Hiring the right teachers should be a top priority for effective school leaders. The reasoning is simple. According to Brock Prize Laureates Ellen Moir (2009) and Linda Darling-Hammond (2010), the single most important element in the learning process is the teacher. Thus, finding and hiring the best teachers must be a paramount task for school leaders.9
However, finding and hiring the best teachers is not always an easy undertaking. In addition to hiring teachers, school leaders have copious additional responsibilities, and interviews can sometimes be relegated to rushed rituals squeezed between other administrative duties. Consequently, in order to hire the best candidates, long before the interview process occurs, school leaders must know precisely what to look for in a teacher and be prepared with the best possible interview questions.
Successful Teachers in the “Not-too-Distant-Past”
Not too long ago, qualities of a successful teacher would include effectively managing safe and orderly classrooms, disseminating subject matter, directing students’ “time-on-task” activities, and facilitating standardized testing processes. Of course, safe classrooms, helping students to stay on task, and assessing knowledge is still important. However, for today’s successful teacher, an additional set of qualities are needed.
Successful Teachers Qualities for the 21st Century
As we have emphasized in multiple edupreneur courses and blogs, the world for which our educational system was designed is rapidly changing. Moreover, many of the future jobs our students will have do not currently exist. If students are to compete in this evolving global society, they must be adaptable and versatile. They must be proficient in the “Four Cs:” Creativity, Communication, Critical Thinking and Collaboration. Successful teachers must be able to effectively facilitate those growth areas. In essence 21st Century teachers must be:
- Committed to the vocation of (or calling to) education, continually and proactively honing their craft by using a variety of available professional resources such as Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and online opportunities.
- Understanding of the societal shift from “students as consumers” to “students as creators.”
- Forward thinking and able to articulate a vision of education for 21st Century schools that aligns with more engaging and flexible learning environments.
- Understanding of the importance of growth mindset, grit, and multiple intelligences as well as how to help students build resiliency and perseverance.
- Innovators, relationship builders, and storytellers.2
- Adaptive to the continuous societal changes.
The implications for 21st Century interview questions and the differences in focus between those and traditional questions can be seen in the following table: 5,7
Comparison of Traditional and Potential 21st Century Interview Questions
Traditional Interview Questions
21st Century Interview Questions
|How do you prepare students for the job market or college?||How do you prepare students to be successful in careers that currently do not exist?|
|How will you facilitate the development of 21st century competencies in your students?|
|How do you manage your classroom?||
How do you teach students to manage and/or direct their own learning?
In what ways do you cultivate a growth mindset in your students?
|What kinds of in-service professional development do you prefer?||How do you manage your own ongoing learning opportunities?|
|Have you built a Personal Learning Network (PLN)? Why or why not?|
|How do you impart your knowledge or subject matter to students?||How do you facilitate learning whereby students are creators of information rather than merely consumers?|
|How do you help students to learn what you as the teacher don’t know?|
|How do you assess student assignments?||How do you teach students to be problem designers in addition to problem solvers?|
|Why do you think you are a good fit for our school?||In what ways will you challenge your colleagues’ and the principal’s thinking?|
|How do you make sure students are on task?||How do you give students an opportunity to contribute purposefully to the work of others?|
Just as education is rapidly evolving, the characteristics or abilities of a successful teacher are also changing to meet the demands and needs of today’s students. When planning your interview, remember, the above suggestions are not set in stone. We are all in this rapidly changing education business together and learning alongside each other. After reading this blog, reflect on your own interview process or questions and answer the following questions:
- What are your ideas about what today’s teacher should be and do?
- How can the hiring process be improved?
- How can the above interview questions be improved? What interview questions should be added?
- Couros, G. (2016). 10 essential characteristics of a 21st century educator [web log comment]. Retrieved from https://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/6783.
- Darling-Hammond, L. (2010). Evaluating teacher effectiveness: How Teacher performance assessments can measure and improve teaching. Retrieved from http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/10/teacher_effectiveness.html.
- Educational Research Newsletter and Webinars. (n.d.). “Effective teachers are the most important factor contributing to student achievement.” Retrieved from https://www.ernweb.com/educational-research-articles/effective-teachers-are-the-most-important-factor-contributing-to-student-achievement/.
- Harris, E. L. and Curry, K. (2017). Three Reasons Why These are Exciting Times for Edupreneurs. Retrieved from https://edupreneuracademy.org/exciting-times-for-entrepreneurs/\
- Miller, G. (May 2013). The new look teacher interview [web log comment]. Retrieved from https://gregmiller21stcenturyleadership.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/the-new-look-teacher-interview/.
- Moir, E. (2009). Accelerating Teacher Effectiveness: Lessons Learned from Two Decades of New Teacher Induction http://www.oregon.gov/ode/schools-and-districts/grants/mentoring/Documents/accelerating-teacher-effectiveness.pdf
- November, A. (June 2016). Interview questions for new teachers in 21st century school [web log comment]. Retrieved from http://novemberlearning.com/educational-resources-for-educators/teaching-and-learning-articles/interview-questions-for-new-teachers-in-21st-century-schools/.
- Stronge, J. H., & Hindman, J. L. (2003). Hiring the best teachers. Educational Leadership, 60(8), 48-52.
- Tucker, P., & Stronge, J. (2005). Linking teacher evaluation and student learning.Alexandria: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development. PDF.
I can relate to the 21st-century teacher. I used to think attending college in my 30s to embark on my 2nd career put me at a disadvantage. I am finding that it is just the opposite. I think my experience (age😁), and having completed my bachelor’s degree only 13 years ago, actually set me up to be a better educator today. I do have that age/experience that provides me with insight, and I also have the training to lead kids with technology integration.
I often find myself struggling to get through to students that I don’t really care IF you get the right answer, but rather they know HOW they got the answer right. I find myself explaining that there is a lot of black and white in learning but the grey areas are what I want kids to understand. It is very difficult to break the cycle of learning from worksheets that are right or wrong. I teach students to explain and debate – to critically think – about their learning. At the 5th grade level, often this is the first time they have been asked to think this way. Unfortunately, often it doesn’t pick back up again until around high school.
I have always been an overthinker, and I think it is helpful to me as an educator. Often, when we have discussions, what I ask of students doesn’t have a right or wrong answer, it is based on what they think. I can guide them to come to a conclusion based on their answers. This makes in-detail lesson plans and curriculum maps hard for me because so many components have to click together to really have a successful lesson. I know what I am doing but it would take days to explain how so many components across the curriculum come together. I think one driving question I would want to ask an interviewee would be how they organize their curriculum to teach all that needs to be taught in a day? More so than lesson planning, I would be looking for clues that they lead and guide students with content-rich plans that include many aspects throughout the day. I have had the option to departmentalize, but I truly need to teach the other subjects because I have students writing in science, reading about history in novels, critically thinking about math answers, and how we can apply that same thought process to our reading comprehension. I adapt and change often to meet student needs while still maintaining a level of organization in my classroom.
