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Building a Great School Faculty

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Information about Building a Great School Faculty
Education

Published on November 9, 2008

Author: pgow3

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Tips on recruiting, hiring, induction, professional development, and building strong professional culture to support teacher retention.
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BUILDING A FACULTY Recruiting, Training, and Retaining the Finest Teachers Peter Gow for The Canadian Association of Independent Schools October 2008

Some general thoughts We are professional optimists who inhabit little would-be Utopias in the hope that our ideals will take root and spread. Our actions and practices must transcend the mediocrities and compromises of the external culture to enact our values and our missions. As teachers, administrators, and staff we have to aspire to the greatness that is embedded in the values and missions of our schools. 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. 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

We are professional optimists who inhabit little would-be Utopias in the hope that our ideals will take root and spread.

Our actions and practices must transcend the mediocrities and compromises of the external culture to enact our values and our missions.

As teachers, administrators, and staff we have to aspire to the greatness that is embedded in the values and missions of our schools.

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.

1. Pre-Hiring, Recruiting, and Hiring Some principles, practices, and reflections

Some principles of hiring Hire to further the school’s mission Each hire is an opportunity for school improvement and advancement Hiring is for keeps Match is everything Students’ interests come first Patience is a virtue 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Hire to further the school’s mission

Each hire is an opportunity for school improvement and advancement

Hiring is for keeps

Match is everything

Students’ interests come first

Patience is a virtue

Pre-hiring reflection I What is the essential task of teachers at the school? What “glue” binds the community? Where is the school community’s “center of gravity”? What is unique about the school? How or where do teachers see or experience this? What are the special rewards and challenges of teaching at the school? Does the school culture truly support and value people who bring or raise new ideas? 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

What is the essential task of teachers at the school?

What “glue” binds the community? Where is the school community’s “center of gravity”?

What is unique about the school? How or where do teachers see or experience this?

What are the special rewards and challenges of teaching at the school?

Does the school culture truly support and value people who bring or raise new ideas?

Pre-hiring reflection II Collect and use exit-interview data Reflection on success Who are we? Who has succeeded here? (“The successful teacher is …”) Who has struggled here? Needs assessment—beyond the obvious Community needs on a cultural/moral level? Broader programmatic needs and desiderata? 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Collect and use exit-interview data

Reflection on success

Who are we?

Who has succeeded here? (“The successful teacher is …”)

Who has struggled here?

Needs assessment—beyond the obvious

Community needs on a cultural/moral level?

Broader programmatic needs and desiderata?

Hiring thoughts Don’t hire just to get the process over with Be clear about academic freedom, classroom autonomy, and institutional initiatives Be clear about expectations and challenges, too—“informed consent” 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? 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Don’t hire just to get the process over with

Be clear about academic freedom, classroom autonomy, and institutional initiatives

Be clear about expectations and challenges, too—“informed consent”

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?

Recruiting Prospective teachers are an important marketing audience for the school Cast the widest net you can afford Demand good service from any “middle man”—you’ll get out what you put in Walk the walk of diversity—find the resources and sources, and utilize them Build connections and create links wherever you can: universities, teacher organizations, industry Not a plug, but the U.S. agencies are willing to serve ( Cave : Agencies can be helpful, but over-dependency can miss great candidates) 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Prospective teachers are an important marketing audience for the school

Cast the widest net you can afford

Demand good service from any “middle man”—you’ll get out what you put in

Walk the walk of diversity—find the resources and sources, and utilize them

Build connections and create links wherever you can: universities, teacher organizations, industry

Not a plug, but the U.S. agencies are willing to serve ( Cave : Agencies can be helpful, but over-dependency can miss great candidates)

Recruiting ideas Make employment webpages informative, dynamic, comprehensive, and inviting Have important work-related materials downloadable from your site Consider print recruiting materials (does CAIS have a little monograph on this?) Create links (digital or otherwise) to community resources that will help promote the cause (realtors, religious institutions, cultural and recreational resources) Sell the advantages of your community 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Make employment webpages informative, dynamic, comprehensive, and inviting

Have important work-related materials downloadable from your site

Consider print recruiting materials (does CAIS have a little monograph on this?)

Create links (digital or otherwise) to community resources that will help promote the cause (realtors, religious institutions, cultural and recreational resources)

Sell the advantages of your community

Hiring/recruiting miscellany Consider a bounty system for hiring referrals Be clear about whether internal candidacies will be considered—post consistently E-mail chatter regarding candidates is a very, very bad idea Exceed statutory minimums in background and credential checks Consider hiring work—fairs, interviewing—as leadership development 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Consider a bounty system for hiring referrals

Be clear about whether internal candidacies will be considered—post consistently

E-mail chatter regarding candidates is a very, very bad idea

Exceed statutory minimums in background and credential checks

Consider hiring work—fairs, interviewing—as leadership development

2. The New Teacher Experience What all teachers new to a school need

Some key teacher aspirations To be taken seriously as an adult person To be good at one’s craft To be recognized for being good To be inspired and supported to become even better—with resources, feedback, encouragement Just to be Mr.. Chips—to have warm, rich professional and personal relationships 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

To be taken seriously as an adult person

To be good at one’s craft

To be recognized for being good

To be inspired and supported to become even better—with resources, feedback, encouragement

Just to be Mr.. Chips—to have warm, rich professional and personal relationships

A glance back into (my) time Autonomy (touted) = isolation (sad fact of life) Half a day’s induction and mentoring, followed by trial and error (and here some intelligent design beats survival of the fittest) Professional development a matter of inclination; Bartleby could prefer not to No one came into your classroom unless they were lost or you were in trouble Evaluation encoded in the size of your raise 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Autonomy (touted) = isolation (sad fact of life)

Half a day’s induction and mentoring, followed by trial and error (and here some intelligent design beats survival of the fittest)

Professional development a matter of inclination; Bartleby could prefer not to

No one came into your classroom unless they were lost or you were in trouble

Evaluation encoded in the size of your raise

What new teachers need LOTS of academic and classroom management support Access to necessary resources (books and chalk, but email and server, too) Trustworthy peers; help in recognizing friends and foes Knowledge of local norms, local standards Life-management support Useful, focused, non-judgmental feedback Identity in the community Authentic appreciation 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

LOTS of academic and classroom management support

Access to necessary resources (books and chalk, but email and server, too)

Trustworthy peers; help in recognizing friends and foes

Knowledge of local norms, local standards

Life-management support

Useful, focused, non-judgmental feedback

Identity in the community

Authentic appreciation

Best practices in induction Create a point person for new teacher programming The goal is to bring new people up to speed in Valued skills and techniques Assumptions about teaching and learning School idiosyncrasies—language, traditions, procedures, structure School culture Build in time for interaction with lots of peers and administrators; include parents, if you can. 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Create a point person for new teacher programming

The goal is to bring new people up to speed in

Valued skills and techniques

Assumptions about teaching and learning

School idiosyncrasies—language, traditions, procedures, structure

School culture

Build in time for interaction with lots of peers and administrators; include parents, if you can.

Induction and orientation Priorities (think like an anthropologist!): Culture and values People and hierarchies Language Curriculum Policies and procedures Geography and resources Another anthropological tip: Think of, support, and utilize each year’s intake as a cohort A comprehensive teacher handbook is a huge benefit to all teachers 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Priorities (think like an anthropologist!):

Culture and values

People and hierarchies

Language

Curriculum

Policies and procedures

Geography and resources

Another anthropological tip: Think of, support, and utilize each year’s intake as a cohort

A comprehensive teacher handbook is a huge benefit to all teachers

Best practices in mentoring Structure time to achieve specific goals that acknowledge the year’s trajectory. Mentors should be passionate about teaching and about your school as well as wise owls, cheerleaders, great listeners, and—above all—optimists. Mentoring should not be evaluative or supervisory. Proximity on campus matters more than most other factors in successful relationships. Mentoring is a leadership-development opportunity. 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Structure time to achieve specific goals that acknowledge the year’s trajectory.

Mentors should be passionate about teaching and about your school as well as wise owls, cheerleaders, great listeners, and—above all—optimists.

Mentoring should not be evaluative or supervisory.

Proximity on campus matters more than most other factors in successful relationships.

Mentoring is a leadership-development opportunity.

