Author: dewayneharrell

K-12 Educator |M.S. Ed. Leadership / Library Media | B.S. English |Life Long Learner | State Championship Basketball Coach | Educational Presenter | Grower of Food and Berries

Walk Away: #mypovnotfacts

Many times people give you advice about “being strong” … “sticking with it” …. “fight through it” … and all of the other motivational  analogies about how to handle opposition. In my opinion, the ability to persevere when dealing with a difficult situation builds character, but sometimes, you just have to walk away from it.

After coaching basketball for at least 15 years at the high school level, as well as playing it in high school, the decision to walk away was easy. The time shared with coaches, parents, and players throughout my coaching career were great, and they are memories that will never be forgotten, but I knew it was time for a change. After winning a High School State Basketball Championship, I decided to coach one more year. Even after losing 45 points, not to mention rebounds, assists, and leadership I felt the players who were returning had the potential to return to the State Tournament. They would have all been players with experience, as well as ones who were competitive and talented.

IMG_20170421_152232_854As a coach, my passion for the game didn’t diminish throughout my career, but the long days and long seasons wore on me. Previous to the State Championship win, the team had made two State Semi – Finals appearances, as well as regional play two years earlier. Not to mention, the program was 1 – 19 the year before I became head coach, and the fact that I coached the JV and Varsity team my first year. Whew!

Yeah, I was tired, but there was still a passion for the game. The year after winning the State, the team record ended up being 16-6. Four of those losses were to previous State Championship Teams, and the other two were two State Tournament teams. This 16-6 season was one of the worst seasons handed to me as a coach. It wasn’t the record or the kids, but more of the adults who became involved, which created problems with individual players and disrupted the team chemistry.

So, for me the best alternative was to “walk away” from the situation. This was almost done before the season even started because insight told me this was not going to be a good season, but my wife convinced me to stay. Plus, it was not the “right thing” in the big scheme of things, but on the last game of the season on the bus ride home, I walked away from the game of basketball.

I haven’t looked back since, and it’s been one of the best decisions made by me to this date. The memories will always be there, but the enjoyment of making other memories is just as good. The entire situation made me a stronger person, but now I’m strong and content because I walked away.

Oh yeah, the program hasn’t had a winning season since my departure.

Be Yourself: #myPOVnotFACTS

My first job interview was for a long term substitute position as an English teacher. From my experiences, it is my duty as an individual is to be myself at all times. Of course, there have been times where my demeanor was altered because of my environment, but in general my thoughts and actions have been consistent to my core beliefs.

So, during this first job interview, there were a series of question asked about education, which were answered in a responsible manner, but then the last question was asked. The interviewer closed his notebook of questions, and asked, “Why are you not wearing a suit?” My response, “I didn’t think this was a position that required me to be in a suit.” This might not have been the best answer, but it was my honest opinion. The interviewer smiled, and then gave me a lecture about how important it was to make an impression on others. In my mind, the recollection of educators who made impression on me were the ones who related to me as person, not those who wore expensive suits. In reality, teaching in a suit would be difficult if one was really teaching and interacting with their students.  So, needless to stay the job was not offered to me, even though the other 15 questions about education were answered to almost perfection, well from my point of view anyway. 20170605_130059

My second job interview was with a correctional center. The organization hired me for a teaching job in a correctional center that would pay me around $23, 000 dollars, as well as have additional benefits. I didn’t wear a suit to this interview because in my eyes, once again, I wouldn’t be wearing a suit to the job. The first question asked was, “Why are you not wearing a suit?” My response, “I didn’t think this was a position that required me to be in a suit.” So, as you can see, the first experience was not one of learning. The interviewer smiled, and we continued with the interview.

Good or bad, this job was not taken by me because of the distance, as well as the fact that another job was offered by a closer school division making more money.  Now, the question of the day is whether or not a suit was worn to the interview from the other school division. Honestly, memory fails me, but there is a recollection of my mother “fussing” at me for not wearing a suit. So, more than likely, a suit was worn.

At age 44, my goal is not to ever wear a suit again. Not because there is a belief that “first impressions”  don’t make a difference, or that one should “dress to impress”, but more because my outlook on life has changed because of my journey. It doesn’t matter, people are going to judge others with or without a suit. So, for me, the idea of being myself will not change by wearing or not wearing a suit, but it will make me feel a little more comfortable in the interview without being in a suit.