Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Help Wanted

A big chunk of of my day yesterday was spent in a conference room as part of a committee interviewing for a teaching vacancy on my team. There were several candidates, and I would have been happy to work with any of them, but obviously the whole idea was to pick the best one. With that in mind, we asked a series of questions about planning, assessment, differentiation, philosophy, discipline, technology, teaming, inter-disciplinary units, and what the students should take with them at the end of the course. After a while, it all ran together, and if you asked me to described the people we interviewed without referring to my notes, I might say:

energetic undisciplined creative inexperienced polished rambling well-versed uninspiring knowledgeable clueless thoughtful unprepared student-centered short intense-eye-contact tall young firm-handshake thirsty

All four of us on the committee were women, as were four of the six applicants for the job. Three of the people we spoke to were applying for their very first teaching job, two straight out of school, and one as a "career-switcher." The others had between 3-11 years of experience.

The interviews were informative, but the conversations we had in between were way more interesting. So often it seems that a person will have an advantage in teaching because he is male. This was true with at least one member of our interview team: "If we can get a qualified man, we should," she said. There was discussion about our professional responsibility to encourage and support new teachers, and the time it takes to do that. We talked about the programs that expedite certification for career-switchers and whether or not they properly prepare their participants for the classroom, and what made a new colleague a "project" versus somebody who might fit right in.

In the end, I think we made a sound choice, but only time will tell. I'm in no hurry to apply for a job, though, of that I am very certain.

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