To key points are addressed in this article: resiliency and relevance. Both of these should be promoted in every classroom. Many teachers, especially at the secondary level, are experts in content and classroom management, but they expect students to come prepared and motivated to learn which is not always the case. At times teachers are hesitant to teach these skills either because they do not feel comfortable with the topic or they do not see it as a good use of time. As an administrator, hiring people that are willing to address the needs of the whole child, not just their subject, is critical in promoting a growth mindset in students and improving their adaptability.
I think this starts at the top, with the administration understanding, supporting, and promoting the 21st-century classroom. Teachers need the resources, including time, to build this type of model. The demands on teachers today, from large classes and funding to little planning time, make it difficult for them to embrace learning new techniques. They are tired and burnt out. Institutional strategic planning and goals should include collaboration, professional development opportunities, and increasing funding for technology. I believe our technology centers do a good job of using technology and adapting to the needs of students. They have smaller class sizes and students have an interest in the program they chose. I have seen many of our programs successfully utilize the “Four C’s” through group work, project-based learning, and problem-solving activities. I think our CareerTech system is a good example of the possibilities of 21st-century classrooms but many don’t realize it.
After teaching in a public school for many years, I recently moved to the technology center and went through many weeks of training for my new curriculum. During this training, I was introduced to teachers as facilitators of learning instead of direct instructors. In the tech center, this is much easier to accomplish because the students choose to be in our programs and we have smaller class sizes. I feel this is the ideal way to promote critical thinking and problem-solving in all students, but when I was in the public school teaching 33+ students an hour I don’t think it would have been feasible.
Many teachers simply do not have the training they need to use technology effectively. If you look at all the changes over the last ten years in the use of technology and how Covid accelerated the need for technology-it’s been difficult to keep up. Add to this the unequal access that students have to the internet and other technological devices things are further complicated. We need to equal the playing field in these matters. More training and collaboration opportunities would be a good start. Teachers, old and new, need to be open to learning and new ideas and methods. Hiring people with this mindset would be critical.
I work in Career Tech and we have been seeing this topic of teaching 21st century learners for about ten years. I have researched this topic myself extensively but I have yet to find examples of how to accomplish this. I believe for this movement to be successful, we are going to have to lead by example and work collaboratively with common education to build curriculum and ideas that supports the model. Adult students who have recently graduated from common education still come to our programs without the knowledge to solve simple problems or the ability to work together as a team.
We have all seen schools shift from very controlled environments for information delivery to complex systems meant for problem solving. Much of the information students need is still the same but methods have changed drastically with technology. Students today need the ability to learn in and out of the classroom environment. There are many advantages for students having the ability to learn anywhere, but these advantages are neutralized if student learning needs are not met in one environment or another. Teachers must have the ability to reach students where they are and adjust accordingly. Unlike in the past where teachers could count on seeing there students 180 days a year and delivering content in a cookie cutter matter. Teachers in the future must be more flexible with student needs.
21st-century teachers need to be more forward-thinking. Industry standards have changed and companies are looking for innovative employees. If education remains stuck our students won’t be able to keep up with modern-day expectations of the workforce. I think the 21st-century interview questions will help an organization weed out the teachers who aren’t able to modernize education. These questions merge their personal skills and innovation with the needs of today’s students.
Teachers should also instruct students in how to be self reflective. Viewing “students as creators” and the notion of equipping them with a “growth mindset” are built on the foundational idea that students know something about themselves. While this could be an extension of critical analysis, it’s a slightly different skill. Giving students the keys to understanding themselves, or at least to be knowledgeable about their own learning styles, personality, ways for processing emotions and stress are more than just momentarily beneficial. For what good is it to teach them all about the world, but nothing about themselves?
I like the ideas this post brings to the table when you start thinking about interviewing the right person for the job. I found this quote interesting, “If students are to compete in this evolving global society, they must be adaptable and versatile. They must be proficient in the “Four Cs:” Creativity, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Collaboration. Successful teachers must be able to effectively facilitate those growth areas.” This reigns so true. We expect students to adapt to the environments they are learning in and challenge their thinking, but it is the teacher who must foster this sense of community and environment. It has to be their teachers that challenge the students to try something new or dig deeper in their own learning. The 21st-century interview questions I think challenge that idea and will help school administrators find a teacher who is willing to reach outside their own comfort zone and evolve their students thinking and skillsets.
Today’s teachers must be flexible, empathetic, and open to learning and growing. I like the interview question “How do you manage your own ongoing learning opportunities?” It is crucial for teachers to set personal and professional goals, self-reflect, be open to constructive criticism, and always be looking for ways to improve. I believe in effective PD in which teachers discuss what they’ve learned and implement it in their classrooms. Admin must follow-up in PLC meetings re: PD topics to make it meaningful.
Teachers must be passionate about delivering differentiated instruction and preparing their students for upcoming school years and future careers. They need to understand their students’ needs and modify lessons accordingly.
Taking applicants on a tour of the school is helpful in seeing how they interact with teachers and staff and to generate more questions. It’s important during an interview to be an active listener, to ask follow-up questions, and to take good notes.
I like how the 21st century interview questions are more detailed and focus on empowering students and teachers.
Being probably the oldest student in this class I enjoyed the article for it makes me aware that the time period I grew up in is not the time period I teach in. One of the things I am aware of is that my educational values when I was in primary and secondary school are nothing like the values children have today. So in that respect, I feel like this paper helps remind me of the proper way to conduct an interview in today’s world. In an interview, the importance of wording your questions properly is essential to finding out as much as possible about the applicant. I remember about four years back I was applying for a position at a 6A school here in Oklahoma and I could tell the people performing the interview were nervous about my age. So in order to test the waters a bit, the principal asked me, “How are you going to be able to relate to these kids?” I instinctively realized the question was not how was I going to relate to my future students but how does someone my age manage to relate to today’s classroom. I came away from this interview knowing that the question was framed around my age and I felt discriminated by the principal’s question. I look back on this experience and realize the importance of how questions are asked. A better question would have been, can you tell me about some of the things you like to do in the classroom to support your teachings? Then take this information and see if the teaching style meets your schools’ goals. The proper way to frame a question is a key to learning about a teacher during the interview process. I like the thought of having a conversation with the prospect and giving them the time to tell about themselves.
I have recently started interviewing for another job in the field of education and it amazes me because the interview questions seem to be more geared towards the traditional interview questions. Since I have mostly worked in a small school district, I honestly don’t think I would be prepared to answer some of the 21st century interview questions due to lack of experience in some of those fields.
I really like the list of 21st-century interview questions. I can definitely relate to being interviewed with the traditional list back in the day, but recognize the need and benefits from the current shifts in our schools. The reality is our students and their needs are also changing. With that, the teachers in their classrooms and the schools housing those classrooms also need to adapt to fit the needs of their students. This shift in the way we think about hiring teachers and what kind of teachers we are looking for will assist in this. I also think it is so important to include other members of the hiring grade level or team in the interview process. Teachers have valuable input and can assist in finding a good fit for their team.
