Saturday, July 10, 2010

Muga Mushin

Yesterday was the final round of mentor interviews at the end of a highly pressurized week. The Statistical Analysis final had the majority of the class in fits, and I heard from several people their feelings on it were not positive. My heart goes out to them, because I understand their frustration. At times like these, I remember clearly several key words in the writings of Takuan Soho, from 'The Unfettered Mind', specifically the part entitled 'Annals of the Spirit Sword Taia', and 'fudoshin'. But more on that as (or if,) it becomes relevant.

I was selected for interviews with the EPA, in which I spent a good 10-15 minutes responding to questions from the interviewer regarding the children's book I wrote, illustrated, and self-published. The reason didn't become immediately apparent until he got around to making a point of saying that he was specifically looking for creativity and finding someone that thinks in, around, outside, under and over the box. Though, until I heard that I wasn't entirely certain that I might have found myself in the wrong place. The City of Philadelphia Parks Department (currently undergoing a merger with the City of Philadelphia Recreation Department) also asked me to come in, and I signed up for an interview with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This last one was particularly important because of how closely related our work is, given that one of their grantees, the Hablamos Juntos program, was a key factor in a policy paper that I turned in last week for my communications class. Everybody liked what it was that I had to say, and I'm entirely uncertain at this point, having had several 'successful feeling' interviews, where it is that I'll be ending up. I do know, however, that I'm beginning to feel incredibly comfortable with the idea of being in the leadership position.

It's an odd thing - as a teacher, you're automatically a leader in the class, you're a person with a great deal of responsibility, lives depend on you, yet, to consider yourself for a position of leadership as it's contextualized within this program is frequently outside of the realm of possibility for most people in the education field. "I'm just a teacher" is such a common phrase... kind of like "I'm just an interpreter." It sometimes surprises me that I've managed to overcome that feeling, and why it is that the sentiment is so heavily ingrained into the communities in the first place? But, I know I wasn't selected for this by mistake.

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