For most schools, summer is a time for conversations and interviews for vacancies. Every new day in summer brings about new opportunity for hiring more staff to bring into the school, an opportunity to bring new skills, backgrounds and perspectives to make for a more diverse learning environment.
I look forward to these talks because I am always looking for different voices and thoughts to make my team[s] better. Creating and building a healthy schools means building a team [I avoid the word family here] that is focused on growth and improvement and school goals. A healthy school can weather conflict and challenge amongst team discussions and planning and come out better, stronger, even renewed at the end. Every principal is looking for these lead learners, at all levels, to make classrooms, grade levels, departments and groups better.
I’ve recently began to focus on why people want to work at West Rowan Middle. West Rowan Middle is a great school with a great reputation, academics and athletics. We are fortunate that our school has a special place in many local hearts. While we don’t get the attention of our larger neighboring school districts, we are lucky to get the love we do. So when we’re interviewing and the question comes up about why are you looking to join, the answers vary widely. Its great to hear prospective teachers say they are looking for growth opportunities/advancement, help with developing skills or just looking to teach in different environments. While this doesn’t guarantee a job, it does get us off to a great start. And its sometimes like finding the treat in the Crackerjack when you meet the educator who’s family has recently transplanted! Its a great feeling.
Recently some of my conversations have led to me probe even deeper into motivations of people seeking to join our school. One reason given is people have been ‘wanting to get close to home.’ At first, I took this as a welcome sign but as I’ve reflected on it, I am becomimg more indifferent about it, to the point now where I may not be happy with this answer.
This answer, on the surface, is about convenience. While I recognize it may make the teacher’s personal life easier, it doesn’t say anything about a commitment to making our school better or dedicating to working with our school population.
Our kids need and deserve someone who is committed to the vision, goals and mission of our school.
We have to make sure that the people we are inviting in for interviews are seeing the our school first. Our mission, vision and core values are setting a course for our school. Its made me change what I want to make sure I hear from candidates. I’ve added some questions to my interview expectations to gauge where the hearts and minds of the people wanting the join the #Bulldog staff:
- How will you make our school better?
- How will you make the world a better place?
- What is the best learning activity you’ve ever created? Name two ways you can improve it.
- If we were to interview kids from every year you taught at WRMS over the next couple of years, what would they say about how you have helped them grow?
We want and need everyone who wants to come to West Rowan Middle and make a difference for kids and our school to be a #bulldog. But all of our priorities have to align – kids first and making sure that our teams are the clear winners!