Friday, April 14, 2006

What's diversity mean to you?

So I interviewed for a new job within the Postal Service yesterday afternoon. Got my hair cut and everything, trying to make the best impression possible. It's for the position of "Lead Computer Lab Instructor," which is basically right up my alley. Time will tell if I'm the one the board recommends to the selecting official.

I only drew a blank on one question: "How would you accommodate diversity in your classroom?"

Now we come to the title of today's post. What's diversity mean to you? When you hear the word, what do you think?

Maybe it's my age, but when that word was first put into use it was as a politically correct way of saying "affirmative action." It meant women and minorities. So my brain is thinking, "how would I accommodate women and minorities in my classroom? The same as anyone else. Duh!"

What came out of my mouth was some mumbled jumbo about making sure my instructing staff was diverse and all postal employees of diverse backgrounds would see themselves represented in the leadership of the lab...blahblahblah, woofwoofwoof, etc.

But then I confessed to the board, "I really have no idea how to answer this question. It doesn't seem to be an issue for me. People are people."

It was then that I learned that in our Postal Service World, diversity means "anyone who is different than you are" and the question was really about people with hearing impairments, the physically impaired, or people with medical conditions that require them to leave the room frequently ... which is very nearly a totally different question than the one I thought I had been asked.

A friend later that night clarified things for me. She said, "What they should have asked you is how would you accommodate special needs in your classroom?"

Now THAT question I could have answered.

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