Tuesday, August 4, 2015

A Powerful Question About Your School's Culture

Just before the end of the 2014-15 school year, I found my mind blown by a powerful question about my school's culture. As I wrapped up an interview for a teaching position with a bright, young teacher, I asked if he had any questions for me before we concluded our time together. One of the questions he asked nearly knocked me out of my chair because no one had ever asked me this question before. Indeed, I'd never heard the question before. The question: Which students are the celebrities in your school?

Let that resonate for a moment...

Which students are the celebrities in your school?

Whether your school is an elementary, middle or high school, whether your school is public or private, whether your school is pre-college or collegiate, this question can bring things into focus quickly for you. If you answer this question objectively and honestly, you can't help but gain some valuable insight into the culture of your school. If your goal is to be honest and introspective, there is no right or wrong answer. However, the honest answer certainly is a window into the very heart of what makes your school unique, what defines your school, what your school is all about. The answer to this question goes a long way to capturing the essence of your school culture.

As the school year gets underway, I challenge you to consider which students are the celebrities in your school.

In case you're wondering, I hired that young teacher and I fully expect that he's going to be a difference maker for my students.

1 comment:

Tanya McMillian said...

Indeed, that was an interesting question from an interviewee. What is more intriguing to me is what your reasoning for hiring the candidate was. Could it have been his candid question or simply the interview experience all together? I would love more context of the question.

I work in higher education for a private graduate school. If I consider who the "celebrities" are here, I think about our academic achievers (the 4.0 GPA'ers). They stand out because of the undeniable dedication to their educational experience at the institution. I wonder if your candidate were referring to that group of "celebrities" or was he talking about the "popular kids"? Because we all know the smartest kids are not always the most popular.

Anyhow, I imagine he was hired because it was obvious he intends to be impressionable and make a determined difference in the lives and classroom experiences of his students.