“We want to attract teachers who aren’t recipe followers, but rather those who are willing to take a chance with a room full of kids.”
Joan Moser cites this quote in her January 2016 blog post, Let’s Take a Chance. When I read it, I immediately copied the statement as inspiration for the hiring season. And here we are. . . resumes fill my inbox, job fairs bring eager applicants to our table, and friends of friends inquire about openings for the next year. In the midst of day-to-day tasks, I look for teachers for the following year while I mourn the loss of the beloved teachers who are moving, retiring, staying home with little ones, or making some other change in their lives. This is the inevitable cycle of schools.
Reading resumes, one can find many qualified candidates from good schools who are eager to join our community. One of the keys to finding strong independent school teachers is to look for educators who are not recipe followers. These teachers pose questions, seek answers, and voraciously learn from books, colleagues, and from experts in the field. They are the ones who realize they don’t have all the answers and that collaboration is paramount to making a difference for students. These teachers are risk takers who are willing to take a chance on a lesson, an idea, or even a misbehaving student. These are the teachers who don’t pull out lessons from last year, assuming it will be good enough for this group of students. These are the teachers who despite good plans, continue to stretch and search for answers when even one student doesn’t catch on. These teachers not only present amazing lessons, but they care more about the learner than the lessons they craft.
So as I head to another job fair tomorrow morning, I will keep my eyes wide open for those who are creative, passionate, and willing to follow their heart rather than a recipe to impact the lives of their students.