On Dec. 21, edweek.org hosted a live Web chat on “Finding a Teaching Job Today.” As the excerpts below show, the discussion included a number of exchanges of relevance to recruiters.
Question: How and what do well-prepared schools accomplish to recruit teachers to their schools?
Dawn Scheffner Jones, senior assistant director, Northern Illinois University’s Career Planning & Placement Center: Well-prepared schools have clear, high-quality Web pages with information that highlights their outstanding characteristics. They know that good teachers will look scrutinize their Web sites. These schools begin recruiting early in the season, and they use multiple ways to recruit, such as contacts with college/university career services offices, job fairs, personal interviews, and internet postings. They make sure they have excellent representatives to do the interviewing (for a poor interviewer can taint an entire school’s reputation). They spell out programs, school characteristics, benefits, and school climate clearly to candidates--in a professional and courteous manner. They present their own school’s advantages without making negative comparisons to other schools.
Question: Other than newspapers, what media do you find has a significant return for the buck? What is the best method of bringing in interns and/or student teachers to a District?
Nancy Slavin, manager of teacher recruitment, Chicago Public Schools: We find that the Internet has become a valuable resource for recruiting teacher candidates. Our recruitment staff also visits a significant number of campuses that supply high-quality teachers. Both Internet ads, print media, and visits have yielded a high volume of teacher candidates.
Chicago Public Schools also has a student teaching program that facilitates the placement of student teachers in our schools. This program also includes professional development for our student teachers during their semester. We have found that encouraging more student teachers to select Chicago Public Schools has been cost effective in bringing wonderful teachers to our large urban district. We work closely with our universities to meet their expectations.
We also have a district-sponsored Teacher Residency and Internship program that brings the top teachers in the country to Chicago for a summer in our schools. Significant professional development opportunities, as well as social and cultural experiences, make this program work.
Question: How can we attract more science teachers to urban school systems?
Ariela Rozman, vice president of cohort programs with The New Teacher Project: First, from focus groups of current teachers and applicants, we have found it is key to communicate to these individuals the need your school or school system has for them. It’s important to inspire them by laying out WHY your students need them and HOW they can make an impact. Secondly, we have found it is essential to set up a clear, transparent and efficient process which provides good customer service--and keeps these individuals in the hiring process until they get a specific school offer. Our research has shown us that 30-60% of applicants in the teacher pool drop out due to late hiring timelines--and it’s usually the best applicants that leave to take other offers in neighboring school districts. One other key is to leverage your assets--think about what makes your school district or school unique or special and highlight those--and use your current teaching force to talk to candidates. Our applicants tell us that talking to a teacher at a school or district they are interested in is what sells them on the district.
Read the complete transcript of the chat.