The Other Side

Sometimes I feel like I’m just standing in place, ain’t no real race.
Ain’t no other side. Life is like a circle and you end up where you started. If you end up where you started ain’t no other side.

-Gil Scott Heron, The Other Side

Our timing and God’s timing for our lives don’t always align. It’s a humbling experience when you realize that what you have planned for your own life is pale in comparison to the plan which has been written for your life. This Saturday I thought about the many years I’d travelled to Atlanta to secure a teaching position. For years, I envisioned securing a teaching position in the metro-Atlanta area. To this day, I consider myself an honorary resident of Atlanta’s Little Five Points neighborhood, choosing this eclectic neighborhood for my most recent book signing.

Though I was unsuccessful in securing a position at those job fairs, I was able to secure teaching positions in districts that grew me, promoted me, and ultimately helped develop me into the educator I am today. My journey eventually led me from Macon to Augusta to Tacoma. In 2017 we made Atlanta home as I became principal of an amazing elementary school. It is truly a story of coming full circle. This past weekend I had the privilege of sitting on the other side of the table at my metro-Atlanta district’s Job Fair. In the shadows of the city where I once longed to become a classroom teacher, I’ve transitioned into a role where I have the unique privilege of opening doors into the profession or bringing talented and experienced teachers onto my team of dedicated professionals. Being on the other side of the table is humbling because I remember what it was like to have just a few moments to share my passion, my experience, and my commitment to changing lives with those folks on the other side of the table. I’d wonder, “What are they looking for?”, “How can I set myself apart from the other applicants?” In many cases, I just lacked the experience that was needed to be truly effective in the roles I was seeking back then. I never understood that until I was on the other side of the table.

During my time on the other side of the table, I’m hopeful that I can help to bring people into the profession who are committed to changing lives, changing communities, and changing themselves in the process. The other side of the table is a place where, though still evolving, I’m finally prepared to stand.

Soundscape: Gil Scott Heron, The Other Side

Published by Andre Benito Mountain

Andre Benito Mountain is an elementary principal in the metro-Atlanta area. He is the founder of Def-ED Clothing and the author of The Brilliance Beneath (2016), "The Mountain Principles" (2018) and "Principals Don't Walk on Water" (2020) . His forthcoming book is "Virtually Lost" (2021).

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