I really love these 21st century interview question ideas. Especially compared side-by-side with the more traditional questions it is easy to see how these really dig deeper and could help a school leader better understand the candidates they are assessing and what each individual brings to the table. One question that stood out to me was “In what ways will you challenge your colleagues’ and the principal’s thinking?” This is a really powerful question that can potentially help you understand a lot about how a person will fit within the school. It also tells the person being interviewed that the school is not looking for someone to just show up, do what they are told, and then go home, but that the school wants someone who will help push the site and its students and staff forward. After all, for schools to improve and develop the 21st century skills needed for success they must have diverse perspectives to recognize areas of improvement and challenge norms.
To be an educator, you must develop a growth mindset in your students and help them develop and learn new things by themselves. Provide the guidance but allow them to find the answers to their own questions. Allow their curiosity to guide their own steps. A good educator does not provide the answer. He helps the student to develop their intelligences by understanding the student strength and weaknesses. He should be able to inspire the student to be the best that he could allow them to empower themselves. He must know the new trends in education and be able to apply them in a classroom. H
As the world continues to change in different areas, so does education. Teachers are asked to move away from just assigning work and making sure their students turn into good people. Teachers in the 21st century are now looking to challenge students to learn at a higher level. Students are starting to ask they question,” Why?” about everything they hear in the classroom. I believe that this curiosity that is growing in students today can be used by teachers. Students need to be molded into problem solvers and by using the word” why” all the time students can push themselves to find more answers.
When it comes to hiring teachers, a strong administrator is going to be looking for those who can cultivate this type of growth mindset. Some may think that younger teachers do a better job of this because they have been taught in their own schooling how to produce this type of learning. However, I believe that the best teachers have experience of being in the classroom but have also learned over time how to adapt to this new style of teaching. Those who are willing to learn how to be a better teacher are the ones you want to hire. I feel that I can always find a way to become a better educator. Professional development can be a great tool when transforming teachers to be 21st century educators.
One thing that stood out to me was collaboration. I agree that it is essential for students to learn to collaborate with others, but it is also very important to hire teachers that are committed to collaboration. In interviews at my school, we ask several questions including what the candidate views as their role in a PLC, how they would handle differing ideas within their PLC, and how collaboration among teachers benefits student achievement. I also agree that a growth mindset and helping students develop perseverance and resilience is important. I think we’ve seen this year that all students have grown in these areas.
In the second paragraph the authors write, “…long before the interview process occurs, school leaders must know precisely what to look for in a teacher…” I’m discovering the truth in this statement more every day. With a better understanding of what is needed from a new hire and the type of employee that would ‘fit’ within the instructional program at your school, the better you can assess the answers and discussion in an interview. Similar to a grading rubric, you must know what you are looking for. Building leaders should be looking for someone who is prepared and willing to lead students into an unforeseeable future. As mentioned in the article, students are no longer coming to the teacher for information. We are all consuming information all day long. Teachers must empower students to navigate through the abundance of data they constantly are bombarded with or even to ignore it out at times.
I like several of the interview questions. I think it is important to listen beyond their words, however. Some applicants can beautifully articulate all the right and currently appropriate answers, but not be able to create anything remotely resembling that in their classroom. Other applicants may not be up on all the current terminology, yet put the principles into practice daily in their classroom. I was involved in hiring process of a teacher recently. Of the four interviews, this one was clearly the shining star. The applicant knew all the latest terms and trends, asked all the right questions of us to show awareness of trends that we had not mentioned, yet…something did not sit right with me. Another applicant was a bit more hesitant, a great deal more nervous, lacked the plethora of current jargon, yet…something about that interview clicked with me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t articulate it. I didn’t have the words for what I was sensing. We went with what appeared to be the shining star. My experiences since have given me some words to articulate what I was sensing. Some stars have are gold-plated. They look beautiful on the outside, but when the job begins to bring wear and tear, that outer layer quickly fades revealing what is underneath. Other stars seem a bit duller, but the wear and tear only serves to polish them and cause their shine to brighten with time. Now, I wish we could come up with the question that reveals that!
Kimberly, Your post hits it for me. Sometimes when we are caught up in the process we focus on what we see and hear. As you pointed out the first applicant could verbalize their thoughts and can appear to be the “shining star” as you put it. But, can they be successful in the environment in which they are expected to facilitate learning? In my experience I have witnessed teachers with high credentials, come into a learning environment that they are not familiar with. They may have come from a larger school system and are not familiar with the “local” way of small communities. Sure, they have high credentials, can say what is needed in the interview process but they do not fit in well with this type of learning environment. For some reason, I not only like to look at a person’s actions, the way they present themselves, and the way they speak. But I also listen to my inner thoughts. In your situation, you mention this and that you didn’t know how to articulate your thoughts. I think some of these things can become clearer if we just sit and talk with the person for a bit. Let them tell us about themselves. Where they grew up, the educational environment they grew up in, small town, rural, big city? As we learn more about “the person they are” we learn more than the application could ever tell us.
Wow, reading the 21st Century interview questions is especially poignant in the distance learning model that most schools find themselves in during the covid-19 crisis.
Right now teachers aren’t managing classrooms rather than helping students to manage their own learning. These are different skills and obviously students managing their own learning is also a lifelong skill.
Our school recently wrote a belief statement. I know part of our new interviews includes sharing that with potential hires and having them share how they fit into that framework. It is basically an invitation into our culture.
I agree that the 21st Century questions are poignant as it shifts both the classroom mindset and expectations during this pandemic. While many of us in the classroom weren’t asked these specific questions when we were hired, many of us are up to the challenge of adjusting how we school. Personally, I believe I have worked at shifting the responsibility of learning to my students. It’s going to be interesting to see how education evolves and welcomes this forced changed.
This article is great in giving the perspective on how teachers are changing in response to the need for 21st Century learners. To accomplish this we must provide teachers with the training to change. We cannot teach them one way in teacher preparation programs and then expect them to go out and teach in a completely different manner. As teachers we cannot expect our students to know how to do something that they have not been taught and as leaders we cannot expect a teacher to teach in a student centered classroom if they have not been taught this way as well as given the resources to teach this way. It is imperative that if we are going to reform how we teach, that we also reform how we prepare teachers. I have always done my best to have a student centered classroom but it was not until a couple of years ago when my district gave us the resources and professional development on what this looks like and how to achieve this that I finally feel comfortable and will never go back to teacher centered.
The interview questions are relevant and great questions, but again, if we as leaders do not prepare our teachers in this manner they will not be able teach in this manner. We cannot expect teachers to just go out on their own and find this information. We need teach them how to be a 21st Century teacher.
As leaders we must help our teachers to understand how to teach the 21st century student. The learning has changed from teacher to student centered. It can be hard to give the control to the students in the classroom because some teachers may not have the knowledge or resources to know how to do this. It is imperative to give teachers professional development on how to do a student centered classroom.
