[Perform-Talk] Asking for your thoughts concerning a Recent Situation.

Bridgit Kuenning-Pollpeter bkpollpeter at gmail.com
Tue Aug 31 21:39:06 UTC 2021


Couple of things:

First, with Covid and the Delta variant, this schoolyear is still a hotmess. Schools are doing what they can, but things are still a cluster. So, some of the lack of communication is likely because of this.

Having said that, based on what you describe here, personally, I would hesitate to work for any employer raising these red flags. Employment is important, obviously, but you also don't want to work for an employer who is not understanding, communicative and embracing of all backgrounds and cultures.

I admit I find it highly concerning that a teacher quit over bullying of their accent, and the school's response seems to be a big shoulder shrug.

This doesn't give me a lot of confidence that if a similar situation happens to any other staff member, there won't be a similar response. If the school and school district don't currently have a current and proactive inclusion, diversity and equity policy and procedure, I would be very hesitant of working for this institution.

It's actually not odd at all to me that the music teacher quit before the term started. I know a lot of teachers, and this is more common than people realize. However, with some of the red flags you provide here, it does make me wonder.

Regardless, why can't you start with or without a music teacher? How does this prevent you from vocal coaching? I would be hesitant too. I assume you have a contract of some sort detailing your position and things like start date.

Lastly, disclosing disability is always up to the individual, but once an employer is aware of your disability, my advice is to never place any power in their hands. In the U. S., legally, they can't deny employment and accommodations. So, asking if they have a problem with a blind employee is not necessary, does you no favors, and frankly, you know what you're capable of, not the employer.

Personally, I would stop asking questions and diplomatically demand answers. For example, I would probably send the following to not only the principle but the superintendent and possibly even the school board:

Dear principle,

I've been informed the music instructor has vacated the position and that there are currently no music classes on the schedule.

I need to know my start date and when music classes will be available to the student population. Based on my current contract, this is my original start date. If this needs to be updated, then it needs to be updated immediately.

If there's no current date for including music classes on the 21-22 schedule and no immediate start date for me, I need to look for other employment.

Or something to this effect. But my point is that I would not beat around the bush or aqueous, but start demanding answers.

Hope this helps.


-----Original Message-----
From: Perform-Talk <perform-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org> On Behalf Of Annie Davis via Perform-Talk
Sent: Tuesday, August 31, 2021 3:07 PM
To: 'Performing Arts Division list' <perform-talk at nfbnet.org>
Cc: annedonnellon at gmail.com
Subject: [Perform-Talk] Asking for your thoughts concerning a Recent Situation.

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re all doing well.

I know some of you are aware that I am to start a voice teaching job at a Catholic School in the fall, but there has been some uncertainty surrounding that.  Although the principal has been friendly and civil to me, she has also in my view, dropped some hints that it might not work out: Either because they only have money to pay a teacher to come one day a week, they want to gauge the interest of students, and last year, the music teacher left because the kids were making fun of her accent.  (Well,to that, I say shame on the school for not training the students in diversity and respecting people of differences.)

Well, the latest is, I followed up with the principal yet again because next Tuesday is my day to come in and observe, except for one problem…

She said that the music teacher “quit the day before school started, so there are no music classes to observe.”  I have it in writing😉.

Does anyone else feel suspicious about that statement?  I mean, how could a teacher quit before school even starts?  It’s just not adding up in mind!

While that may be true, and some other opportunity may have come along for said perspective music teacher, given the communication we’ve had, it just seems awfully convenient and that there’s a subtext underneath that response.

We’re supposed to have a follow-up conversation tomorrow afternoon, and you bet I’m going to follow up!  So my conflict is: While I do not want to burn a bridge and cry fowl for no reason, I don’t want to let her down easy.  I have asked, time and time again,

“Are you sure you do not have any concerns as to how I, as a blind person will be an effective teacher” and she has not indicated that she has other than what I’ve just said.

Or am I just knocking on a locked door at this point?

Your prayers would be appreciated as well. ❤


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