Dreaming about interviews...#edudreamer

@mr_brett_clark 3 Comments

I was looking at the open hire spots in my district today.  Not because I'm looking to apply at any of them but because I'm curious how many new folks I'll be working with in the schools I'll be in.  Also, I must say, the entire hiring process has always fascinated me. I've bounced back and forth on the idea of getting my administration license and thought long and hard about if I would want to be a principal some day.  One of the biggest reasons I have ever considered becoming a principal is the opportunity to hire new folks and shape the culture of a school.  However, I don't think I'd go about the interview process the way I was interviewed.  Here are some things I've been dreaming about if I could be a part of the interview process.

Kids would be active participants in the interviews.

Now I know that is nothing new.  I've seen and read about schools where kids are involved in the hiring process.  After all, they are the ones that are going to have to listen to that new teacher every day throughout the year.  However, I don't know if I'd have them in the room with me when I did the "interviewing".  I think I'd put them in the waiting room.  They could offer the prospective candidates soda or water, maybe some peanuts, while they waited.

I would just be curious to see how many of the prospective teachers would strike up conversations with the students in the room.  Would they ask them about the school?  Would they ask them about themselves? How quickly would the prospective teachers be able to make connections with the students in the room?

Yeah, I guess I could have put them all in a room and have the interviewee "teach" something.  I guess the flaw I see in that is that anyone can put together one dynamic lesson.  I remember I was working in this one school where we had this first year teacher who had no clue how to teach.  However, he blew my principal away with how he looked and his "mini-lesson" to the principal, assistant principal, and department head.  My principal described him as "being like a movie star".  Which, of course, was the problem.  He could act like a teacher but he couldn't connect with kids.

You can fake your way through a lesson but you can't fake your way through connecting with kids.  I'd want kids as part of the interview process because I can help people become better teachers but I can't teach people how to care about kids.

Parents would be there as well.

I've taught in a couple of schools and been to my share of interviews.  I think every teacher interview requires at least one question about how will you deal with an upset parent and/or how do you communicate with parents.  Wouldn't it be great if you actually had a real life parent there to ask that question!?  Maybe ask the PTA president to be a part of the interview or some other trusted parent.  I just think it would be fun to get their perspective.  I mean, they have their kid(s) with them ever day.  We only get them for about half of the year.  Plus, they probably have some other students who are friends with their kid(s) and crash on their floors multiple times a year.  I just know that if my kids' principal called me and asked me if I wanted to be a part of the interview I would say yes in a heartbeat.

Talk about giving your parents some buy-in when it comes to the school.  Give them some voice in who it is teaching their children and I think you've got a parent who will support your school.  Plus this gives the school leaders a chance to sit down with parents and discuss the future of the school and to find out what they want out of the school as well what your vision is for the future.

Questions I would be sure to ask in any interview.

How do you know when you have learned something new?

How do you know when a student has learned something new?

What does a successful school year look like?

What do you want your students to get out of your classroom?

If you had an empty classroom, and money wasn't an issue, what would you fill your room with?

Tell me about a previous student you have taught.  Either from student teaching or from a previous school.

Of course there would be more questions than those but I think those questions are a good place to start.      Again, this is just something that has been on my mind lately because of all of the shifting that goes on between May and August.

Chime in down below in the comments with your thoughts and questions.  Here are some questions you can feel free to answer in the comment section as well:  What's the best question you've been asked in an interview and why? Have you ever interviewed at a school that included students and/or parents?  What would you ask if you could be a part of the interview process? 


  1. In addition to what I was sharing with you on Twitter from Zac Chase (autodizactic.com), I forgot to mention how upper-level students in the English department at USI act as ambassadors and guides to job candidates on interview days. I was lucky enough this year to talk to two different interviewees on their tour and interview days and help give them some insight about our campus and department. They seemed impressed that we were up to showing them around!

  2. It has been a long time ago (19 years) since I had to interview. I am sure I just repeated what I heard in school anyway.

    If I were hiring, I would want the candidates to shadow a teacher all day. I would want to observe them with the students (they can sniff out kid-haters in a heart beat.) I would want to know what they thought of the school community as well although if they really wanted a job their comments may be a bit suspect ;)

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