I think the interview questions are more relevant and more directive. The traditional questions are open ended and you can get a range of answers. Where the 21st century questions are more specific. There will be a specific answer to these questions and it’s narrow compared to the broad traditional question.
“They must be proficient in the “Four Cs:” Creativity, Communication, Critical Thinking and Collaboration. Successful teachers must be able to effectively facilitate those growth areas.” This statement is critical. As educators, we are not building robots who will mindlessly do what we tell them to do. Look at how we are communicating now. We are all virtual to do circumstances beyond our control, and we are doing it extremely well because we are able to adapt and overcome. Our creativity is allowing us to continue doing what we love to do: educate young people. Our critical thinking has helped us figure out answers to the problems we are facing. Collaboration and communication keep us connected to our coworkers and students all in the name of education. This is what educators of the 21st century should be doing. Innovation is the name of the game we should be playing on a daily basis.
The shift in questions is excellent. As the generations change, so must our thinking to what a classroom/classroom teacher looks like. Are we hiring teachers who are willing to bend (but not break) in order to accommodate all student learning? I think that having teachers go through an impromptu lesson plan should be part of the interview process. I remember doing that during my interview with Union. Give the prospective hire a little time to come up with a sample lesson during the interview process, or have it as part of the application process so it could be referred to during the interview.
I agree Chanda! I love the change in questions for as our culture and learning environment changes, educators need to be adaptive to those changes. I am a huge fan of creativity in the classroom. Being an art instructor allows me to bring out, not only my creativity in teaching but my student’s creativity. I challenge them to be open-minded, to have different experiences, and to think of things critically. I love the idea of an impromptu lesson plan as part of the interview process. As educators, we have to be willing to adapt to situations that are not traditional. Katy Horton, above entry, made note of this as being a part of her interview process in St. Louis. For me, this shows how an applicant can spontaneously adjust to the environment at a moment’s notice.
When we think about today’s teachers and the qualities we look for when interviewing, we should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. A brand-new teacher may be philosophically aligned, but lack the practical knowledge to implement. This is fine; we can provide training, mentors, and experience that will help her build these skills.
At the same time, an experienced educator may have skills to run a classroom, but not have any idea what a PLN is or had the freedom to implement student-centered learning. Again, this is fine; we can provide training, mentors, and the experience if the teacher is willing to learn something new.
School leaders are already cautious when it comes to brand-new teachers, but we also need to be careful not to undervalue an experienced teacher who may not know how to implement in these ways—yet, but has a growth mindset.
This may be another question to implement, no matter the experience of the teacher: How do you respond when you encounter new learning? Another way to approach this might be to ask for examples of how the candidate works towards a growth-mindset in his or her own life as a learner.
I agree with your thoughts about hiring brand new teachers. I know I probably did not give the best answers at my very first interview, but thank God they gave me a chance to prove that I could become a great teacher. I was also extremely fortunate to have a great mentor who helped me become an effective teacher. If you have several candidates for the same position, I think the 21st century interview questions can be really good for deciding between two highly qualified applicants. As interviewers, we need to make sure that we are not solely relying on these questions to decide who would be best for the position. We need to think about who would be the best fit for our district’s mission, goals, and culture. I like your insight on growth mindset. When we interview, we need to make sure the applicant has a growth mindset whether they are a brand new teacher or an experienced teacher. The applicant’s willingness to collaborate, adjust, and strive to be a better teacher is key to a good fit.
I agree, Julie. Not all applicants are seasoned educators. As Sean mentioned in a earlier comment, the pool is not as deep as it once used to be. Therefore, it is important to have interview questions that both seasoned and novice can answer.
I also agree that having a growth mindset is one of the most important qualities to look for in an applicant. One of the interview questions we ask currently is around them sharing a time of critical feedback and how they grew from it. It is interesting with those who truly have a growth mindset can usually answer this question fairly quickly. If it is harder to answer, then maybe you haven’t had many opportunities to grow lately.
I agree, Julie. Hiring a new members to your building is so much more than just having an aligned philosophy. We must provide opportunities for new teachers to grow through experiences and skills. Not only are new members of our building expected to “fit in” and “grow” but veteran members of our building should be held to the same standard.
I think the question you presented, “How do you respond when you encounter new learning?”, is a perfect question to ask all teachers. Are we willing to step out of our comfort zone to make sure students and teachers are learning new things? Overall, teachers should be life-long learners and be willing to help those around them achieve the same goal.
I must say, I appreciate the shift in the traditional interview questions. They really stop and make you think deeply about your educational philosophies and practices. I personally would love to see more added to the interview process. While it is more time consuming, I would love to see a portfolio from the candidate of student work, lesson plans, and sample lessons. Additionally, so much can be gained from actually seeing a candidate teach. When I interviewed for teaching positions in St. Louis, I was expected to give a sample lesson to either a small group, or a full class. I would rather see the interview process shift in that direction, but as Sean said, applicants for teaching positions in Oklahoma are not at an all time high.
I agree I am enjoying the shift to more creative thinking interview questions, more focused on the process and less on traditional views of students as consumers. We are supposed to teach our students from critical thinking and reflective thinking perspectives; thus, when interviewing teachers we should also expect them to think this way when being interviewed and answering questions about their teaching processes.
I agree with your comment about interview questions. Thinking deeply about students’ needs in the future is a requirement. Planning and guiding new teachers in this direction is critical. We start with building a growth mindset in elementary school. I also think this is an important skill for both students and teachers. I see this type of thinking in the modern questions for interviews.
I really appreciate this article as it identifies the needs of our students in a light that many educators are not ready to address. I completely agree that our students today are going to be asked to perform tasks and seek careers that are not in existent yet. Traditional forms of education still have several advantages for students, but relying solely on tradition and ignoring innovative strategies that help students to be more independent learners and less teacher dependent will not prepare them for THEIR future. I love where the article mentioned, “teachers must be Understanding of the societal shift from “students as consumers” to “students as creators.” In our ever changing world, it is clear to see a driving force of creativity. Engaging this concept in the classroom will help develop students’ thinking into being creative thinkers rather than dependent thinkers.
I also want to comment on the interview questions. I really appreciate these because they reach beyond the surface of the educator’s experience and beliefs. The questions ask the interview participant to really discuss how they will move students into readiness for the future that they will be living in.
I absolutely agree with your comment about the interview questions helping the principal understand an applicant’s drive to prepare students for an ever changing society. I have never had questions like these asked in an interview, but in the future I certainly hope to intentionally incorporate these types of questions where appropriate as I interview potential staff members.
One concern in the current educational climate is actually the availability of people to interview. I have seen numerous positions since the peak of the recent education funding crisis in Oklahoma 2-3 years ago that have gone unfilled. Another large number of schools had such a small number of applicants for open teaching positions that they had to hire the best applicant they had regardless of whether they were the best fit for the school culture.
