So I am thinking about applying to a job in the Foreign Service for an Information Resource Officer position in the State Department. I would like to share with my readers my personal essay portion and a set of answers to each of the four questions. The first response is what I would really like to say, the second response represents what I will actually write and send with my application. I am open to suggestions so please comment on any of these responses and let me know which one you think is the most appropriate.
1. Leadership and Teamwork Abilities: Describe examples of your ability to lead a team in the accomplishment of a goal, and to participate as a team member working toward a common goal.
What I would like to write:
Dear Sirs, have you ever had the fortune of teaching gangbangers? Have you ever had to earn your audience, or "play" along with yawpers in the hopes they might lend ear? Unless you have, I don't suggest you ask for the bathroom pass to my soul. I know I can lead a team because for three years I taught five classes a day in the Bronx with little to no logistical support. It was work enough just to get my charges to think that they were part of a team; getting them to act like a team, though, was what gave me the most satisfaction. However, this took huge investments of time and conditioning. I understand the importance of rapport because for three years I was in an environment where I had to earn every scrap of trust. Conversely, I know how to function as a team member because teaching in a public school is a collaborative effort, fraught with exercises in the dissolution of the self. Indeed, when you form part of a department, you are always doing what's best for the school and then the department, and only then are your best interests supposed to enter the equation.
What I will probably send with my application:
The bulk of my praxis as a leader comes from my ability to connect with the students that I have taught over the years in New York City. Those same experiences, though, are what have also forged my character and temperament as a dedicated member of very large and systematic educational "teams". As an adjunct with the English department of Kingsborough Community College/ C.U.N.Y. from 2003 to 2004, I taught several sections of Freshman Comp. More importantly, I was doing my part so that C.U.N.Y. could boast to servicing 480,000 students at 23 campuses. In 2004, I was accepted into the NYC Teaching Fellows and found employment at an impact school in the Bronx. Every day that I reported to work and taught five classes, I was forming part of the concerted effort of 80,000 educators to teach the million plus children in New York City. I have engaged and educated New Yorkers from all walks of life. And, what I have learned is that when you are dealing with people, you should always strive to deal with the person. In other words, you can only reach people by entertaining the individuals that comprise the group, people.
A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.