The summer months are vital to educators for many reasons. It is an opportunity to attend professional development with a clear mind and focus. It is an opportunity to recharge and refresh by spending time with those you love. It is an opportunity to catch up on professional reading you have put off during the school year. As a principal, it is a great opportunity to post jobs, review resumes, be part of an interview team, interview candidates, and offer positions. It is the chance to add top draft picks, educators with high levels of talent and potential, to already high functioning teams. That process is a one piece of a bigger component about my job that I absolutely love…combining individual educators of different talents and styles with a staff that performs as ONE team with ONE heartbeat.
Over the course of the last seven years I’ve often been asked why I love interviewing teachers so much. So here are the top 10 reasons why I truly enjoy it.
- The look in their eyes – The heartfelt passion, emotion, and belief that is expressed when candidates are asked why they became a teacher is priceless. It reinforces my belief that this is the best profession in the world and takes a servant’s heart to be successful. It truly is a calling.
- Collaboration – A successful interview process involves multiple stakeholders, who bring important perspectives, to the TEAM that interviews the candidates. All members have a voice, share thinking, and add vital opinions on how the candidate would fit with the current team. It is great to work with a fantastic HR director and department who put together an organized and collaborative process to help us identify the best candidates for our district.
- Perspectives from my team – I learn even more about the educators in our school when they share their thinking on the candidates and the content of their responses. We don’t always have the opportunity to share educational beliefs, philosophies, and the process of building a team. It’s important to hear their takes on instructional strategies, innovation, and personality traits. I love that during this process I learn more about teachers in our school.
- Relationships – I have posted on this blog numerous times that I believe the profession of education is all about relationships. Relationships with parents, students, and fellow educators. By better understanding who our teachers are and what they stand for, I can most effectively support them in being the best they can be. Being on an interview team with fellow educators allows me to deepen the professional relationship I have with them.
- Personal growth – I learn from the candidates, something new, each and every day. When I take the time to be an engaged listener, I will pick up a new structure that a school used, a strategy that an individual teacher has been successful with, or a perspective I hadn’t considered. I become a better educator by being in the room and listening carefully to the ideas and thinking of other educators.
- Instructional strategies – Through years of research, collaboration, and implementation, we know better than ever before what instructional strategies best support student learning. People who have not been in a classroom in the last 10 years would be shocked by the improvements that have been made in just that time. The interview process allows for many different strategies to be shared, discussed, and questioned. That process is helpful for not only the candidate, but the interview team. Those instructional strategies are at the root of what we do each day in the classroom.
- Innovation – Our profession is changing, by the year, by the month, by the week, and by the day. Candidates often have new and innovative ideas they are able to bring to a team. The students of our school deserve to receive what is on the cutting edge of education. Listening to candidates and adding innovative members to your team is one way to ensure that.
- Improve each time – Each time I am part of the interview process, the team shares thinking and ideas that allow the process to improve. At times it’s just the adjustment of one question, other times it’s about including various members of the team, and sometimes it is more about the process. But the reflection after each session allows for a district to improve components of the process.
- Impact lives – At the end of the interview process, someone is able to offer a job to a candidate. That is a great feeling. You can offer someone their first chance, a new opportunity, but no doubt one that greatly impacts their life. This profession is full of amazing people. To be able to positively impact their life and allow them to fulfill their dream is such a great moment.
- Team formation – At the end of the day, the process is about growing your team, your school, in order to best support students. By always keeping students at the forefront of my mind during the process, it allows me to put in the extra time, ask the extra question, knowing they will ultimately benefit. The team at our school is already a great one. This process allows us to add pieces, that fit precisely with what we currently have, to make us even better. That means the school, the district, the parents, the staff, and most importantly, the students, are positively impacted.
The interview process allows a team to clarify it’s vision, learn more about each other, and add vital pieces to their puzzle. It continues to be one of the many parts about my job that I love!