I agree Amy. I liked how the article identifies that there are still solid practices taking place in schools, but also recognizes the shift that must take place. I also enjoyed the list of interview questions. My district has a set of interview questions that all candidates are asked, and I would like to propose some of these questions as replacements/additions.
I must say that I am enjoying the 21st century education and teachers that are joining the movement “Not business as usual” but yet excited about a new innovative way of reaching the 21st century learner. It is important that we find ways to reach the students of the 21st century student. to do this I feel that the old way of teaching has passed and all things are new. It is important that teachers are allowing students to be self motivated,self paced and independent thinkers to say the least.For this mind shift to happen among our students it must first show through our educators.The qualifications that were noted in this blog are right on point. An educator must first be committed and understanding of the needs of the student. Knowing that it may be more than just educational needs. Innovative and a forward thinker, this mind set will show students that everyone has to adjust to societal changes. I like the interview questions for the 21st century educator interview. I feel that they are very thoughtful and would produce good fruitful answers from a committed future educator.
I agree that students need to be self-motivated. I feel like efforts in that regard must change as well. I believe that if students are to feel self-motivated in the 21st century, where curriculum asks for critical thinking skills and creativity, it is necessary to foster ownership in work. When students feel like they are pouring themselves into their assignment, when they get to put their stamp on learning, it becomes something they are doing for themselves instead of something they are doing for a grade, parents, teachers, etc. I truly feel like this is the trajectory that education is heading towards, and I feel that this is an exciting time to be a teacher!
I agree that hiring the right teachers is crucial for setting students up for success, however we must train all our teachers appropriately as well. Just as our expectations are shifting in regards of teachers, we must first ensure that academia shifts as well for all educators not just new hires. We has leaders can not assume that new educators will fit the 21st century expectations better than a seasoned teacher or vice versa. We has leaders have to have a growth mindset if we truly want our staff to be successful, we are the role model.
I did find the shift in questions very enlightening. I had the opportunity last week to sit on interviews for our District’s Teacher of the Year, during which I realized that the questions we ask do not truly ask what we need for a 21st century Teacher of the Year. Thankfully, we were able to ask followup questions which was beneficial. I brought this up to the committee and all agreed we need to update our questions. As it was mentioned in a previous comment, it is not always how well someone can answer questions in an interview. During the Teacher of the Year interviews, we had several phenomenal interviews yet their written application showed other wise. This is why it is important that we has leaders take the time to invest in our teachers both new and seasoned to ensure they are always prepared to teach in this ever changing educational world.
This article gave good insight into the changing landscape of education. It is not only changing for students, but for teachers as well. Having staff that are a good fit for the vision and goals of the school is very important. I have had the privilege to be teaching in a school that has family at heart. We treat each other as family and that translates to our relationships with our students. The difficulty that I see is teachers that are not willing or able to adapt to the ever changing ways that students learn. This isn’t the school system that I learned in. Being able to adapt and to learn and try new things is essential to the success of the 21st century child.
“They must be proficient in the “Four Cs:” Creativity, Communication, Critical Thinking and Collaboration. Successful teachers must be able to effectively facilitate those growth areas.” This quote caused me to ponder. I work with teachers daily. I work with administrators daily. So many of the problems we are faced with in education can be covered by one of those four Cs. I think there is a huge mindset shift happening in education, and administrators are having a hard time keeping up. These are definitely key points I will think on when hiring teachers. These are points I plan to use when I talk with teachers in professional development settings. Keeping these on the forefront of our minds make us better teachers and better learners.
This article is especially intriguing to me as I am currently sitting in on several interviews for the next school year. I love how these questions have been rephrased and plan to use some of them in the remaining interviews I help conduct.
I think today’s teachers need to be prepared to teach the “whole child”. Too many times have I heard teachers say, “that they just want to ‘teach’ (academics)” and they do not seem to care about the rest (social-emotional and/or conflict resolution/problem solving) . I think we are at a point in our society when “just teaching academics” is no longer an option. Teachers are present to guide, instruct, and nurture in every way possible. This is something I would add to the above list of questions – How do you teach to the whole-child?
I am also always interested to see how people are growing themselves professionally and love asking them to share what they are seeking out to help them grow. This type of question also speaks to a person’s motivation to grow on their own. A very interesting factor and something I look for sitting on the interview panels.
I thought this article really had some great points and gave me an interesting perspective on how not only education has changed in the decade since I was going through the interview process, but how the questions and focus on our present day interviews have had to shift to accommodate those changes. I recall being asked questions pertaining to classroom management styles, teaching philosophies, and grading policies. Now the focus is more on questions such as ” How do you support student lead discussions? How are you integrating technology effectively in your classroom? How will you know that a student has successfully mastered a standard (other than a standardized test)?
Today’s teacher needs to be willing to constantly reassess effective methods for assessment. My district is moving in the direction of standards based grading in some areas and this would require today’s teachers to really think about what mastery looks like. Today’s teachers have to themselves have a growth mindset, and have to not be afraid of constant trial and error. They also have to be okay with student lead discussions and learning- moving away from the primary role of the deliver of information. There are a lot of great points to take away from this article.
I think teaching in the 21st century will be all about the 4 Cs, just not in Oklahoma. I agree with Megan on the issues in teaching in our state. For example making teaching more desirable with better pay, smaller classes, and it is very important to have certified teachers teaching our students. I read where teachers were the single most important process of learning. Feel that is very true.
Again, I feel a little bit at a disadvantage here when it comes to having an actual interview experience. However, I have been lucky enough to go through the NCAA recruiting process twice, and therefore have discovered what it is like to be sure that I, myself, am going to fit in a program that I may be attending school at. This is something that I feel I will be able to take with me into the administrative field because I am able to understand how to ask, and how to answer the questions that require more thought or more detail. It is essential to be sure and hire, or recruit the right person to your team or job, and in order to do that, you have to get to know them. When I transferred to OSU, I had to sell myself to our coaching staff that I would fit into this program, that meant understanding my employer and making sure that I knew what they were looking for in me. It is essential to think about that as one goes through an interview process, as it is important to get to know who you are potentially hiring to fit within your organization.
As an administrator, I enjoyed the section on successful teachers qualities for the 21st century. One particular part said that we are experiencing a, “shift from “students as consumers” to “students as creators.” This is a true and powerful statement for understanding the ‘product’ we as educators are expected to create in our short time with students; it is much different from that of a century ago. The qualities of both the teachers and the students must change to meet the changing expectations of the job market as we become producers and consumers of knowledge rather than products.
The section in the blog covering successful teachers qualities for the 21st century mentioned how students must be adaptable and versatile, I believe that is true of the teachers and administrators as well. The teacher needs to be open to change, new ideas, and be on the lookout for their own improvement which sets the model for the students. An attitude of ‘want to’ instead of ‘have to’ will also grow both the teacher and the student. One of my favorite things about teaching is when I learn from my students. Their fresh perspective can open up so many opportunities for all of us, but we have to be openminded ourselves.
