Interviewing the Minority
Interviewer: Student from ABC College
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Interviewee: Kane Familia, a certified science teacher in a secondary school.
Where do you work and is your organization government-based or privately owned?
Currently, I am employed as a senior science teacher at a privately owned secondary school. In our school, we maintain a house system that is comprised of four different houses named Green, Blue, Yellow, and Red. Being a senior teacher, I am the head of the Red house. Each house includes ten students from each class. In this way, all students in each class are divided into four groups. These groups are made to encourage students to keep the spirit of competition and be motivated by achieving good points in different science activities that take place throughout the year.
What are your responsibilities at work?
I am a certified and experienced teacher; thus, my responsibilities include the preparation of the annual curriculum for all classes. I have to plan the course outline for each term along with monthly assessment sheets and terminal examinations. Additionally, every month, I have to conduct a science-related activity among students of Red house, which helps my students prepare and strongly participate in a science project competition that takes place after six months. Also, being a teacher, I am responsible to complete the designed course outline within the given time and prepare all my students well for the examination. Besides, as I am the head of Red house, I have to prepare their monthly and annual report of points gained in different science-related activities throughout the session. I have to prepare and submit a progress report of all Red house students, and sometimes I have to deal with parents to communicate about the strengths or weaknesses of their children.
Have your responsibilities changed over time? If so; how? If not, why do you think this is?
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Usually, my responsibilities do not change, or you can say that I do not feel a change in my responsibilities. Being a certified professional, I am well aware of the teaching profession, and I am always ready to face challenges with upcoming events or activities to be conducted in the school. The nature of job or responsibilities never changes because a teacher is always teaching their students and preparing for the best outcome in the future. The only thing I can mention in this regard is that during big science projects or any other important event I have to do some overtime either with students or with other co-workers to meet the deadline of the scheduled event. However, if I am promoted as the head of the science section, then obviously my duties and responsibilities will be doubled, but currently, I am not experiencing any type of change in my responsibilities.
Do you ever think about the fact that you are a minority in your workplace? If so, how often, do you think about it?
I am an African-American male, and at work, I am always besieged by Caucasians, mostly females as school is a place where we normally find more female staff members than male teachers. Total teaching staff members of the school are 43 teachers and there are only 4 male teachers. However, three other male teachers are also white Caucasians and I am the only non-native speaker, African-American. Luckily I never get irritated by their company. I have been working in this school for the last six years, but I never felt left out or a stranger among all Caucasians. I am very proud of the fact that I am working among such people who truly respect humanity and equality. The main reason behind this positive working attitude of the place is because it is a school and here we all aim to teach equality, justice, and notions of humanity to our students. The school wants to bring up a non-racist and bias-free breed. Thus, my co-workers, seniors, heads, and all other members of the school never made me feel that I am a minority and deserved to be treated unequally.
Do your coworkers ever make comments about the fact that you are a minority in the workplace?
My co-workers have always been cooperative and friendly to me, they never made any comment about the fact that I am a minority. However, in the beginning, I felt that some parents of my students had issues with me only because I am an African-American and they wanted a Caucasian science teacher for their children. I came to know that those parents even requested the administration to change an African-American teacher, but the school administration completely refused to accept such a bias application.
Do you think that there are different expectations of you because you are a minority in your workplace? If so, can you describe the differences?
As I have already mentioned, the school I work in is totally against racism or any type of bias practices. Thus, they do not expect anything different from me only based on my different race. However, I would like to tell you that some of my African-American students intend to get favor from me believing that our teacher will favor us because we belong to the same race. But I never gave them chance to come and ask for a favor only based on race or creed because I strongly believe that a good teacher always maintains equality among the students and thus, I always try to do my work with honesty.
If not, do you think there should be different expectations of you because of your minority status?
Although my co-workers do not expect anything different from me, I always doubted that they could think that I might favor any of my African-American students at any time. Therefore, I always intend to maintain equality among my students.
Have you ever been treated differently in the workplace because of your minority status? If so, how did that make you feel?
I am not used to be treated differently at the workplace because of my minority status specifically from my co-workers’ side. However, an attitude of dislike is always there from parents’ side, which irritates most, but then, I think that it is my job to deal with parents and gain their confidence with my efficient performance. Moreover, I would like to tell you that at times I and my other male co-workers are given extra work, but I never mind doing such work which is given to us because we are considered stronger and capable of doing that work in a better way than females.
Do you think that minorities are disadvantaged in the workplace?
No, I do not think that minority is a disadvantage at the workplace because it can always be a matter of self-motivation, confidence, dedication, and professionalism, which can help convince other people at the workplace. Although, some of my friends and relative do ask me about my experience of working with Caucasians specifically with females because most men find it difficult to settle down at a workplace, where there are more female co-workers than males. But, I never thought that it is a disadvantage to working with females I believe that working with females teach us more etiquette and manners as all the time we try to give respect to them.
Did you ever consider changing jobs because being a minority in the workplace made your job harder?
Honestly, I would like to tell you that sometimes when I think that I have a minority status at the workplace and I have no one from my race or cast to share similar thoughts about anything I think of then I feel like switching job to an organization where I can find most people from a similar background. But, such a peaceful working atmosphere and the cooperative nature of all co-workers refrains me from thinking about job switching. It is also because co-workers’ behavior never made it difficult or harder for me to do my job among people belonging to another class or race.
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My uncle is a hardworking, honest, and professional worker; he never lets his minority status disturb his professional life. Additionally, it is appreciable that the school he works for is also a bias-free working place that allows individuals from diverse backgrounds to come and serve their organization (Stringers). I have observed that he is comfortable doing his job at the place which he likes the most. But, it is noticeable that he gets disturbed at times due to society labeled concepts related to workplaces and the attitude of people, which made it harder for the minority status people to do their jobs properly. As he mentioned at the beginning of the interview that the place he works in is biased-free so most of his answers to my further questions were predictable, but I was really surprised when he mentioned that parents of his students often not like him and even some of them tried to replace him only because he belongs to a different race. However, the way he kept on telling me about the positive, encouraging, and bias-free environment of his workplace, was interesting for me. Throughout the interview, I tried to get a hint of discrimination he might have faced at his workplace due to his minority status, but he did not give me a chance to get such an impression about his workplace. I observed honesty and dedication in his words, which made me feel good about those who are unbiased and let minority people live and work peacefully. His views and experiences showed me an interesting and brighter side of the picture and I came to know that we still have such occupations and organizations that are truly bias-free and maintain equality amongst individuals belonging to different races and backgrounds.
Stringers. How To Conduct an Interview. 2008. Web.