Monday, March 05, 2007

The voice of bad experience

I was in a meeting the other day for a school parent committee when one of the participants used that voice. That "I am a trained professional and you are an emotional parent" voice. That voice I've heard at countless IEP meetings where I want information and explanation and innovation and the professionals want to maintain the status quo at all costs. That voice that responds to every passionate question with the same dispassionate answer. I hate that voice. The speaker in question was in the meeting as a parent but is an educator by trade, and I don't know if she even knew she was using it. It must become second nature, when confronted by someone who is disputing the facts, to flip into it. And she wasn't wrong; she did have the facts on her side in the conversation. But man -- that voice. That voice is a loaded weapon, and ought not to be aimed casually. I found myself springing to the defense of those on the other side of the argument, just because the presence of that voice in the room seemed so wrong. Just as educators fall back on that voice without even realizing it, special-ed parents fall into defensiveness and righteous indignation just as surely.

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