Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Building a Great School Faculty


Published on

Tips on recruiting, hiring, induction, professional development, and building strong professional culture to support teacher retention.

Published in: Education, Career
  • Be the first to comment

Building a Great School Faculty

  1. 1. BUILDING A FACULTY Recruiting, Training, and Retaining the Finest Teachers Peter Gow for The Canadian Association of Independent Schools October 2008
  2. 2. Some general thoughts <ul><li>We are professional optimists who inhabit little would-be Utopias in the hope that our ideals will take root and spread. </li></ul><ul><li>Our actions and practices must transcend the mediocrities and compromises of the external culture to enact our values and our missions. </li></ul><ul><li>As teachers, administrators, and staff we have to aspire to the greatness that is embedded in the values and missions of our schools. </li></ul><ul><li>We owe it not just to ourselves and our students but to the future of this planet to become as good as we can possibly be at our work. </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  3. 3. 1. Pre-Hiring, Recruiting, and Hiring Some principles, practices, and reflections
  4. 4. Some principles of hiring <ul><li>Hire to further the school’s mission </li></ul><ul><li>Each hire is an opportunity for school improvement and advancement </li></ul><ul><li>Hiring is for keeps </li></ul><ul><li>Match is everything </li></ul><ul><li>Students’ interests come first </li></ul><ul><li>Patience is a virtue </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  5. 5. Pre-hiring reflection I <ul><li>What is the essential task of teachers at the school? </li></ul><ul><li>What “glue” binds the community? Where is the school community’s “center of gravity”? </li></ul><ul><li>What is unique about the school? How or where do teachers see or experience this? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the special rewards and challenges of teaching at the school? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the school culture truly support and value people who bring or raise new ideas? </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  6. 6. Pre-hiring reflection II <ul><li>Collect and use exit-interview data </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection on success </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Who are we? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who has succeeded here? (“The successful teacher is …”) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Who has struggled here? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Needs assessment—beyond the obvious </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Community needs on a cultural/moral level? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Broader programmatic needs and desiderata? </li></ul></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  7. 7. Hiring thoughts <ul><li>Don’t hire just to get the process over with </li></ul><ul><li>Be clear about academic freedom, classroom autonomy, and institutional initiatives </li></ul><ul><li>Be clear about expectations and challenges, too—“informed consent” </li></ul><ul><li>Consider the “ages and stages” of recruited candidates. What do they want to know? What can you do to meet the distinct needs of older or more experienced “new” teachers? </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  8. 8. Recruiting <ul><li>Prospective teachers are an important marketing audience for the school </li></ul><ul><li>Cast the widest net you can afford </li></ul><ul><li>Demand good service from any “middle man”—you’ll get out what you put in </li></ul><ul><li>Walk the walk of diversity—find the resources and sources, and utilize them </li></ul><ul><li>Build connections and create links wherever you can: universities, teacher organizations, industry </li></ul><ul><li>Not a plug, but the U.S. agencies are willing to serve ( Cave : Agencies can be helpful, but over-dependency can miss great candidates) </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  9. 9. Recruiting ideas <ul><li>Make employment webpages informative, dynamic, comprehensive, and inviting </li></ul><ul><li>Have important work-related materials downloadable from your site </li></ul><ul><li>Consider print recruiting materials (does CAIS have a little monograph on this?) </li></ul><ul><li>Create links (digital or otherwise) to community resources that will help promote the cause (realtors, religious institutions, cultural and recreational resources) </li></ul><ul><li>Sell the advantages of your community </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  10. 10. Hiring/recruiting miscellany <ul><li>Consider a bounty system for hiring referrals </li></ul><ul><li>Be clear about whether internal candidacies will be considered—post consistently </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail chatter regarding candidates is a very, very bad idea </li></ul><ul><li>Exceed statutory minimums in background and credential checks </li></ul><ul><li>Consider hiring work—fairs, interviewing—as leadership development </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  11. 11. 2. The New Teacher Experience What all teachers new to a school need
  12. 12. Some key teacher aspirations <ul><li>To be taken seriously as an adult person </li></ul><ul><li>To be good at one’s craft </li></ul><ul><li>To be recognized for being good </li></ul><ul><li>To be inspired and supported to become even better—with resources, feedback, encouragement </li></ul><ul><li>Just to be Mr.. Chips—to have warm, rich professional and personal relationships </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  13. 13. A glance back into (my) time <ul><li>Autonomy (touted) = isolation (sad fact of life) </li></ul><ul><li>Half a day’s induction and mentoring, followed by trial and error (and here some intelligent design beats survival of the fittest) </li></ul><ul><li>Professional development a matter of inclination; Bartleby could prefer not to </li></ul><ul><li>No one came into your classroom unless they were lost or you were in trouble </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation encoded in the size of your raise </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  14. 