Spring time is an exciting time of the year in a school. We are working hard to ensure that our students are prepared for final assessments. The weather has changed and we are transitioning from winter coats and boots to shorter than I’d prefer shorts and tops which barely cover body parts. Our students would rather be outside playing soccer and baseball than synthesizing information or making text to text connections. As a staff we feel as if we have one foot in the current school year and one foot in the upcoming year. We begin class placement meetings, discuss room assignments, order supplies and begin to network with those whom we will be working closely with in the fall.
For those staff members who recognize the importance of personal and professional growth and embrace the opportunity to transfer to another school or another position, dusting off their interview skills becomes important. As the administrator in a large school (we have about 85 staff members), our admin team is provided with many opportunities to interview teaching, secretarial and support staff members. I enjoy meeting perspective staff members, sharing significant highlights about our school and learning new strategies and ideas as we work our way through the list of questions. We are purposeful in our intention to make candidates feel at ease and to create the conditions whereby they highlight their strengths as a staff member. At times, I feel that we, as a school, are the ones being interviewed as the perspective next school for these talented educators.
During our most recent interview session, we worked our way through our usual list of questions, providing the candidates with an opportunity to share their qualities and skills, specific examples of differentiated lessons, assessment techniques and strategies for engaging reluctant learners. At the end of the interview, I tossed out a final question (not listed on the page) and asked the candidate, “If I called your current administrator, what would they say about you?” The candidate had a great comeback about his current principal, sharing that she would tell me not to hire him, because she would want to maintain him on his current staff. We laughed and then he proceeded to provide some more insight. I continued to ask that same “off the cuff” question to the next four candidates and at the end of the evening it became clearly apparent that each candidate (although they were all very excited about the possibility of working with us) was very humble in their first response about their set of skills and qualities and yet when we asked about how others viewed them, they provided us with a much more glowing and well-rounded list of qualities
I’m wondering how our students would fare if we asked them about their skillset and then asked them how we, as their teachers, see them? Do we learn modesty as we age? Is it culturally unacceptable to share one’s qualities, even when employment is at stake?
Do we spend enough time teaching our children to be proud of what they offer and how to articulate their strengths?