“Through learning we re-create ourselves. Through learning we become able to do something we were never able to do.” – Peter Senge
I was channel surfing on our television the other day and happened to dial into the NFL Channel. The show which I began watching consisted of a panel of football “experts” trying to determine who and in what order players would be selected in the upcoming professional draft. Each expert had their opinions, supported by criteria on their order of selection.
I began to wonder what criteria would we use to select and invite teachers to join our profession and our school districts. In our district we have implemented a behavioural interview and selection process and I think we could clearly articulate our process and criteria for review. But I am now wondering if we have consensus and whether we really have the right criteria.
Do we select for judgment, skills and knowledge? How about desire, commitment, and intelligence? Where do we determine whether an individual has character, integrity and a sense of ethics? Do we have clarity on our individual contexts and the requisite instructional strengths to be successful in those contexts?
I question my assumptions on what are the characteristics of good teachers who employ the best strategies to ensure success for all learners. I read research on best practice, useful strategies, and am overwhelmed by the research and information on good teachers and good pedagogy. How do we incorporate all that we know about character, relationship building and pedagogy into our selection processes?
In the end we must make judgments on applicants to our positions and was reminded of my obligations to these candidates by the writers of the book Gridiron Leadership, 2009 by Offstein, Morwick, Griffith and Praeger . They reminded me that I need to:
1. Recognize my own biases
2. Keep an open mind
3. Know when to switch strategies, approaches and stances
4. Be realistic in my approach
5. Seek diversity
As leaders in systems we must realize that our actions, decisions and communications have an effect on our school and district cultures. I remind myself and others that our selection processes are a clear indication of how serious we are in developing culture and in serving the learners in our schools.
“An education is not a quantitative body of memorized knowledge salted away in a card file. It is a taste for knowledge, a capacity to explore, to question, to perceive relationships.” – author unknown