Are you serious?: Brains can hurt job applicants

Brains can hurt job applicants by Marquis Harris
(Thanks to American Black for the link)
Could anyone imagine the day when an aspiring educator would be told that he is, in essence, overqualified?
Perhaps my story is merely an exception to the rule. In either circumstance, the outcome is appalling.

I am a 22-year-old African-American male and recent graduate of a respectable liberal arts college in Kentucky. I acquired a 3.75 grade-point average with a double major in Social Studies Secondary Education and sociology.

I was a Rhodes Scholar nominee, inducted into the Mensa society in May 2001, named to the National Dean's List for three consecutive years, successfully competed in intercollegiate forensics and served as student body president.

While in college I was also privileged to serve on mission trips to Mexico, Guatemala and Jamaica. In the summer of 2002 I was granted the opportunity to intern with Saxby Chambliss, who was then a U.S. representative running for the U.S. Senate. I served for two years as a court-appointed special advocate for the state of Kentucky.


Recently, I interviewed with a school in one of the metro Atlanta counties, only to receive an e-mail from the principal stating, "Though your qualifications are quite impressive, I regret to inform you that we have selected another candidate. It was felt that your demeanor and therefore presence in the classroom would serve as an unrealistic expectation as to what high school students could strive to achieve or become. However, it is highly recommended that you seek employment at the collegiate level; there your intellectual comportment would be greatly appreciated. Good luck."

After reading the e-mail several times over, I felt as if I had been slapped in the face. It is truly a sad day in the world of education when a 22-year-old aspiring educator is informed that he is too intellectual to teach high school.

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At this point in time I am torn between being amused and upset. Amused not because I am making light of his situation, but because sometimes it is either laugh or curl up into the fetal position and cry uncontrollably. Upset because on some levels I can fully understand where he is coming from. I too 'have' (I put this in quotations because there are times when I think it is a lost cause) an aspiration to the teaching profession. So much so that while in my junior year at school (UPENN if anyone cares) I applied and was accept into the graduated education program there. I graduated in 2001 with a MS.Ed in Secondary Education with a concentration in Social Sciences. I will not go into the details, whys, and wherefores, but suffice it say I am not teaching now, and sometimes wonder if what I have gone through with the Board of Education has not permanently turned me off from teaching.

I am truly disturbed by the fact that there are those who would see an accomplished, educated, young, "African American" (see comments on "Dollars and Sense" for an explanation of why that is in quotes) man as an unrealistic goal for today's youth. If anything I feel as though there are not enough examples out there for our young people. If there are those that follow the course of thinking exemplified by the Atlanta school administrator, then our society is in serious trouble. I would really like to have a conversation with the Atlanta school administrator so they could explain to me just what they would consider an example of an attainable goal for high school aged students. I wonder if they realised the incongruity of their statement. Without role models and people to look up to early on in life, then the possibility is very real that they may not ever make it to the collegiate world. I will leave it at that because the more I think about the idiocy of the situation, the more annoyed I become.

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