During the hiring process, it is important to listen for student-centered and collaboration with one’s peers type answers and comments on the part of the teacher candidate. Other interview questions for the 21st century need to go beyond the classroom; teacher-student relationship by bringing in family engagement and community involvement. These two factors used to be more on the shoulders of the administration whereas this role has shifted to the teachers as well.
Working at a new school site, I have had the opportunity to sit in on a great number of interviews. Meeting applicants and hearing different types responses, I have learned a lot about about interviewing, as well as strategically and thoughtfully filling positions. Seeing the shift from the traditional interview questions to the 21st Century interview questions was very thought-provoking. I was pleased to see several questions similar to what we have used in interviews but also found some great new possibilities. One thing that I noticed looking at the two columns is that the traditional questions seemed to lean more toward establishing compliance in the learning environment, where the 21st century questions leaned more toward establishing an environment that promotes the 4 C’s – creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. This shift really does require a growth mindset on the part of the teacher and a desire to foster growth mindset in students.
This article was very good, I enjoyed reading it and it has some really good points! The 4 C’s are a traits that I think any one working in a school should have and be held accounatble for nut unfortunatly in Oklahoma and with the teacher shortage adaministrartors are sticking who ever they can in a classroom, which sounds terrible. Now I cannot speak for any other school but I have seen this happen at schools around my district for the past couple years, and this is not helping our students become prepared in the best way possible! We as tecahers have to be willing to be on top of our game and grow as educators everyday in order to allow our students to grow into 21st century adults
This article was very insightful about the interviewing process. I think that it is important to ask quality questions when interviewing to make sure you hire the right candidate. I agree that it is important to hire teachers that show traits of the 4 Cs. Successful teachers need to possess creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration skills. They also need to be willing to grow in these areas as they progress through their career in education.
The article points out how educating our students has changed dramatically over the years. Some students today can’t sit in a desk all day long and need accommodations such as flexible seating. In interviewing potential teachers, I’d ask teachers their strategies to encourage collaboration and discussion among students and give them a scenario and listen to their response to see if they guide the students in how to workout a misunderstanding and let them students problem solve; or if the teacher tells the student what to say/do.
I really prefer the 21st century interview questions over the traditional questions because they are more direct and help administrators view what kind of teacher they are interviewing. As technology is evolving, teachers should be adapting and thriving with more resources and positive about learning new sources that are used to enhance learning. Asking a potential employee “how do you prepare students to be successful in careers that currently do not exist?” makes the teacher have to think “what makes my students set apart from their peers” and how do teachers help create that child to thrive in that way? All schools should be using the 21st century interview questions because the questions are designed to understanding how teachers DO NOT enable their students by doing/telling them things, but encourages asking questions and “what ifs”. This helps evolve creative thinkers, wonderers, and problem solvers/designers.
The article addresses some outstanding points about 21st Century teaching and learning. I think that it is important for teachers and administrators to have a growth mindset about how education is rapidly changing. Administrators need to ensure that the teachers they are hiring are a good fit for the school and learners. I think it would be beneficial for the administrator to share the school vision/culture with the applicant, or have the applicant express their ideas about their vision/school culture to get an understanding on how they would fit in the school. I especially liked reading the comparison of the past and present interview questions…and it really got me thinking about if/how I am doing those things now. Some other questions I might add is “Is it important to build relationships with your students? Why? How? What will you do to help struggling learners be successful?
While I agree that today’s teachers must be masters in multiple facets, I don’t think that this is a realistic expectation, especially in the state of Oklahoma. We have to first focus on making the teaching profession more desired. We have more emergency certifications than anywhere else. This means that we literally have people teaching that have never taken an education course in their lives. We have to solve the current problems: funding public schools, raising teacher pay,trusting teachers to do their jobs, and lowering class sizes. We cannot expect our children to be successful if they do not have well-educated, properly trained teachers who feel valued in their profession.
Today’s teachers should be able to conduct a classroom learning environment that forces students to talk through strategies and problem solve. I think the questions above were very familiar to what I have experienced in interviews. Additional helpful questions I have seen asked include: “How do you deal with challenges or conflicts?” ” How do you challenge students (at all levels)?” ” How do you build relationships with students and families?”.
I think that teachers should be included in the hiring process because it lets the incoming teacher know that the staff is a team and that they have valued ideas. It also lets the potential new teacher get to ask questions from possible peers instead of from the administrators perspective.
Social-Emotional education is no longer an option in public education. Teachers need to teach the whole child and that is an acquired skill. This article addresses modernizing teachers and the education field’s processes to hire professional teachers that are able to see the big picture of teaching in the 21st century.
What are your ideas about what today’s teacher should be and do?
How can the hiring process be improved?
How can the above interview questions be improved? What interview questions should be added?
Teachers should be able to identify with current trends in schools and the future these trends might have on the students. They should be touch with present policies and how these policies mold the students in their schools and surrounding schools. Most importantly, the teacher should be one to not be afraid to try new things, as new innovations are occurring every day. We need to stay up with the trend or students will get left behind.
Interviewing processes are indeed rushed due to deadlines or certain positions having almost no applicants and are therefore literally “filling a hole” to check mark off. This practice needs to be enhanced, and to me it should not be in the form of basic question or the typical interview scenario. Everyone is different and everyone offers different things. Typically, the teachers at your site have better connections when it comes to great teachers. Have these teachers reach out to recruit for the school as networking is becoming every apparent.
The interview questions listed are great, however, I would add these questions: How do you handle stress in your classroom? What will you do to ensure our students are ready for success after high school? I think adding these questions would help the committee better understand where the candidate goals are headed.
Your additional questions are helpful. I would add what is your idea of successful after high school? College? Or other skill base?
Yes those questions would also be great to ask!
What are your ideas about what today’s teacher should be and do?
Today’s teacher should be flexible, innovative, and patient. Teachers who are flexible can roll with the flow of constant changes to curriculum, state objectives and learning goals for students, and daily interruptions that can disrupt the classroom mood and behavior. Teachers need to be innovative and try new things. The world is rapidly changing and they need to stay current with technology, teaching strategies, and project-based learning. Finally, teachers need to be patient. Students are being asked to do far more in school that when current teachers were children. Often times, we put too much on these young students and we need to give them time to digest the material and them show their understanding of it.
How can the hiring process be improved?
Often times, your own teachers are some of the best recruiters. It is not uncommon that teachers have usually taught at another school or know of a friend/colleague who would be an excellent candidate to join your team. Call upon them to recommend candidates.
How can the above interview questions be improved? What interview questions should be added?
I think the questions about are great. I am going to borrow them for our interview committee. Many of the questions, I asked a candidate in an interview today were on the left side of the chart. We need to be asking the questions on the right side of the chart.
One interview question that my school has recently been adding to our interview bank of questions is, Think about your most challenging student. What three words would that student use to describe you? Explain.
