Be Yourself

Fifth Grade

Fifth Grade (Photo credit: Bunches and Bits {Karina})

Yesterday, I became overwhelmed with excitement after receiving an e-mail from an assistant principal at a charter school in the bay area.  A 4th and 5th grade math and science position was opening up at the school and they were looking for a teacher with experience in those two subject areas.  I taught 6th grade math and science for two years.  I couldn’t help but feel that this could be a “shoe-in” opportunity knocking at my door.  The e-mail asked me to forward my resume and three letters of recommendation as soon as possible.  We would go from there.  Following the request, I reviewed and updated my resume.  I responded to her e-mail and attached the necessary documents.  Then, about ten minutes later I received another e-mail from her.  She wanted to know if I had experience in technology and engineering?  I admit I was somewhat shocked that engineering would be required for teaching 4th and 5th grade science.  Most folks I know with an engineering background or degree have an engineering career and job.  I started to rack my brain with ideas of what I could say in response that would put me in a good light and build her confidence in my abilities.  The school that I taught at last year had an afterschool engineering robotics program the first year I was there, but when the new administration took over, the program fell to the wayside.  I was never trained as planned.  So, I couldn’t beef myself up using that information.  My brain performed all types of twists and turns, but continuously I came up short.  Truth be told, I really didn’t have that much experience in the two areas required.  So, I responded the only way I could….with the truth.  My message said:

Dear _______,

Unfortunately, my experience in those two areas is limited.
However, I can say with confidence that I am eager to learn and I do learn quickly.  I am hard working, great with preparations, and willing to do whatever it takes.  For example, I would be willing to pay for training out of pocket if needed.  In addition, my fiance is a mechanical engineer and able to be my resource as I learn the new material.  This may not be the answer you are looking for, but I can assure you that I am very dedicated.  I hope this helps.
I never heard back from said assistant principal.  But, I was proud of my answer.  In the beginning, I did what I think many people may do.  I hammered away at myself with negative comments that most likely would be considered verbal abuse.  “You’re not good enough!”  “Great job on choosing the wrong degree!”  And so on and so forth.  You get the idea.  We all are guilty of beating ourselves up when something doesn’t seem to work out in our favor or when we feel we just don’t measure up.  Following the e-mails and disappointment, I moved on to my Buddhist practice and morning prayers.  At the end, I opened up the encouragement book I read daily.  It’s set up like a calendar, so you read the encouragement given for that particular day.  I couldn’t believe it.  The piece of advice for that particular day read as follows…
“Don’t put on airs.  Conceit and pretense don’t win people’s hearts; the facade soon crumbles.  Be yourself.  Buddhism teaches we can shine most brilliantly through natural, unaffected behavior.  Being sincere, dedicated and honest is the key.  People of integrity triumph in the end.”
For this job, I didn’t meet the requirements.  But I was able to release that part of my day with a feeling of pride in myself and a strong sense of integrity.  And that made a HUGE difference in the way I felt about me. 🙂
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


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