3. Some Nuts & Bolts in Teacher Retention What every school should be thinking about

Some key satisfaction and retention factors School culture matters as much as money and benefits Maximize positive factors Location Benefits Perks of membership in the school community Compensate for negatives Geography—help teachers connect to resources Social (i.e., dating) opportunities—be creative! Remuneration limitations—warm culture, smart spending Comprehensive professional development helps 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

School culture matters as much as money and benefits

Maximize positive factors

Location

Benefits

Perks of membership in the school community

Compensate for negatives

Geography—help teachers connect to resources

Social (i.e., dating) opportunities—be creative!

Remuneration limitations—warm culture, smart spending

Comprehensive professional development helps

Compensation issues (NAIS, 2007) Important that pay be comparable to other local school salaries, including public Moderate to high satisfaction when salaries are comparable to other independent schools 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 Desire for transparency in how salaries and raises are determined 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Important that pay be comparable to other local school salaries, including public

Moderate to high satisfaction when salaries are comparable to other independent schools

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

Desire for transparency in how salaries and raises are determined

Factors in teacher satisfaction (From 2007 NAIS Teacher Satisfaction Survey) High Importance/High Satisfaction Positive interactions with students When teaching style matches school culture Manageable class sizes Engaged students Safe work environment Adequate room, supplies, and equipment Positive interactions with parents 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

(From 2007 NAIS Teacher Satisfaction Survey)

High Importance/High Satisfaction

Positive interactions with students

When teaching style matches school culture

Manageable class sizes

Engaged students

Safe work environment

Adequate room, supplies, and equipment

Positive interactions with parents

Factors in teacher satisfaction (From 2007 NAIS Teacher Satisfaction Survey) High Importance/Low Satisfaction Being able to balance work and personal life Affordable cost of living Affordable housing Diverse faculty Not so good, either, when benefits don’t conform to needs: child care, tuition remission, elder care, support for housing An observation: When a faculty gets itchy about job descriptions, there’s something else going on 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

(From 2007 NAIS Teacher Satisfaction Survey)

High Importance/Low Satisfaction

Being able to balance work and personal life

Affordable cost of living

Affordable housing

Diverse faculty

Not so good, either, when benefits don’t conform to needs: child care, tuition remission, elder care, support for housing

An observation: When a faculty gets itchy about job descriptions, there’s something else going on

Some thoughts on benefits Design benefit programs by age and family situation 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 Put limited resources where they will do the most good; include faculty in the design of programs Creativity is critical; so is avoiding the creation of categories that appear privileged 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Design benefit programs by age and family situation

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

Put limited resources where they will do the most good; include faculty in the design of programs

Creativity is critical; so is avoiding the creation of categories that appear privileged

Some heterodox thoughts on satisfaction Some turnover is good: new blood, new opportunities, new strengths. 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 Hence: Don’t avoid necessary institutional change to avoid friction with teachers; the good ones will understand. (But do it well!) 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Some turnover is good: new blood, new opportunities, new strengths.

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

Hence: Don’t avoid necessary institutional change to avoid friction with teachers; the good ones will understand. (But do it well!)

More thoughts on satisfaction School culture is the most significant aspect that schools can control without significant expense: Communication Visibility of leadership Recognition and appreciation of effective work Opportunities for authentic growth Transparency of decision-making Involvement of teachers in policy decisions Paternalism is no longer a good model, if it ever was 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

School culture is the most significant aspect that schools can control without significant expense:

Communication

Visibility of leadership

Recognition and appreciation of effective work

Opportunities for authentic growth

Transparency of decision-making

Involvement of teachers in policy decisions

Paternalism is no longer a good model, if it ever was

4. School Culture and Professionalism How to increase satisfaction and retention

Some hard truths 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. 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 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

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.

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

Some ideas on school culture Keep channels of communication open between administrators and faculty Actively seek faculty input on school-wide issues and decisions Schedule occasional interactive sessions between governors and faculty so faculty members understand how the board operates Make a first priority of building a strong professional culture through collaboration, supported innovation, and thoughtful, mission-driven professional development 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Keep channels of communication open between administrators and faculty

Actively seek faculty input on school-wide issues and decisions

Schedule occasional interactive sessions between governors and faculty so faculty members understand how the board operates

Make a first priority of building a strong professional culture through collaboration, supported innovation, and thoughtful, mission-driven professional development

More school culture ideas Use exit interviews with teachers to gather feedback on satisfaction, “hidden” issues Stay on top of : Teachers’ personal issues and needs in the context of adult development Best practices in professional development Best practices in salary and benefit programming Best practices in school governance and decision-making 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) 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Use exit interviews with teachers to gather feedback on satisfaction, “hidden” issues

