EDUCATION IS LIBERATION: GOING TO WORK WITH MY VALUES INTACT

We are sharing our own thoughts in response to this months prompt (Refer back to The Invitation if you have questions about what we’re doing here).

Tiffany Smith shares her thoughts on our prompt: What does it look like to go to work with your values intact?

We cannot be passive operators in this world. Thus, going to work with my values intact is about using my voice for what I consider “good” reasons.

I personally go to work with my values intact by…

Acknowledging privilege. I’m privileged to be who and where I am. I need to use that privilege tactfully and thoughtfully.

Rejoicing in the tentativeness of what I know and operating with humility. As a researcher and philosopher, I embrace that certainty is an illusion. And I’m always learning. Thus, I like to ask more questions… to listen before I speak. To be open-minded to others’ perspectives and prepared to change my views accordingly.

Reflecting authentically, and co-creating with others (stakeholders, colleagues, students, etc.). It’s important to reflect on our practice and life-contexts. Why are we here, where did we come from, and what does that mean for what’s next? To engage in the learning process, you have to care about the context, meet people where they are, and create shared understanding. Pairing authentic reflection with dialogue and collaboration means that what we create together will be stronger and more valuable than what I do alone.

Promoting the common good. As an evaluator and educator, I have responsibility toward the well-being and fair/equitable treatment of those I serve. This means listening, discovering, clarifying, and lifting up their voices.

In my practice, upholding values in my work always points back to education. Education about the value of evaluation as a catalyst for change; about what counts as evidence; about injustice. Education that explores the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of how we think… as opposed to what to think. Education is freedom from oppression.

These values interact and play out in both my personal and professional life. Life and “work” co-exist. Ideally, the spaces don’t conflict.

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