14. What new teachers need <ul><li>LOTS of academic and classroom management support </li></ul><ul><li>Access to necessary resources (books and chalk, but email and server, too) </li></ul><ul><li>Trustworthy peers; help in recognizing friends and foes </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge of local norms, local standards </li></ul><ul><li>Life-management support </li></ul><ul><li>Useful, focused, non-judgmental feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Identity in the community </li></ul><ul><li>Authentic appreciation </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  15. 15. Best practices in induction <ul><li>Create a point person for new teacher programming </li></ul><ul><li>The goal is to bring new people up to speed in </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Valued skills and techniques </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assumptions about teaching and learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>School idiosyncrasies—language, traditions, procedures, structure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>School culture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Build in time for interaction with lots of peers and administrators; include parents, if you can. </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  16. 16. Induction and orientation <ul><li>Priorities (think like an anthropologist!): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture and values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>People and hierarchies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Curriculum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Policies and procedures </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geography and resources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Another anthropological tip: Think of, support, and utilize each year’s intake as a cohort </li></ul><ul><li>A comprehensive teacher handbook is a huge benefit to all teachers </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  17. 17. Best practices in mentoring <ul><li>Structure time to achieve specific goals that acknowledge the year’s trajectory. </li></ul><ul><li>Mentors should be passionate about teaching and about your school as well as wise owls, cheerleaders, great listeners, and—above all—optimists. </li></ul><ul><li>Mentoring should not be evaluative or supervisory. </li></ul><ul><li>Proximity on campus matters more than most other factors in successful relationships. </li></ul><ul><li>Mentoring is a leadership-development opportunity. </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  18. 18. 3. Some Nuts & Bolts in Teacher Retention What every school should be thinking about
  19. 19. Some key satisfaction and retention factors <ul><li>School culture matters as much as money and benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Maximize positive factors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Location </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perks of membership in the school community </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Compensate for negatives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Geography—help teachers connect to resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social (i.e., dating) opportunities—be creative! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remuneration limitations—warm culture, smart spending </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Comprehensive professional development helps </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  20. 20. Compensation issues (NAIS, 2007) <ul><li>Important that pay be comparable to other local school salaries, including public </li></ul><ul><li>Moderate to high satisfaction when salaries are comparable to other independent schools </li></ul><ul><li>For those planning to leave education but not retire, the most frequently mentioned reason was to increase their salary to be able to provide for themselves and their families </li></ul><ul><li>Desire for transparency in how salaries and raises are determined </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  21. 21. Factors in teacher satisfaction <ul><li>(From 2007 NAIS Teacher Satisfaction Survey) </li></ul><ul><li>High Importance/High Satisfaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive interactions with students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When teaching style matches school culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manageable class sizes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engaged students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Safe work environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adequate room, supplies, and equipment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Positive interactions with parents </li></ul></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  22. 22. Factors in teacher satisfaction <ul><li>(From 2007 NAIS Teacher Satisfaction Survey) </li></ul><ul><li>High Importance/Low Satisfaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Being able to balance work and personal life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Affordable cost of living </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Affordable housing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diverse faculty </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not so good, either, when benefits don’t conform to needs: child care, tuition remission, elder care, support for housing </li></ul><ul><li>An observation: When a faculty gets itchy about job descriptions, there’s something else going on </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  23. 23. Some thoughts on benefits <ul><li>Design benefit programs by age and family situation </li></ul><ul><li>It’s not just ages and stages; read up on how Millennials, Xers, Boomers, and Echo Boomers view responsibility, authority, autonomy, work/life balance, and rewards </li></ul><ul><li>Put limited resources where they will do the most good; include faculty in the design of programs </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity is critical; so is avoiding the creation of categories that appear privileged </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  24. 24. Some heterodox thoughts on satisfaction <ul><li>Some turnover is good: new blood, new opportunities, new strengths. </li></ul><ul><li>Change is challenging. A school experiencing transition may seem like a school with “low satisfaction”—this may be real, but it may not be all bad if the “change” will ultimately make the school a better place </li></ul><ul><li>Hence: Don’t avoid necessary institutional change to avoid friction with teachers; the good ones will understand. (But do it well!) </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  25. 