As I mentioned in the last blog post, The Equity Project will be staffing its school with what it considers the best group of teachers money can buy. The Equity Project puts its money where its mouth is by paying its teachers $125,000 annually. This statement begs the question, "How does one find a teacher worthy of $125,000 per year?" Let's look at The Equity Project's answer.
The Equity Project believes the key to a successful school hinges on having the best teachers in the classrooms. To find the best teachers, by TEP standards, The Equity Project launched a national search. To be considered for a position with The Equity Project, teachers had to meet the following "Rigorous Qualifications." The text below in italics came directly from the TEP website. My comments follow the italicized sections below.
(1) Expert Subject-Area Knowledge demonstrated through
- (a) undergraduate and/or graduate coursework and excellent grades in the relevant subject area
- (b) an original piece of writing on any topic in the subject-area
- (c) a written analysis of a pedagogical issue related to the subject area
Item a makes a great deal of sense to me. I received a number of applications from candidates this year who had Cs, Ds, Fs and Ws (withdraw) on their transcript in their subject area. Needless to say, those candidates probably still are looking for a job. I love the idea of items b and c. These at least partially demonstrate the extent to which a teacher has pondered and considered a topic or issue in his/her subject area. I want thinkers on my team.
(2) Teaching Expertise and Experience demonstrated through
- (a) the submission of TWO of the following three items
- (i) an unedited video clip of a lesson, accompanied by a written narrative that analyzes and reflects upon the teaching and learning that occurs in the lesson
- (ii)a portfolio of student work that demonstrates the progress of 2 specific students, accompanied by a written narrative that analyzes the progress that each student demonstrates
- (iii) assessment data for at least one entire class of students accompanied by a written narrative that provides background on the assessments and analyzes the data
(b) the submission of one additional piece of evidence of any form demonstrating student learning
- (c) an essay describing personal pedagogical beliefs and approach
- (d) a day-long teaching audition (either in the candidate’s classroom or in a TEP classroom)
(3) Strong Curriculum Development Ability demonstrated through
- (a) one originally developed and refined curricular tool of any form (e.g. written materials, instructional methodology, technological innovation)
(4) Outstanding Verbal Ability demonstrated through
- (a) the quality of the written work submitted in the application
- (b) communication skills demonstrated in the day-long teaching audition
When I receive poorly written cover letters I usually dismiss the entire submission. I believe item (a) carries a great deal of weight. Item (b), as I already stated, is a mixed bag for me. I certainly would be in favor of observing a candidate in his/her own environment as opposed to an audition in my school. Of course my students will behave perfectly and get into a lesson if there is a guest teacher being observed by a host of administrators. In the candidate's own classroom, however, a keen observer should be able to discern to what extent the teacher is conducting business as usual or is putting on a show. The reality of this idea, however, lies in the issue of what administrator at another school would allow one of the school's best teachers to be observed by another school hoping to cherrypick that teacher.
All italicized text above taken from The Equity Project page on Rigorous Qualifications.
While the Rigorous Qualifications for The Equity Project may or may not line up exactly with the hiring process you use in your school, it does provide educational leaders with a nice framework for the hiring process. One certainly could do worse than using the TEP Rigorous Qualifications as a model for hiring teachers. It certainly has given me some ideas about raising the bar for applicants next year.