"Jenny wanted to share this book with us." The professor proceeded to shred the authors as ignorant and worthless, also making it clear that I must not have a clue about teaching.
Ah, the joy of being publicly ridiculed.
I was taking graduate-level education classes to become certified as a teacher, because this program was covered by my scholarship. I knew how to reach students, since I'd tutored or mentored most of my life. I'd even taught a few college classes. But I didn't know the accepted theories, important names, or the everyday public school teacher experiences that every other student knew. So I often felt like I was treading water.
Class finally ended. Several students glanced my way as they left, with that awkward silence. I wasn't exactly one of them, but I was a fellow student.
I walked to the front and quietly asked if she had actually read the book. I wanted more strategies for classroom management. This book had clever suggestions for dealing effectively with problem students, and detailed examples. I was pleased to find something so useful. I wasn't rich (marine scientists earn less than teachers), and only bought something I truly valued. I politely reached for the book, ready to leave.
"Could I keep this a bit longer?"
I left it with her.
The next class, she admitted to being prejudiced against the authors. She had based her remarks on papers they published. Now she had read the book, and waxed eloquent about its merits. Her perception had changed, and with it her reality.
In the Dragon Dreamer series, Scree says that "One can only see what one is prepared to see." If we are convinced of something, we might not
let reality interfere with our perceptions.
The professor was willing to re-consider when I calmly shared my experiences. She also began treating me with more respect. Perceptions can change with non-confrontational, informative communication.