11 June 2013

The Grouchy Ladybug & Naysayers

The topic for this post has been coming for several months now as I've been dealing with a couple of naysayers in my world of education.  You know the type?  The ones who find something wrong with everything you suggest or a problem with any idea you pose?  Earlier this year I started reading articles for tips on dealing with naysayers, and I have attempted to apply some of the tips and have thought through many of the suggestions and the implications around the approaches.  Basically, I have spent an enormous amount of energy thinking about how to deal with negativity and naysaying.  Last night, it even crept into my dreams while I slept.  Obviously, it’s time for me to re-think the strategies I've been using to deal with naysaying and negativity.

Peering at the books on our bookshelf in the living room this evening, I noticed an old copy of Eric Carle’s The Grouchy Ladybug and decided to read it for inspiration.  Of course the grouchy ladybug in this story is grouchy because he doesn't want to share, so he travels around the world provoking fights with larger animals and then saying “hey you—want to fight?---oh you’re not big enough…”  This ladybug is in such a bad mood that he picks a fight every hour for an entire day with insects and animals of every size.  At the end of the day, a whale’s tale slaps the ladybug into his proper place, sending him all the way back to the leaf where the story began, where the friendly and cheery ladybug is waiting to share a leaf full of aphids.  The grouchy ladybug eats the aphids shared with him by the friendly ladybug and ends up thanking his cheery counterpart.

I suspect the negative people I encounter are afraid of change or they don't want to come across as not knowing everything.  But we must admit change is needed in public education to meet the needs of learners.  I push for changes in education and transformation to the usual way of working because I'm not okay with the current situation.  I want new and innovative learning opportunities for kids and for adults, and I'm not okay with hearing people say "that's the way we've always done it" or "if you are around here long enough you will learn that's not the way things work around here" or "that's just the way X school is--you'll never change that!"  

The Grouchy Ladybug story with a happy ending leaves me feeling positive tonight because I know the reasons I push for change in education are for the right reasons, and there will always be naysayers.  I just need to remain cheerful and committed to the process.