I think society asks way too much of teachers for what they are paid. With the teacher walk-out this week, I know parents have been showing their appreciation and frustrations. One of the things that was mentioned was the ability to change with society. Unfortunately, education has not been including teachers in its societal changes; therefore, teachers have to do more outside of work in order to keep up and be able to engage their students. Time always seems to be the enemy.
I feel like today’s teachers need to fall away from old ideas regarding students’ innate capacity for achievement. I think today’s hiring process can be improved by finding those teachers who have adopted that sort of “Mindset” model that Carol Dweck talks about in her Mindset book. As an administrator hiring teachers for any position in the building, I would want to know and find out by virtue of asking questions about whether a teacher believes a student has the ability to expand their own capacity to learn and adapt. I would ask what a teacher does when a student “fails” an assignment or an exam. What measures would they take to find out the problem and find a solution. Does this candidate feel like some students cannot adapt and overcome? Do they feel that some students are just born with a low ceiling and cannot ever pass beyond that ceiling. As administrators, we have to help teachers understand the ability of human beings to grow and build from whatever level they are on, and help those teachers understand their role in building from wherever that student is at academically.
I have been a part of the hiring process for about half a dozen teachers in the past three years. One of the major flaws of the system is that we are not allowed to ask follow up questions or to vary the questions in any way. Therefore, we end up with the same answers from every candidate. We are not able to get a good feel for the true strengths and weaknesses of the individual. I would much rather engage in a dialogue and listen to more true and honest responses. It is in the follow up questions that the interviewee tends to become more honest and open. Also, the majority of questions my committee asked were more classroom management questions. It was almost impossible to accurately judge subject area expertise; ironically, it is much easier to teach classroom management then subject area expertise. Overall, I look forward to using these questions in upcoming interviews to better ascertain an individual’s fit for our school, and I hope to be able to create reform in the process for interviewing applicants.
1. What are your ideas about what today’s teacher should be and do?
I think today’s teacher should be flexible and innovative with the delivery of the content information through PBLs (problem-based learning). Teachers should engage tomorrow’s leaders today.
2. How can the hiring process be improved?
I think the hiring process would benefit with 21st century related questions that illicit a comprehensive response rather than a close-ended answer. I feel the hiring process needs stakeholders throughout the organization like teachers, support, & Administration.
3. How can the above interview questions be improved? What interview questions should be added?
I would like to add the question, “How would you engage your students and keep them on-task?”
As it happens, I am attempting to hire two new instructors for next year. We have an online form for candidates to fill out, along with a questionnaire. A couple of my questions were in tandem with the ones in this article – and I think I will change one or two of the others! Great questions and spot on for what I am looking for in a successful candidate! The hardest part is not knowing what you want – but finding it. Pickings are slim right now in Oklahoma and I am attempting to grow a small Academy…it’s challenging to say the least! One goal I have is to hire new team members, then unify our team and get us all pointed in the same direction. Lots of encouragement, education, patience and commitment required! As far as larger public schools, I had the most interesting experience in my last school…the majority of the teachers would just tell you they were NOT going to change the way they were teaching. This stemmed from a deeper issue – these teachers were not experiencing the digital age in the same context as their urban-teacher peers. The teachers at my school had rural households and received spotty Internet (at home). They didn’t use it! Convincing them that it was important for their students was – well, they couldn’t relate to what I was saying. It is going to take a lot of education and commitment to get buy-in from many teachers and administrators!
In John Hattie’s metadata analysis he found that teacher expectations have the most powerful impact on student performance. This would support the idea that teachers are the single most important component of a student’s educational success. When cast in that light, the responsibility an administrator has to select a great teacher is immensely important and critical to the overall success of the building. As an administrator that means that I need to have a clear understanding of my individual teachers’ and grade level/teams’ strengths and weaknesses in order to know which applicant would be the best fit. These strengths and weaknesses need to be taken into consideration when developing insterview questions so the committee can get a feel for how the applicant will fit into the existing group.
I have had the opportunity, through the Global Leadership Summit, to hear Angela Duckworth speak. Quite an inspiration. I loved going through her book and it became the focus for our student character segments on our inhouse morning television show.
Another author that closely aligns with and complements “Grit” is Carol Dweck’s book, “Mindset”. Two years ago this was the PLC led by my former Head Principal Rob Miller.
Both books create a primer for the tenacity and endurance that all must hone to accomplish our goals.
To start I believe that teachers are the most important part of the learning process and therefore hiring the ‘right’ teacher is a crucial task. Seeking a growth mindset with strong adaptive and progressive skills is crucial for 21st century schools. A key point that stands out is in the interview questions. The dichotomy between ‘how do you manage your classroom’ verse ‘how do your students manage their own learning goals’ is huge in developing a student who will be successful in careers that do not even exist today. The hiring process needs to be a high priority for administrators who seek long term success for their schools and students.
The idea of preparing students for jobs that do not yet exist is one that I was first introduced to almost a decade ago. At the time my thought was, “that’s an interesting take on technological evolution.” In reality that is where we are headed. As things develop, evolve, and shift in technology and communication, we as educators must take into account how we can change our practices to reflect these growing trends and generated academic enthusiasm among our student population. Education leaders must actively pursue individuals who are passionate about this trend.
The shift from ‘students as consumers’ to ‘students as creators’ is very exciting. This is the type of school I would like to lead. Imagine a school that was project based! How could I hire teachers that support that culture? The 21st century questions provided are a great start! I’d like to take it a step further. Did you know Lego headquarters, in Denmark, has a 5 week interview process? Candidates are put through individual challenges and team building exercises and a host of other things as the field is narrowed until they find the candidate that is the best fit. I don’t know how that would be feasible in a school setting, but I like the idea of the process taking longer than an hour.
One question I would ask; list in order of importance: Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Critical Thinking. They are all important and necessary, but it would reveal what the applicant values most.
The Four C’s: Creativity, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Collaboration, are extremely important as 21st century educators. Learning organizations have evolved, and continue to evolve daily. Therefore, building a team of teachers, who are also learners, will help the overall school community adapt with the ever-changing educational challenges. It is important that when hiring someone you look at the characteristics of the Four C’s, and ask them about times they have used these in their their classroom/school. I personally think that while interview questions are adapting, we will soon move towards video submissions as part of interviews. Not necessarily FaceTime — because this already is relevant in the interview world, but more of submissions of class lessons to the potential employer. I mean, TLE’s have already moved toward this in my district, why not part of the interview process?
I feel that asking, “How will you motivate students?” should be a required interview question. We all know students often come to school and are not fired up and ready to learn. Potential teachers’ responses will be a great way to determine if they are a good fit with the current faculty mentality.
Furthermore, I think adding the question “How will you motivate your staff?” needs to be asked of every administrative candidate. I would encourage them to be as specific as possible and to give examples of what they have previously done to “light the fire” for faculty members.
