Elements of Style

When you write nearly every day for four years, naturally you develop a style. Over my 1,334 posts since February of 2017, I’ve shared many opinions, moments, and memories. My topics vary from education to dieting, from travel and book reviews, to lamenting the broken systems of our society today, such as healthcare, education, and government.

My style both attracts and repulses readers as it can be soapbox-ish and opinionated, as well as rather lengthy, at times. But, one thing holds true – what I express has been based on my own experiences. I try not to assume or preach, just tell it like it is or like it was, as in the case of some of my educationally based posts. I know this approach does not make all people like me, but sometimes these things just need to be said. And, sometimes, the honesty and a utopian vision are appreciated.

Alas, change is hard and convincing others that change needs to take place when their perception is that a system is working is doubly hard. Some years ago, I competed for an open seat on our school board. It was an interim position, created by a board member leaving a year before her term was up. I did not win the seat, but came close. In fact, one of the people who had encouraged me to run, was not present for the vote as he was on vacation and not allowed to virtually vote as a board member. Instead, a person who had been on the board for years but lost her seat in the election the spring before, re-obtained a seat. Several staff members came out in support of this person, whereas the rest of us (me and two others) did not have similar support or statements made on our behalf. What was most concerning is that this person had disparaged a student on social media, which I believe led to her loosing the seat in the first place. The sitting board members were the only people allowed to place a vote for those of us running for the interim seat. It was not a community vote; something, I am sure was governed by the board’s own rules. They all knew this previous member and had served with her. She got the most votes, while I was only one short. She was a known commodity and I was not.

This whole experience pointed out some grave and disturbing trends in communication style and the need to maintain the status quo. Each spring since that year, when the school board elections roll around, I cringe. This year we are lucky, as there are four community members running for two seats. I listened to the community forum. I know who I want to vote for and it seems to be the same two people that have garnered the most support from staff and in the primary election from the community.

They seem to have a style that is attractive to the electorate. I realize now that I did not have that style. I am intense, vocal, and see need for change. I’ve tried to implement change in other ways: by working on district and building committees, by developing and leading student AND parent groups, and by supporting our quality teachers all through extensive (over 14 years) of volunteering. But, the problems that I brought forth in conversations with district administration have never been addressed. I saw a need for change and improvement and I spoke to that.

There are buzz words and positivity that float through recent forums, discussions, and statements regarding the need and desire to serve all students. I hope, once the election is over, that those with the community and staff support are victorious. And, I also hope they are ready to get down to work. I’ll be watching to see if ALL students are served.

Education will be different after the plight of the pandemic. That is something we can ALL count on.

Today is day 16/31 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge created and hosted by TwoWritingTeachers.org. This is the fifth year I have participated in the challenge. I thank them for creating such a supportive and welcoming community of writers.

5 Thoughts

  1. Your words on developing a style are true – and remind me of that great book for writers by Strunk & White, The Elements of Style. You have cultivated your voice and used it well enough to nearly garner that seat away from the “known” candidate – that is significant, especially when you’re speaking to issues that haven’t been addressed before. I agree that there’s a lot of talk and repetition of current phrases – does all of this make it past the admiration stage to the application stage? I for one am cheering you on!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These words are so important. And I think I perhaps could have written them too, which is why I so deeply admire and respect what you do. YES. You are a force for change. YES. That is intimidating to some. There will be people who don’t give you full voice. It’s not because you’re wrong, it’s because you are RIGHT – and that, as you say, is threatening to the safety of our status quo. Keep fighting the good fight! Keep standing on that soapbox. I’ll pull mine right up next to yours, and we’ll holler into our megaphones together!

    Liked by 1 person

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