Friday, May 8, 2009
Using negatives for Self Reflection
Hey guys I know I don't blog as much as many others. I have been in the midst of getting my writing seen and heard as well as getting my publishing business off the ground. I am trying to get all of this done while looking for a new teaching position at a new school.
This year has been a difficult one. My year is not the same as others. As a teacher, I look at my year from Sept - June, then the June- Aug..
Now let me get to the reason behind this post. I have been looking into different schools and I have gone on a few different interviews. Yesterday was no different except this one ended with a very negative event happening amidst the interview. With a NYC Department of Education interview you are required to meet a schools hiring committee. This committee is made up of the principal, and at least three other staff members. Each school chooses their group differently.
Well, after answering all the question in ultra professional manner and feeling the interview was going well the principal asked a question which I felt was rude, insensitive and simply disrespectful. Even though I understood his reasoning for wanting an answer I didn't feel it needed to be asked and definitely not at that moment.
The principal asked "Mr. Belvin I want to ask this; You see we are on the fourth floor of the building and the cafeteria is in the basement, five floors down. Would you have any problems being able to get from here to there to handle a problem, if there was one?" Now on surface it doesn't seem like a negative question, but I am a man of size. I also have been teaching for over ten years without ever a question of doing my duties. Elevators are not a part of many buildings in the Dept of Ed. so I wasn't sure why he went there. I politely responded, I don't understand the question. My hope was for clarity and to see if he was leaning towards my size in his inquiry. After listening to him stumble over his words, while turning red I knew he felt embarrassed. One of his colleagues attempted to add levity to the room since my silence and the principal clear uncomfortableness was evidence of a problem. I smiled and took the principal off the hook. I said, no sir I don't see the steps being a problem. It would actually save me money not having to pay for a trainer. Also I possess no limitations that prevent me from doing the duties required. I explained in my current school, the gym is on the first floor and the school is on third floor. I make the walk a few times a day in my current school so it wouldn't be a problem here. Now I allowed the interview to end but I have to say it made me think as I walked down the stairs to leave.
My focus from this was this is an extension of the fight I current embattled with. The fight of changing my mental and physical self in relation to weight. People are fighting to get in shape around the world so its not a battle I share alone. Yet the heart of it is a solidarity battle. The man in the gym in California, Israel or wherever doesn't effect my rate of weight loss. Yet we stare up at the same mountain. Its tricky if you don't reflect deeply at where you are.
The principals question was his way of making sure he doesn't make a mistake for his school and children. He just didn't consider what effect it has on the person hearing it. Bias is a strange entity being that many that practice it are subtle and in many cases think they are not acting from a malice point of view.
Yet I say this to my students often "A punch in the face hurts weather it was intentional or unintentional" Now we know one cause a different dilemma from the other yet the pain is still there. People need to understand that. If the principal pays me the respect of waiting until we are alone to say "I am considering hiring you but I want to ask you this, if your hired will the stairs be a problem because many have complained about us not having a elevator." This way he takes the spotlight off me and places it on the situation. I still don't know how he felt comfortable asking the question with me being a man of size. I simply add to the pile of things which matter slightly and look for the positive in the happening.
Well guys I am not going to attack the board or the principal. I will write letting them know to remove me from consideration for the position. I will also mention the awkward question in hope someone else is not offended. Then I'll pray for all involved. Prayer is one my main tools t deal with a situation. I have seen it work and payoff.
Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts..
Remember to come by my website to see what I am up with with my writing and book events..