like to work with other teachers, through collaboration. I admit, I am also slow to speak up and say I can’t do something, because I don’t want to be construed as difficult to work with. I also like new challenges. However, there are times when it is important to speak up.
Recently, I have been trained in how to give the new stardardized tests, and I was the test administrator for one of the groups that tested last week. It went pretty smoothly, with some hiccups along the way, and now I have a better understanding of the test.
Last week, one of the guidance counselors let me know that she needed me to sub for her with junior high tests. I agreed, that was reasonable, and I already had the training.
Friday, everything changed for me. It turns out that a schedule had been created, but not sent to me, in which I was giving tests every day next week, often all day long. Next Friday is also when all purchase orders are due, and while I have been working steadily towards that goal, I still have quite a bit of work to do this week.
At first, I was just upset about it, but I wasn’t sure if saying something would change the outcome. After all, the testing is happening all this week, and there was not a lot of time to make changes. After discussing with the aide in the high school library, I decided to just talk to the counselor. I let her know that I had not been given the schedule ahead of the time, and that it was not a great week for me to be pulled from the library. She listened to me, and was able to figure out a solution by the end of the day. I am still a test administer for several sessions, but not all day every day.
Had I not said anything, I would have been upset – but really there would have been no one to blame but me. The guidance office did not make a malicious error, they are overwhelmed with scheduling for next year, and also coordinating several major tests right now. They are working hard, and still found time to find a solution. Speaking up and seeking compromise are still powerful.