The interview question: “How do you prepare students to be successful in careers that currently do not exist?” keeps coming back to me over and over. I believe teachers have to teach students to be responsible for their own learning and critical thinking skills. Today’s teachers have to wear many hats to have successful students, but they have to create new learning environments that are first of all meaningful, engaging, require movement, and use technology when possible. Teachers also have to fit into their environments. Every school has a different population of students and what works in one place, may not work at all in another school. Rigidity will only cause frustration for everyone, but we must have a balance of learning, discipline, caring, etc., and we must allow students to fail to help them learn what true “grit” is, and how to keep climbing uphill to reach the goals, and then climb some more.
I have been asked that same question by people not in education. I reply to them basically the same as you said. Have to teach them to be flexible, have critical thinking skills, be resilient, and also show them you have to have the will to continue learning. This ideas are hard to teach but are easy to show. That is what some people to need realize, students learn best from a model or an example.
The next shift coming, I imagine, will be one away from technical proficiency with devices and apps and towards inter-personal skills, creativity, and problem solving. As mentioned in this blog and elsewhere, it is growing increasingly impossible to prepare students for their careers as many end up in occupations that don’t exist today. Rather than simply throwing out hands up and saying, “teaching is dead!” we can instead focus on skills that are needed in every occupation: listening, communication, problem solving, teamwork, etc.
To reach this end, teachers will become less and less “sage on the stage” and more of “guide on the side” where they help students develop these skills (albeit in specific content areas). This means they will be less like masters of content and more like coaches, helping to take students from where they are to where they can get them. In these classrooms, teacher-facilitators will be providing students increasing group and independent (as in, not teacher led) assessments and projects—it will be almost as if the teacher is a project manager seeing students create and develop products in response to challenges and problems.
The greatest challenge I have seen while working with hiring committees is finding ways to assess whether the teacher’s personal philosophy and cultural outlook will successfully match with that school and demographics served. Though a deep subject, this is one area worth improving in order to put the best fit candidates in the right positions—and thereby building their pertinent experience with the school and students.
To meet this end, I would add a questions that challenge candidates to explain their pedagogy. It isn’t important that they have a paradigm shattering perspective—rather, I want to see that this is something they think about and something deeper than “I want to help kids!” I need to see they have some sense of direction and self-assessment. I would also add a question addressing matters related to climate and culture. They may include things like, what is your ideal school culture, what are the most important elements of school culture, etc. This is to help assess their priorities and provide insights as to whether their perception of themselves can fit well into the building.
The article makes a great point of how the profession of education is ever changing with our students. I think is is crucial to create an interview environment just like you are creating your school environment.Teachers need to know the expectation of what the goal of the school is. I think by asking the correct questions gives opportunity for conversations about creating innovative classrooms. I think it is important to give people who are interviewing the ability to explain their successes and even their failures when it comes to creating these ever changing classrooms. I think it would be great to have teachers who are apart of the team of school to give examples to those who are interviewing a better insight of the expectation of the school. I think this allows even more open conversation in a interview. I think a great question to ask would be the following. Can you tell me what an innovative classroom looks like? How do you plan accordingly? What misconceptions do you address before allowing students to be the creators? I know as elementary level teacher these are important questions to ask in regards to maintaining classroom management/instructional opportunity used wisely, while allowing students to be more independent learners.
I agree completely. I also believe it is important to ask questions about the teachers philosophy regarding student learning and achievement. How do students best learn? What is the environment in your classroom? Give examples of how you promote the growth mindset in your classroom? How do you teach your students about responsibility for their learning?
Educators in general espouse innovation, creativity, and critical thinking. The challenge for many is the implementation of those principles in the classroom. Teachers need to have a desire to continually innovate in their classroom, which suggests a certain amount of failure must be expected. Not everything we try will be successful, but too often educators fail to understand the counsel they constantly feed to their students, ‘don’t be afraid to fail.’
Those in the classroom need to learn to channel the energy of their students by allowing them flexibility to take ownership of their learning. Helping a student understand that can help that student be successful way beyond the classroom.
One question I would ask a potential teacher is ‘tell me how do you feel about cellphones in your classroom?’ The answer to that question would tell me a lot about their mindset.
I agree with you. Teachers need to be changing with the times in order to connect to their students. Most all students have cell phones now and this will keep getting more prevalent in the years to come as technology keeps growing. Administrators need to be looking for teachers that embrace this technology and use it in the classroom as a part of the learning process.
I have been hearing a lot about flipped classrooms over the last few years and it seems like the concept of a flipped classroom is one that seems to be coming more popular and embraces technology to keep students more engaged in the classroom.
The article makes some great points as they relate to how the teaching profession is changing, as the needs of our students are changing. Administrators need to adapt to these new challenges and skills that face 21st century teachers, by making sure they hire teachers that are prepared and ready for 21st century students. The example interview questions are a great tool to reflect upon as you prepare to interview potential teachers, as the answers to these questions will provide insight into the ability of the potential teacher to prepare students for the future. Along with hiring the appropriate teacher, administrators also need to consider the future needs of the teachers and develop professional development opportunities that meet the 21st century demands.
I have read Grit; it is very motivational. I highly recommend this book. I also agree that education and society are in a place of change. The most frustrating part of recognizing change is that structures and expectations in which I am a participant are the same top-down system that has been in use for years. An elite few, in my organization, form the core of all communication and action. They espouse the philosophy of 21st Century culture, but they remain locked into the same way of doing things. Recently, my department has decided it is best to move toward a standardized test for all sections of each specific curriculum that is taught, under the leadership and exemplar of one of the highest positions within the organization.
How do we continue to move toward collaboration/creativity/critical thinking/communication when as instructors we are continually shut down?
I have not read the book, but will soon. I agree with you Susan that administrators are lock into the same way of doing things and have a hard time adjusting to any new way of doing things. Standardized test are part of the problem because they are the standard. To encourage collaboration/creativity/critical thinking/ communication seems to go against the traditional standardized testing. As a teacher I am always asking my students to think of other ways of solving problems and to explain their thinking when they think out of the box. Not all students think or learn the same way and administration needs to allow a little more freedom when evaluating what a student truly knows. I like the questions presented above when looking to hire new teachers as they make you think a little more in-depth. Administators must first make the shift in the way they think before they can expect their teachers and new hires to do the same.
My favorite quote that I like to live by is progress does not happen without change. While I do not know who originally said it, I am constantly reminding myself of this. I recently made the transition out of the classroom and even though I am not a classroom teacher, I am still working to remind myself and my staff of this. If a teacher is ever wondering what is something about their teaching that they can change, I tell them if they have been doing it for many years it is something that can be looked at. Children these days are not the same as they have been. They are digital citizens that need to be engaged, offered choice, and allowed time to collaborate with each other. Teachers can not “teach” them the same. I is more a balance of being a facilitator and one that is constantly listening. As a school leader, I will need to really take the time necessary to find the types of teachers that will allow this type of learning to occur in classrooms. I really appreciate the fact that you both have offered example questions to ask when interviewing teachers. These questions will bring about the same thoughtful questions that I wanted from my students when I was in the classroom