Spark Trader Limited Reports:
How do I handle the hiring process
When I hire, I look for two things: character first, and technical ability second. Technical skills can be taught, but it is much more difficult to change a person’s basic character or personality, which often determines whether they will be a successful teacher or not.
In interviews, I ask questions that seem simple, but are meant to reveal the interviewer’s character. For example, “Tell us about a mistake you made” or “Tell us about a conflict you had with a colleague — what happened?” “Or” What three words would your students use to describe you? Can reveal a candidate’s mindset and how it translates into their actions.
After the first round of interviews, I invited some candidates to give a demonstration lesson to a group of students. The model voting will be held on different days to give candidates time to prepare. We provided lesson tips for each teacher and invited three to five students to attend. These courses add great value to the recruitment process because we can see in real time how candidates design courses and interact with students.
An unexpected benefit is the level of student commitment to the process. Several students shared with me how much they appreciated the involvement of others, and their feedback was a frank and fresh part of the process.
How can I support a new teacher
Once teachers are hired, my next goal is to provide them with the resources and tools they need to succeed.
Communicate expectations clearly: I meet with each new teacher individually for about 30 minutes to outline expectations and strategies for success. Students need to know what is expected of them, as do new teachers — and administrators should communicate it clearly to them. Here are four things I tell new employees:
“Ask lots of questions!” I don’t expect new teachers to know everything, but I do expect them to ask questions and seek support.
2. “Reach out to your colleagues and get involved!” Students need a sense of belonging and community, and so do teachers. The first year of teaching in a new school can be stressful, but I encourage teachers to get involved in something they’re interested in, as it gives them a way to connect with other staff and get to know students outside the classroom.
3. “You’re going to make mistakes and that’s OKAY.” I admit that new teachers may make mistakes, but the most important thing is what they do afterwards. Self-reflection is an important part of professional growth, and I encourage them to ask questions like, “What did I learn from this?” How can I do it differently next time?”
4. “Have fun!” We are blessed with careers that can shape and change lives, and it can be a joyous experience for students and teachers alike.
Resources and guidance: If teachers need support in a particular area, I will connect them with resources in that particular area. For example, if a teacher is brand new, I have them work with an instructional coach on instructional strategy and curriculum design. If teachers need more support in behavior management, I will contact behavior experts for relevant training. Every teacher, whether they are first-time or experienced, has a connection with a mentor.
I matched new teachers and mentors based on personality, academic content, and areas of need. A mentor is someone who asks you questions, provides support and advice, and is a role model for new teachers. These presentations may be made in person or by email, depending on the circumstances.
Monthly check-in meetings and classroom Tours: Monthly meetings with new teachers are another important way to support them. These meetings are short (20 minutes) and I add all check-in meetings to my calendar at the beginning of the year. As an administrator, I find it easy to get bogged down in routine work, so monthly meetings are a helpful way to keep me accountable and in touch with new teachers. This is a great way for us to build trust and a positive relationship.
The monthly meetings are also an opportunity to find out what additional support or resources teachers may need. I combine these meetings with frequent class visits so I can learn about their teaching styles and provide guidance when needed.
Recruiting new teachers is one of the highlights of being an administrator because it has a direct impact on student achievement and the school environment. There’s nothing like discovering the passion and potential of a new educator. As an administrator, I am honored to be able to provide them with the support and opportunity to grow as educators who make a positive impact on their students’ lives.