In a world where employees are attracted by lucrative salaries and perks it’s easy to see how this strategy just doesn’t work with teachers. So, how does one go about finding the right candidate for each teaching position?
At the outset, something needs to be said about the school culture. In order to attract the best teachers some effort needs to go into creating a school culture that is conducive to the happiness, motivation, growth and success of the teachers. Here are a few ways to do this:
- Communicate well and build strong relationships between leaders and other staff
- Ensure that the teachers feel valued, heard and respected
- Engender a sense of collaboration and shared vision – we are working together not against each other
- Make sure there is a strong support structure, especially for new teachers
- Cultivate a positive environment
- Provide the opportunities necessary for CPTD
- Be proactive in problem solving
This list is certainly not exhaustive, merely some ideas to put into practise in order to better your chances of drawing the best possible teachers to your school.
Does this teacher recruitment ad hit the nail on the head?
Teacher. Must work extraordinary hours for measly pay. Must shoulder great responsibility for student success. Must balance curricular requirements with individual student needs. Must follow orders lock-step but also initiate creative efforts. Summers off (just kidding). Must remain emotionally detached but psychologically connected at the same time. Must possess otherworldly sense of humour. Required characteristics: self-starter, reflective, sensitive, dedicated, data-savvy, street-smart. Acting and dancing experience preferred.
– Thanks to educationworld.com for this.
Who you recruit matters – it matters a lot and it should not be rushed. Here are a few important considerations in this process that will help you snag that perfect teacher.
1. Advertise widely
The more potential candidates you can reach the better because this will increase your chances of finding the best possible fit for your school. There are many excellent teachers out there so don’t be too passive in your recruitment efforts. In addition to the regular government gazette, you may also like to try the following:
- Online job boards like RSA Teaching Jobs. RSA Teaching Jobs is the leading job board for South African school related vacancies
- The classified section of the local newspaper
- Contact colleges and universities
- Social media. This is the modern-day communication channel. If your school is not on social media, you are missing out on a huge potential market. Social media can be a fast, efficient and cost-effective tool to finding suitable teachers.
2. Ask for referrals from existing staff members
Great teachers know other great teachers, so tap into this resource. Ask your staff to share your recruitment needs with their friends and on their own social media network. Maybe you can offer an incentive! Word of mouth is powerful so get the word out there.
3. Promote your school culture
Don’t waste all that effort you have put into establishing a positive and successful school culture. Communicate it at every opportunity. This has a two-way effect – it will attract the right teachers and dissuade those who see that they do not support your particular culture or values, from applying.
4. Ask the right questions
Be prepared with questions that will give you insight into not only their qualifications and ability, but also their own values, weaknesses, and strengths. An important one to ask is if they collaborate well with others. Check out this link for some awesome interview questions to arm yourself with.
5. Contact all given references
You probably will never read a bad reference. I mean, who would be foolish enough to present such a document! However, some people have also been known to submit fake references and employment history. So, it’s paramount to make sure you contact those references to check out their veracity and the accuracy of the applicant’s information.
6. When in doubt…don’t
That’s the golden rule. Unless you are absolutely, positively certain that the applicant is the right person for the job…. rather wait. Fill the position with a substitute teacher and continue your search. This is a biggie as we can be impatient and also pressured to get the post filled. It’s not worth the trouble it will cause.
There are many great teachers out there that fit your requirements for the classroom as well as your school culture. Create a great school culture and then cast your net wide. When the applications come pouring in, do your homework on each candidate, ask the right questions and don’t rush the process. You will bag the best!