A Difficult Choice – An Opportunity to Work with High School Drop-Outs

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Last week I had an interview for a position to teach English to Israeli girls who dropped out of high school. The type of work was exciting to me. The hours were almost doable. The pay? – pretty much non-existent. The neighborhood? Not great.

So, I was left with a dilemma. I believe that all children are lovable and capable. So I believed in this program and the staff and kids that were involved. I wanted to be involved in making a real difference in these girls’ lives. But I was not sure that this was the right time for me to get involved with this program.

I am not a teacher by profession and was clear and up front about that in the interview. When the person interviewing me (also the principal of the school) asked whether or not I aspired to be a teacher, I simply stated – no.

In discussing my professional experience with this prinicpal, I had the opportunity to talk a little bit about why I transitioned from social work into coaching. I said that, in general, social work focuses on a person’s problem, while coaching focuses on a person’s strengths. I then took this prinicpal back to the question he asked me a few minutes before that – of whether or not I aspired to be a teacher. I told him that the answer at this point was still no. Who knew what the future held? But what I do know right now is that I aspire to help kids succeed. If teaching them English is the way to help them succeed right now, then I am up for the challenge.

He liked that answer. It was the truth. I held to my values. I was straightforward and upfront about my intentions.

He said that he would get back to me in two days.

Instead, he got back to me the very next day saying that they wanted me for the teaching position.

It felt great to be wanted, especially because I knew that I was wanted for who I was, my vast experience, and for what I believed in. I also knew that I had to do some research on what the pay for this position was (funded by the Ministry of Education in Israel) and the neighborhood the school was located in.

I struggled with this decision for three whole days. What was so difficult about it? I knew that by making a choice I would be giving up something else. Working with the girls excited me. Putting in a lot of time in preparing to teach them English, however, was not on my agenda for this year, I realized. Taking the bus back and forth alone at night was also not very safe…and paying for a cab to get home both nights would cost more than I was being paid for one week.

There were many unknowns, as well. Would doing this work help me move forward in my business or hold me back?

In the end, I chose to say no to the position. It was a tough choice for me to make because I know that being a part of helping those girls would have been very meaningful to me.

Instead I chose to focus more of my free time on building my coaching business and helping my family continue to get settled in Israel.

I called the principal, and in Hebrew told him that I thought a lot about it, and that this was a difficult choice for me to make, but I would not be taking the English teaching position.

The principal understood. It was clear to him that I thought a lot about this. He appreciated my honesty and wished me luck in my endeavors. He also said that if I ever become interested in getting involved with the program at a later point, to please call him.

Am I certain that I made the right choice? No. Are we certain all of the time? In life we are presented with many choices, some more difficult than others. Each time we make a choice, we are saying YES to one thing and saying NO to something else.

I made my choice and now all I can do is continue to move forward and make a real effort each day to dedicate myself whole heartedly to what I said YES to at this point in my life – my family and my business. (Wish me luck!)

How about you?
Have you ever been presented with a difficult choice?
What are you saying YES to in your life?

The Power of Listening
Follow Jenny Sassoon:

CEO @ unleashingu.com

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