25. More thoughts on satisfaction <ul><li>School culture is the most significant aspect that schools can control without significant expense: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visibility of leadership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recognition and appreciation of effective work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Opportunities for authentic growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transparency of decision-making </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involvement of teachers in policy decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Paternalism is no longer a good model, if it ever was </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  26. 26. 4. School Culture and Professionalism How to increase satisfaction and retention
  27. 27. Some hard truths <ul><li>A vibrant professional culture is not enthusiastic eccentrics operating in isolation, tolerated by one another and celebrated as embodying in the aggregate a school’s commitment to teaching. </li></ul><ul><li>2. A focused and mission-driven approach to curriculum and pedagogy (and hence professional development) is in some conflict with the traditional autonomy afforded independent school teachers — but these can be kept in balance </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  28. 28. Some ideas on school culture <ul><li>Keep channels of communication open between administrators and faculty </li></ul><ul><li>Actively seek faculty input on school-wide issues and decisions </li></ul><ul><li>Schedule occasional interactive sessions between governors and faculty so faculty members understand how the board operates </li></ul><ul><li>Make a first priority of building a strong professional culture through collaboration, supported innovation, and thoughtful, mission-driven professional development </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  29. 29. More school culture ideas <ul><li>Use exit interviews with teachers to gather feedback on satisfaction, “hidden” issues </li></ul><ul><li>Stay on top of : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teachers’ personal issues and needs in the context of adult development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best practices in professional development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best practices in salary and benefit programming </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Best practices in school governance and decision-making </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If your school hasn’t yet enumerated standards for effective teaching, soon is a good time to do this work (and it’s not hard) </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  30. 30. Great professional development <ul><li>Is carefully planned around the mission and strategic goals of the school </li></ul><ul><li>Serves identified institutional needs as well as individual aspirations of teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Puts resources where they will do the most good </li></ul><ul><li>Is for everyone (no oversights, no escapees) </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledges individual capacities but holds all to high standards of participation and action </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  31. 31. Another kind of P.D. <ul><li>Professional collaboration can be powerful in-house professional development </li></ul><ul><li>Create collaborative structures that allow individuals to work in small groups focused on specific ideas with specific goals </li></ul><ul><li>(Protect time for this kind of collaboration) </li></ul><ul><li>Make it possible for departments, grade-level teams, or ad hoc groups to retreat for a day or an afternoon </li></ul><ul><li>(Reliable, competent substitutes make doing this much, much easier) </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  32. 32. P.D. and the Bottom Line <ul><li>A few premises, as points to ponder: </li></ul><ul><li>A school’s resources are finite. </li></ul><ul><li>An independent school trades on the quality of the educational experience it offers. </li></ul><ul><li>That quality is enhanced by the expertise and professionalism of its faculty. </li></ul><ul><li>Professional development is the equivalent of R&D for independent schools. </li></ul><ul><li>Funding a comprehensive, broad-based, equitable professional development program is good for the bottom line (all the bottom lines, in fact). </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  33. 33. Great professional evaluation <ul><li>Connects to the school’s articulated standards for effective teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Connects to personal and professional growth goals </li></ul><ul><li>Is simple, clear, and do-able </li></ul><ul><li>Is about meaningful feedback, dialogue, self-evaluation, and reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Includes ALL aspects of a teacher’s work </li></ul><ul><li>Includes multiple points of view </li></ul><ul><li>Is consistent, including and especially insofar as it is part of a contractual process </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  34. 34. Resources <ul><li>Handout notes from this presentation (CAIS website) </li></ul><ul><li>NAIS Teacher Satisfaction Survey (2007) </li></ul><ul><li>NAIS Principles of Good Practice for the Hiring Process (2006) and for Supervisors of Teachers (1990) </li></ul><ul><li>Michael Brosnan, Guide to Hiring and Retaining Teachers of Color (AISNE, 2002) </li></ul><ul><li>The Conference Board et al., Are They Really Ready to Work? (2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Gow, An Admirable Faculty (NAIS, 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>The Admirable Faculties blog: </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Your school attorney or CAIS for special issues and circumstances </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow
  35. 35. I’m done <ul><li>But now please tell your neighbor what two ideas or practices that you will take away from this presentation. </li></ul><ul><li>I’d be interested to know, too, if you want to send me an email: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow