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Career Advice

Speed Dating for Teachers

By Liana Loewus — June 13, 2011 1 min read
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Hundreds of displaced teachers in Providence, R.I., applied for new positions in the district by “speed dating” principals, according to National Public Radio’s Elizabeth Harrison.

Providence Public Schools sent pink slips to all of its nearly 2,000 teachers earlier this year. The majority of teachers were rehired, but the 400 who were not—most “simply because they work at a school that was chosen for closure,” writes Harrision—vied for 300 positions at the speed-dating-style job fair, during which teachers met with each principal for a few minutes before moving on to the next one. (The process is pretty much the antithesis of the “predictive research” hiring we reported on last week, which uses all sorts of factors other than administrators’ gut instincts.)

One teacher described the speed dating event, which was held in a middle school gym, as “demeaning” to the profession and “sad.” Christina O’Reilly, a spokesperson for Providence Public Schools defended the “open match hiring process,” saying it “gave a chance for each teacher to make their best case about their own professional credentials to a principal who’s looking for someone to fill a position.”

As Harrison explains, teachers and principals ranked their top choices after meeting each other, and a computer program did the matching. The district’s chief operating officer told NPR, “Fortunately, very little of this will be manual.”

(Hmm...wonder what computer program they’re using ... eSchoolHarmony? Tdate? Match.edu?)

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.