A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday Musing Open Thread 2: Qualifications for hiring teachers

For your consideration: If you were given the chance to revamp the hiring process in your school, what would be the top qualifications you would look for in teachers being hired to fill open positions? How do these compare with the qualifications that are currently in use by your school district?

Let's discuss.

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At 7/27/10, 1:28 PM, Blogger ~Tim said...

This won't answer your question.

A friend of mine [one of the smartest people I know and someone who never backed away from an argument] often uses this example: "If you were offering a class in directing feature films and found out that Steven Spielberg wanted to teach it, would you refuse to hire him because he is not state certified?" Typically, this leads to discussion about "real world" experience, success in the field, technical expertise, passion for the subject, etc. Most people are willing to make an exception in such a case, to which he immediately counters, "How do you know he can teach?"

At 7/27/10, 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know that I would do anything to the hiring process. What I would change is the observation/evaluation process so that those new teachers are observed frequently during the first years to determine if they are good teachers or not. I would pay attention to what's going on in the classroom so I could make an informed decision about whether or not to keep that person in the classroom. If I found out that a teacher was teaching about Magellan with a hard g and emphasis on the Mag and telling the kid who corrects her to be quiet (true story), I would counsel that teacher out of the profession asap.


At 7/28/10, 7:13 AM, Blogger NYC Educator said...

I'd look for people who could think on their feet, make quick decisions, and adjust as necessary.

At 7/28/10, 12:55 PM, Blogger OKP said...

I'd stop trying to hire coaches who have to somehow fit into the curriculum, and hire teachers. I'm not trying to cast aspersions on the great teacher/coaches, but I'm just a bit bitter because I think our district looks for coaches whether or not they fit the needs of our school or are the best teacher for the open teaching position.

At 7/29/10, 4:43 AM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I would lean toward (secondary level, since that is where I am) deep knowledge of content at first. Then, I would absolutely ban any consideration of nepotism- whose kid this candidate is, where he or she went to high school, who he knows-- because that is a real problem here as I am sure it is in lots of places. But I also like the talk about evaluations. Ironic, because that is the subject of my next post....

At 8/1/10, 9:28 PM, Blogger SciGuy said...

I'd look for a deep love and knowledge of subject, overall intelligence, mental flexibility, and a commitment to life-long learning.

The toss-up for me is experience. I love the passion of newbie's, (I myself am only 7 years in.) but it's painful to bring up baby teachers just to have them leave you 2 years later when they get married, move to another town, have a baby, quit the profession, etc.

At 8/2/10, 12:09 PM, Anonymous Andrew Roedell said...

I am coming from an odd perspective, I suppose, because after getting an M.A. and Ph.D. in history, in anticipation of a career in college teaching, I am now getting an M.Ed. so that I can teach history/social studies at the high school level. My own view is that if K-12 educators are ever going to raise their status as a professional workforce, then teacher education programs must be restructured so as to recruit bright, ambitious applicants and subject them to rigorous professional training, just as higher-status professions such as law and medicine have long done. To become a physician in this country requires four years of graduate-level education; to become a lawyer, three years. What if the standard for teacher education were gradually raised to the point where students had to have (say) two years of pedagogical training and at least one year of either content area training or else training in some other educational specialization? Also: There are certainly countries where acceptance into teacher training programs is far more selective than it is in the United States; and if other countries have devised ways to attract the "best and brightest" to the teaching profession, surely it's worth exploring whether the United States can not manage that same feat. (And if the issue is cost, in terms of salaries, training costs, etc. -- well, you get what you pay for, and American taxpayers who demand a better-quality cohort of teachers should not be shocked at the notion that you have to pay more to get more.)


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