Monday, July 27, 2015

Recruiting Season

A few months ago, during one of my FMLA principalships, I attended a district principal's meeting where one of the principals stood up, almost in tears, and began to speak about how hard it was to be the principal of a Title campus, that it was harder than other schools (she'd know, her experience runs the full range of socioeconomic backgrounds) and it was very difficult to get teachers to stay and buy into the work that was happening. My apologies, I really can't remember the exact context of the comment, but I recall it very clearly because it was an emotionally charged portion of the meeting.  She was highly frustrated.

While every campus has its struggles and challenges, having taught at Title campuses, I'd tend to agree with her, but my brain immediately shot to what is the identity and brand of this campus?  Why do teachers want to belong, what makes this school an amazing place to be?  I also began to think about how we often speak of student engagement.  Is the difficulty or type of work any different than blaming video
games, TV, cell phones, etc. for why we are unable to hold the attention of students? We preach that students are volunteers and they volunteer their attention to the things that are relevant and meaningful to them.  Teacher engagement is completely related.  Whether it is students, curriculum, instruction, learning, grading or the places they choose to take their talents,
our teachers volunteer themselves to the things to the things that are important to them.  Tweet this!

So then entered the thought about recruiting of teachers because this colleague mentioned that teachers were being lured away by something more desireable.  If you are not really into it, let me tell you, college recruiting is a very exciting season.  National signing day in February is absolutely amazing and I'll admit, I have ESPN open on the laptop and my A&M twitter list is handy so I know the news as it comes in.  But somehow this idea of recruiting teachers is taboo in our world of education.

Is it a bad thing to actively recruit amazing teachers?  I'm not talking about visiting university campuses or job fairs,  I remember my own visits to job fairs and hearing from districts "we pay more than that district" as their pitch.  That's great and all but, we are all positive we didn't jump into this work because of the money.  Although, wouldn't it be great for a teacher to sign that multi-million dollar contract like in the video!!??  I'm am talking about actively contacting and talking to amazing teachers, wherever they are, whatever situation they are in and pitching your campus to them because you know they would be an amazing fit for your team and campus and your kids need what they can provide!

What I know for sure is that this would force campuses to be completely grounded in their own identity and brand if they want to bring in the right "fit" for their "scheme"  Whether we are actively recruiting teachers in the way I'm wondering, we really should be able to clearly articulate what our campus is about, how we do our business, what we believe, where are our kids are going, why do we persist when the work is incredibly hard (addressing the initial question above), why this is an amazing place to spend our time and invest our lives in.  It would certainly bring some objectivity to the hiring process in that respect.

I would love for this to become an open conversation.  What are your thoughts or experiences?  What would be the implications?  Would it build more respect for or pride in our profession? Would create a "rich get richer" situation; would there be an SEC of teacher recruiting?  Would there be a "Cleveland" of recruiting? Sorry, Cleveland, although, we do see those Cleveland teams putting together amazing teams and being pretty successful.  Would that place an additional burden on the campus? How much more importance would that place upon being a connected educator?  Would that water down or muddy the connectedness? Not leading anywhere in particular with these questions, just emphasizing that there are more than a few things to think about here.  Pick a question from here or bring up your own, but please take a moment to make a comment below!

Happy thinking!


1 comment:

  1. These are some great points! I have personally spoken with districts in Title I schools who are currently struggling with other surrounding districts offering higher teacher salaries. The struggle is real. There is a need for a pool of passionate teachers in Title I schools. That's why I'm a big fan of Teach for America.