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teacher recruitment

Hiring New Teachers: Candidate Example #4

Four very different kinds of skill— planning skills, management skills, motivational skills, and instructional skills — enable effective classroom teaching. All of these skills are essential to improving student learning. Unfortunately, we rarely get new teacher candidates with all four. Let’s look at an example of a hypothetical candidate. 

Should You Hire Mr. Excelsior?

Let’s say teaching candidate, Mr. Excelsior, walks through your door for an interview. How would you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this candidate? Would you hire him? If so, what would you focus on during his induction year into your building?

Based on your interview with Mr. Excelsior, you discover that he is an energetic young man who believes strongly that all children, even those who are way behind, can acquire the skills to achieve academically. He is well versed in the research on Growth Mindset. During a lesson demonstration with a class at your school, Mr. Excelsior had problems with classroom management. However, it is clear that he loves children and is determined to learn and improve. He has a Masters degree in social work, but no experience teaching elementary school. After your interview with Mr. Excelsior, you and your team discuss his strengths and weaknesses as a candidate.

What’s the Right Answer?

Mr. Excelsior’s social work background should help him to be empathetic to family situations and perhaps reach out to create family-school partnerships. Mr. Excelsior’s demonstrated work ethic together with strong mentorship should lead to his rapid learning. If hired, you should put him through a rigorous classroom management course so that he is set up to succeed at the start of the school year. If a professional development course isn’t possible, Mr. Excelsior should be referred to “Fred Jones’ Tools for Teaching” and he should be assigned an instructional coach to get his classroom management skills to proficiency. He must learn to employ clear routines, swift responses to off-task behavior, and clear limits in his classroom. You don’t want Mr. Excelsior to get discouraged early on by classroom management problems.

Hiring New Teachers: Candidate Example #3

Four very different kinds of skill— planning skills, management skills, motivational skills, and instructional skills — enable effective classroom teaching. All of these skills are essential to improving student learning. Unfortunately, we rarely get new teacher candidates with all four. Let’s look at an example of a hypothetical candidate.

Should You Hire Ms. Carta?

Let’s say a teaching candidate, Ms. Carta, walks through your door for an interview. How would you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of this candidate? Would you hire her? If so, what would you focus on during her induction year into your building?

Based on your interview with Ms. Carta, you discover that she has had a long and successful career as a laboratory scientist. She was a science curriculum developer for a nationally recognized educational think tank and is an expert at unit design and assessment. She is also thoroughly familiar with state standards. Though Ms. Carta has done staff development for teachers around the state on curriculum building, she has never had a class of her own. She is confident that her curriculum experience will enable her to create effective units of instruction, not only for her own class, but for all of the other second grade teachers as well. After your interview with Ms. Carta, you and your team discuss her strengths and weaknesses as a candidate.

What’s the Right Answer?

Ms. Carta’s background is a strong one to bring to a teaching career, but insufficient on its own. We are left wondering, amidst all of her curriculum development expertise, whether Ms. Carta knows how to create a healthy and challenging learning environment for all students. Your team should request that Ms. Carta teach a demonstration lesson to a classroom of students in order to determine whether she has any ability for framing lessons, classroom management, and personal relationship building. Only then can the hiring team make an informed decision about Ms. Carta’s potential to grow into a successful classroom teacher.

Hiring New Teachers: Candidate Example #2

Four very different kinds of skill— planning skills, management skills, motivational skills, and instructional skills — enable effective classroom teaching. All of these skills are essential to improving student learning. Unfortunately, we rarely get new teacher candidates with all four. Let’s look at an example of a hypothetical candidate.

Should You Hire Mr. Militor?

Let’s say a teaching candidate, Mr. Militor, walks through your door for an interview. How would you evaluate his strengths and weaknesses? Would you hire him? If so, what would you focus on during his induction year into your building?

Based on your interview and class observation, you discover that Mr. Militor is an expert classroom manager. Students behave well throughout the lesson, and the routines go like clockwork. Students seem to feel safe and secure in his room, free to participate in class and be themselves. His references say that Mr. Militor has good relationships with parents and other teachers. Though his pedagogical knowledge is limited, Mr. Militor follows his curricula closely and is pleased that this school has purchased nationally recognized text and curriculum kits. After your interview with Mr. Militor, you and your team discuss his strengths and weaknesses as a candidate.

What’s the Right Answer?

It’s clear that Mr. Militor comes with a foundation of good assets. If he is hired, the task will be to coach him to stretch his repertoire of teaching skills, and to guide him toward becoming a “thinker” about his curriculum. His induction year should include a rigorous agenda for developing the repertoire of pre-assessing his students, identifying misconceptions, error analysis, and re-teaching students who did not get it the first time around. Setting this professional development agenda for Mr. Militor early on is key toward ensuring his lessons at your school are rigorous and thorough. He needs to know that curriculum guides and kits should be treated as resources, not instructional sets.

Hiring New Teachers: Candidate Example #1

Four very different kinds of skill— planning skills, management skills, motivational skills, and instructional skills — enable effective classroom teaching. All of these skills are essential to improving student learning. Unfortunately, we rarely get new teacher candidates with all four. Let’s look at an example of a hypothetical candidate.

Should You Hire Ms. Einstein?

Let’s say a teaching candidate, Ms. Einstein, walks through your door for an interview. How would you evaluate her strengths and weaknesses? Would you hire her? If so, what would you focus on during her induction year into your building?

In the interview, you discover that Ms. Einstein is an expert at differentiated instructional strategies. Her extensive teaching experience and effort in developing her practice have enabled her to acquire a large repertoire of approaches to making skills accessible to students. She believes in innate ability and provides enrichment opportunities for her high-performing students. She is kind to her low-performing students and does not want to make them uncomfortable by expecting too much of them. You observed Ms. Einstein teaching a class that appeared engaging and filled with rich activities. Her compassion for struggling students makes her appear warm and caring. After your interview with Ms. Einstein, you and your team discuss her strengths and weaknesses as a candidate.

What’s the Right Answer?

If Ms. Einstein dumbs down expectations out of compassion for her low-performing students, she will be giving them arsenic sympathy: the kind that kills slowly. Her teaching may widen the achievement gap. She should be considered for a position only if she is willing to challenge her own beliefs about innate ability, raising her expectations for all of her students. This means acquiring the behaviors that send the following messages to all of her students in daily classroom life: “What we’re doing is important,” “You can do it,” and “I won’t give up on you.”