What would happen if principals and teacher leaders were given a truth serum so that they had no choice but to tell their truths in the way that Roland Barth meant it?
And what would happen if their example infected the school community so that everyone consistently said what they really thought about issues pertaining to children?
Here are a few things I’ve learned about truth-telling in schools:
1. My truth is not the same as “The Truth.” All that any of us can do is describe our portion of what seems true, how things appear to us at the moment.
2. Our truth is more influential and is more likely to strengthen relationships when it is spoken with respect and compassion.
3. Telling our truth sometimes requires courage. I once saw a bumper sticker that said, “Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” Knowing that you are speaking on behalf of children helps us find our courage.
4. Courageous conversations sometimes benefit from preparation and rehearsal. When we know in advance that we are likely to have an opportunity to speak our truth we can clarify our views by writing them and practicing saying them out loud. Sometimes it even helps to role play the situation with a trusted colleague or friend.
Question: What do you do to motivate and prepare yourself for candid conversations?