Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dear Teacher Applicant

This is the time of year when I start to look at hiring potential teachers for next year.  So to  those teachers that we will be interviewing, I share with you the following questions to consider and reflect upon:

  1. During the interview, demonstrate (don't just tell us) how you have, or how you intend to use various forms of assessment to assist your students in their learning.  Please be informed that we have a school grading policy that emphasizes assessment as tool for learning, rather than stick for measuring.
  2. A core value at our school is that students come to us with a multitude of gifts, talents and blessings.  Demonstrate how you have, or how you intend, to engage the diverse group of learners who will look to you for inspiration, guidance and passion.  
  3. At our school we are obsessed with answering one, basic and fundamental question - "how do we respond when students don't learn?"  With this in mind, how do you see yourself engaging with our Pyramid of Interventions?
  4. Given the variety of talents, interests and passions of our students, we provide a multitude of experiences for them both inside and outside the classroom.  It is expected that teachers get involved in the extra-curricular life of the school.  How will you enrich our extra-curricular programs for our students? 
  5. In an information and knowledge rich world, how have you, or how do you intend to add meaning and a depth of understanding and relevance for your students?  
  6. Demonstrate how you have, or how you intend use technology (e.g. web 2.0 tools) to assist your students in being more engaged, to create and to collaborate?  
  7. We value  and nourish our teachers as learners and collaborators.  Please describe what current professional learning you are engaged in.  You might want to share what medium you are using to keep this learning current and engaging for yourself.
  8. Demonstrate how you look beyond a "students can't" attitude.
  9. Demonstrate how you are an innovative teacher.  Don't be afraid to tell us about something you tried and failed at.  Tell us what you learned from that experience.
  10. Within our school's "Ethos of Us", demonstrate how you have, or how you intend, in some cases, "get out of the way of students" and, in other situations, "hold your students hands".  Within this context, demonstrate how you have, or how you intend build confidence in each of your students.
  11. Paint of picture of yourself as a "soul builder" of students.  As a Catholic School we have a profound mission that goes beyond just teaching curriculum.  Each of the students in your care, at any given time is "loving something, fighting something or losing something" (Mike Patin) .  Again, demonstrate how you have, or how you intend to nurture and build each every precious soul in your care.
  12. Parents are the first educators of their children.   They do the best they can.  Demonstrate how you have, or how you intend to engage and communicate with parents, to assist you, in the educating of their child.
This list is not meant to scare or intimidate and we certainly don't expect perfection.  We do however, expect all our teachers to embrace best practice, to share in the mission and vision of our school and to see our students as  gifts.


  1. Thanks so much for your transparency Johnny... This year was the first year that I shared with applicants the topics of our conversation beforehand and I felt that it truly helped me hire some great teachers for our district. It should be no secret what the criteria is for a school or district... The "pop quiz" style interview should be a thing of the past. Here are some questions to consider prior to the interview... Now let's talk!

  2. Great job extending this conversation, Johnny. I agree with Chris - the opportunity to reflect on the types of questions you might face ahead of time leads to deeper thinking and better conversations, and inevitably, better instruction. Might "share" some of these ideas from you this spring! PJ

  3. Peter and Chris
    Thanks for the comments. In my mind, it's about clearly setting the expectations well in advance. Hopefully this will be yet another way of doing that. ( I will also share this with my current staff as well). I have found blogging and having a current and up to date school web site great tools in helping me "paint the picture" for those outside our school community.

    No more "pop quizzes". Couldn't agree more

  4. Thanks for your post! I'm in the process of updating our district's hiring processes, and you've hit a number of points I think about when interviewing.

    I'll be visiting our schools in the coming weeks to speak to student-teachers, and hope to share your post with them as they begin to prepare their applications.

  5. Great post Johnny! These are excellent points for consideration before the interview and being a key member for our team this year in the hiring process, I have some great ideas moving forward. Especially with better preparing our candidates.

    Your points resonate with one of our workshops yesterday at #CAISahc around Behavioural-Based Interviewing. So important to get to really know how your potential candidate will fit in (or not) to your school culture, mission and vision.

    Always enjoy reading your posts!

  6. Hi

    I read this post two times.

    I like it so much, please try to keep posting.

    Let me introduce other material that may be good for our community.

    Source: Teacher interview questions

    Best regards