Stay on top of :

Teachers’ personal issues and needs in the context of adult development

Best practices in professional development

Best practices in salary and benefit programming

Best practices in school governance and decision-making

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)

Great professional development Is carefully planned around the mission and strategic goals of the school Serves identified institutional needs as well as individual aspirations of teachers Puts resources where they will do the most good Is for everyone (no oversights, no escapees) Acknowledges individual capacities but holds all to high standards of participation and action 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Is carefully planned around the mission and strategic goals of the school

Serves identified institutional needs as well as individual aspirations of teachers

Puts resources where they will do the most good

Is for everyone (no oversights, no escapees)

Acknowledges individual capacities but holds all to high standards of participation and action

Another kind of P.D. Professional collaboration can be powerful in-house professional development Create collaborative structures that allow individuals to work in small groups focused on specific ideas with specific goals (Protect time for this kind of collaboration) Make it possible for departments, grade-level teams, or ad hoc groups to retreat for a day or an afternoon (Reliable, competent substitutes make doing this much, much easier) 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Professional collaboration can be powerful in-house professional development

Create collaborative structures that allow individuals to work in small groups focused on specific ideas with specific goals

(Protect time for this kind of collaboration)

Make it possible for departments, grade-level teams, or ad hoc groups to retreat for a day or an afternoon

(Reliable, competent substitutes make doing this much, much easier)

P.D. and the Bottom Line A few premises, as points to ponder: A school’s resources are finite. An independent school trades on the quality of the educational experience it offers. That quality is enhanced by the expertise and professionalism of its faculty. Professional development is the equivalent of R&D for independent schools. Funding a comprehensive, broad-based, equitable professional development program is good for the bottom line (all the bottom lines, in fact). 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

A few premises, as points to ponder:

A school’s resources are finite.

An independent school trades on the quality of the educational experience it offers.

That quality is enhanced by the expertise and professionalism of its faculty.

Professional development is the equivalent of R&D for independent schools.

Funding a comprehensive, broad-based, equitable professional development program is good for the bottom line (all the bottom lines, in fact).

Great professional evaluation Connects to the school’s articulated standards for effective teaching Connects to personal and professional growth goals Is simple, clear, and do-able Is about meaningful feedback, dialogue, self-evaluation, and reflection Includes ALL aspects of a teacher’s work Includes multiple points of view Is consistent, including and especially insofar as it is part of a contractual process 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Connects to the school’s articulated standards for effective teaching

Connects to personal and professional growth goals

Is simple, clear, and do-able

Is about meaningful feedback, dialogue, self-evaluation, and reflection

Includes ALL aspects of a teacher’s work

Includes multiple points of view

Is consistent, including and especially insofar as it is part of a contractual process

Resources Handout notes from this presentation (CAIS website) NAIS Teacher Satisfaction Survey (2007) NAIS Principles of Good Practice for the Hiring Process (2006) and for Supervisors of Teachers (1990) Michael Brosnan, Guide to Hiring and Retaining Teachers of Color (AISNE, 2002) The Conference Board et al., Are They Really Ready to Work? (2006) Gow, An Admirable Faculty (NAIS, 2005) The Admirable Faculties blog: http://admirablefaculties.blogspot.com Your school attorney or CAIS for special issues and circumstances 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

Handout notes from this presentation (CAIS website)

NAIS Teacher Satisfaction Survey (2007)

NAIS Principles of Good Practice for the Hiring Process (2006) and for Supervisors of Teachers (1990)

Michael Brosnan, Guide to Hiring and Retaining Teachers of Color (AISNE, 2002)

The Conference Board et al., Are They Really Ready to Work? (2006)

Gow, An Admirable Faculty (NAIS, 2005)

The Admirable Faculties blog:

http://admirablefaculties.blogspot.com

Your school attorney or CAIS for special issues and circumstances

I’m done But now please tell your neighbor what two ideas or practices that you will take away from this presentation. I’d be interested to know, too, if you want to send me an email: [email_address] 18 October 2008 Building Faculties—P. Gow

But now please tell your neighbor what two ideas or practices that you will take away from this presentation.

I’d be interested to know, too, if you want to send me an email:

[email_address]

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