Last fall I wrote a blog entry about our union local’s efforts to identify The Missing Pieces in its office space, the things that may unintentionally inhibit members’ participation in union events and workshops. The HWETL Disabilities and Accessibility Issues Committee organized this initiative and came up with a one-question survey that we asked anonymously at all union events, in hopes of identifying barriers:

“Is there anything missing from this space that you need in order to have access to the same information, and the same opportunity to participate, as everyone else in the room?”

The answers we received were illuminating.

We got responses that spanned everything from lighting brightness, to speech amplification, to the amount of space between tables and in aisles. Some of the answers we did not anticipate … but isn’t that always the case? We cannot know how life unfolds for those whose experiences and identity we do not share.

And the union got to work right away, making changes to promote inclusion, just as we would in our classrooms. Making better spaces. 

And this process reaffirmed for me the importance of continuing to question things as they are, even if they seem “fine” to me. What is that saying? There are a great many things we know. And there are a great many things we don’t know. But there are even more things that we don’t know we don’t know.

So for now, this survey is a start. It is most definitely not an ending. Wishing all of us luck in discovering tomorrow what we do not know today, and making our students’ lives ever better for it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.