This post could be subtitled “Show me the Money!” You
see, I’ve hired a good number of teachers over the years, and, while
I’ve hired some top-notch teachers, I’ve also been burned a few times
(BTW, I consider being burned once “too many”).
an educational leader, I need to ensure that all students in my
building have access to a great teacher. Not just good, great. In the
past I’ve relied mainly on responses to interview questions to determine
who would be a good teacher. Sure, I asked for writing samples and
examples from class and questions about development and lesson planning
and so on. But I very rarely asked for demonstrations, prototypes, or
hiring season, that’s all going to change. My new motto is, “Show me
the money.” If you interview with me, you better be able to demonstrate
that you have the skills to help students be successful 21st century
learners. I’m no longer interested in answering the question, “Can you
teach?” Anyone with an overhead projector can stand up and ‘teach.’
What I want to know is can you use the latest technology and
methodology to facilitate learning, collaboration, problem solving, and
we are living in a digital world I don’t want to see this stuff in a
three-ring binder with a cute cover. I want you to use digital tools,
the same ones your students will use in class, to demonstrate why I
should hire you. Here’s what I want to see (feel free to comment about
anything you want to show me that I left out).
1) Your professional Social Media persona.
you don’t have a professional SM presence? Well why not? Every
teacher and administrator should have, at a minimum, a professional Twitter and Facebook page. If you have access you should also sign up for Edmodo and may consider Google+
which is growing, especially among professionals. I want to see how
you are interacting with parents and students. I want to see who is in
your personal learning network (PLN) – in other words, who you are
learning from. I want to see how you augment what’s going on in the
I do not want to see your personal
Facebook page or Twitter stream. Your personal and professional lives
should be chronicled on separate pages. Facebook will not allow you to
create two accounts but as a teacher Facebook will allow you to set up
Page (formerly Fan Pages or Groups). All you have to do is click on
Create a Page on the login page (highlighted). The page will
automatically be connected to your account.
a page rather than an account will enable you to communicate with
students and parents without friending them (I never recommending
friending students). Twitter allows you to have more than one handle so
there’s no problem there.
2) Your blog.
believe everyone should write. Having a blog forces you to work out
and organize your thoughts and ideas. You can blog about any aspect of
your professional life. If you’re looking for your first teaching gig
blog about what you plan to do when you get your own classroom, what you
did as a student teacher, or about great teachers. Write about
methodology, pedagogy, or any other ‘ogy’ you can think of. Write about
your challenges and your successes. Write about anything. Just write. WordPress, Blogger, and Edublogs
all have excellent and free blogging tools. My only word of caution
with blogging is to keep student information confidential, you don’t
want to wind up on the 6 o’clock news because you wrote about Sammy’s
bloody nose, bad behavior, or poor test grade.
3) Your digital portfolio.
I also want to see everything else you’ve created on-line, your web projects, your student videos, your animotos, your Vimeos, and even your VoiceThreads
but I don’t want to spend the entire interview typing web addresses so
make sure you pull everything together into one site. Sites like Flavors.me, Glogster and Scoop.it will
allow you to pull from many web sources that way during the interview I
only have to type in one address and you can guide me through your
And if you’ll allow me just one more …
4) Your email.
the interview I may want to email you. That’s why now is the perfect
time to set a professional email account. Call me old school but when I
see a candidate’s email address as, “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org” or even, god forbid, “email@example.com”
it really makes my skin crawl. As a hiring manager my thoughts
immediately jump to whether or not you have the maturity to handle a
classroom. Email is free. Set up an account with some variant of your
name and use that for all professional correspondence.
Scott A. Ziegler has 20
Years of experience in public education having served as a teacher,
school administrator, and district level administrator. He is life-long
learner, lover of all things tech, devoted husband, father of five,
and weekend adventure seeker. He also practices what he writes and
invites you to connect via his blog, Twitter, Facebook (under construction), Linkin, or Flavors.