Recently we have given a newspaper advertisement in search of a teacher for our school who speaks English fluently, is qualified for teaching and has teaching experience. Unfortunately, we need to say no to a lot of applicants – and interestingly enough, the reason for this is sometimes their religiosity, too.
Most of the times, the people who apply are not at all qualified, skilled or experienced, which is why we have to refuse them. Also, religion is usually not at all a factor of eligibility – or not – for us. We don't usually care if someone is a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew or decides to pray to the God of pigeons, as long as he or she can teach and is a nice person. There is a limit however and that is reached when we have the impression that the person’s religiosity is going to affect our children.
The first hint is the appearance: there are certain religious signs like a single big strand of hair at the back of the head with men, a red line crossing the whole forehead and some more. A burqa would be another such sign. In some cases it really looked as though the applicant was just going on pilgrimage, visiting several temples instead of applying for the job of a teacher! It is definitely unscientific and somehow also unprofessional.
We actually want to give the children of our school a rational, scientific way of thinking and even ask them not to wear religious signs when they come to school – because we want all people to be humans, not separated into religions. They come for learning, not for praying. So we wouldn't want to have teachers displaying their religion either. It shows that they are themselves fully involved in something we think is irrational – so how would they teach our children?
Further proof of this normally comes up during the talk. One lady for example told that she and her husband had especially moved to Vrindavan due to their love for Krishna. They had left their good jobs behind in order to devote themselves to Krishna in his birthplace. They didn't care much about money but you need to do something to live, so they decided to teach – even though they had no teaching experience or qualification.
When Ramona asked her whether it was only her husband who was religious or she as well, she answered ‘Oh, he is my Laddu Gopal!’ This expression is used for baby Krishna, describing her husband as someone she is devoted to, whom she takes care of and dotes for!
I was walking by in that moment and saw Ramona’s face – priceless!
Jokes aside, when you come for a job interview, don't start preaching please. On the other hand, it just makes it clear that you won't be teaching at our school because we don't want you to pass this to our children. If they should learn this, they wouldn't need to come to school!
No, this approach to life, this attitude and most of all the whole superstition that comes along with religiosity is not what we want for our children!