Monday, April 10, 2006


Hiring teachers has to be one of the strangest processes I have been privileged to be a part of. How can you judge a person's passion for teaching in a 20 min interview? How can you possibly know how the candidate will perform on the job? Some people interview well. Many do not.

Is it fair that we expect all our candidates to be exposed to non-traditional practices? How many of us already here at QHST actually knew what true cooperative group work, DEAR, or an effective advisory actually looked like before working here? We rarely here at QHST hold our kids up to the 60 minute timed test, but a 20 min interview to sell yourself is enough to judge a person's character?

However, with a hundred candidates I realize it is necessary. I read "Blink" and still am not totally convinced the 20 mins works when judging the art of teaching. Referring a friend is probably the only way to truly vouch for a person's character, however this can be dangerous. I have told many a former colleague that this school wasn't for them. "Yes we have parking lot," but rarely are our teachers parked behind a desk. Just like for students and parents, this school is not for everyone.


Anonymous said...

Hiring 'friends' feels weird to me. So many inherent dangers - including running the risk of becoming a bit too homogenous.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Walter, that hiring a teacher through our interview process definitely poses risks. The questions asked are broad and the "right" answers can be developed easily enough by reading the assigned articles before the interview. If the potential teacher has a friend here then all the better because we have all been through the process and know what type of questions will be asked. These friends can now be prepared ahead of time.
So how do we improve our interview process to try to insure we hire teachers that are in line with the educational philosophy of QHST? Teaching is not an easy job when taken seriously and so how do we ensure that new hirees will have the work ethic necessary to develop into the teachers QHST expects?
I have always felt frustrated during the interview process when I wanted to ask more but knew that we must adhere to the protocol and that we were under a time constraint. Perhaps one way to improve our process would be to reexamine the questions asked. We need to know how much exposure a teacher has had to nontraditional practices, we need to know what the candidate believes are the benefits to such practices and if they would be open to change. We also need to know if they believe such practices could be put in place while incorporating the necessary evil of regents prep and possible ways this could be done. We need to have candidates discuss the benefits and drawbacks of mixed ability classes and how they feel about the absence of honor classes. And we really need to know how they feel about working closely with a team of teachers on a regular basis.

A lot, I know, and so how do we try to find out more about our prospective teachers? Another possiblity could be to bring back interesting candidates for a second interview which would allow for a discussion rather than just a very formal question and answer period that doesn't tell us enough of what we need to know. This school is definitely not for everyone and we must recognize that 20 minutes is simply not enough.