The System has made it impossible for me to get a permanent high school social studies position!
I grew up in one of the most diverse countries in the world! My mom came from a Hindu background and my dad from a Muslim background. I was shot when I was seventeen years old and I was told I would never be able to walk or run again without a cane. After one year of therapy, I was able to walk again. This experience changed my life and the person that helped me through it all was my dad. He is the biggest inspiration and has made me into the person I am today. When I came to the United States, I knew that I want to help others and it was my dad who guided me towards education. I started subbing and I knew I had to teach high school social studies because my family’s history is connected to the material. I also wanted to make a difference in my student’s lives the way that my dad made in mine.
My experience in my master’s program at USF made me realize that I was the only Indian in the program, and I was told by one of my professors that she has never had an Indian in any of her classes after twenty-five years of teaching at the university level. Everyone in my program thought right away that I would be the one that would get hired right away in high school because I had so much to bring to the table other than just teaching. My final internship was the worse experience of my entire life. I was bullied every day and threatened by my cooperating teacher. This same person I did my internship with became an assistant principal in Hillsborough County Public Schools. I was discouraged that the worse person I ever met in my life is promoted to a leader in Hillsborough County. I kept thinking about the kids in my internship and the impact I made with them while teaching them. I told myself that I needed to give it one more try before I give up in education. I was hired at a high school which was the best experience of my life until I found out I would be cut due to budget cuts. I sat in my classroom and cried as I looked at the board where I wrote about the two sides of the cold war. My dad told me that maybe everything happens for a reason because my work permit was about to expire, and I was waiting on my resident card.
I finally got my resident card in the mail, and I got hired at another high school, but it was another temporary position. The kids had expressed to me that they were learning more from me than their last teacher. I knew this would happen because high schoolers always feel that I am more relatable. They are also interested in my stories that I share in the classroom that is directly connected to the curriculum. It broke my heart when the principal told me that there were no positions open for the next school year. I poured my heart and everything I had into these temporary positions but still I was the one being cut.
I got hired at a permanent middle school position this year which I never applied for, but the principal contacted me. I never wanted to teach middle school and it became one of the worse experiences of my life. I was not supported whatsoever as a teacher and cried almost every day. I worked so hard to become a teacher and I was not getting the job I always dream of which was to teach high school social studies. I made one of the hardest decisions of my life was to resign. I had to take a step back and think about what I wanted. I started subbing again and I cried many times driving to the high schools where students are literally begging me to work as a teacher at their school. I realized that the system had destroyed me and are more in favor of white Caucasian teachers rather than diversity among the staff. A principal in Hillsborough County Public Schools told me to my face that I was too pretty to be a high school teacher. Another principal in Hillsborough County told me not to wear Indian clothes to teach which blew my mind because Indian clothing is very decent. Lastly, another principal slammed her hands down on her desk after I told her that I didn’t realize that growing up in a diverse country would make it easy for me to connect with my students. It was clear that she did not value diversity among teachers at her school.
Just a little advice to principals in Hillsborough County, students perform better when their teacher looks like them or if they feel that the person is relatable. Also, just because you have an intern doesn’t mean that they are the right person for the job! Most teachers that go into public school are white females which is NOT what the public-school system needs. And you wonder why there are so many issues in public school????? Hillsborough County is in desperate need of diverse teachers in HIGH SCHOOL! I know I am a good teacher because I am always better than the teacher, I take over for, but no one will give me a chance to prove myself in a permanent high school social studies position. Instead, they hire people that look like them and obviously that is not what is best for the students. The students are crying out for someone that understands the struggles they go through. Sharing my story of being shot at 17 has impacted my student’s lives in many ways. My students always cry once they find out I wouldn’t be coming back because I was cut. Instead, most of the social studies department that teaches World History and World religions are white Caucasian which makes no sense to me why I am having such a hard time getting hired especially when I teach these subjects from a personal level with a deeper understanding. The short time I was in the classroom I saw the huge difference I have made with my students and that’s why I am fighting to get back in a system that does not see my value.
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