Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

If You’re Not Listening for These 4 Phrases When Hiring Teachers, You’re Missing Out

Finding and hiring top teachers is one of the most important recruiting jobs. You’re the ringleader of the show when it comes to who will be educating our future leaders. Unfortunately, it isn’t boom and suddenly you’re hiring teachers who are the best on the job market.

Hiring future-molding, groundbreaking teachers requires a deep focus and attention to even the smallest details. To catch those tiny details, it’s critical that you understand the constant changes and immense pressure teachers deal with on a daily basis.

While a recent report from EmeraldInsight found districts are asking principals to make the final hiring decisions, those final calls are only as strong as the candidates given to them. As you’re tasked with the challenge of narrowing their options down, you must familiarize yourself with everything from new state programs to qualifications, education, and backgrounds.

To dig deeper and find those inspirational and dedicated teachers, know these four key phrases:

1.“I’m trained in interdisciplinary teaching approaches.”

When hiring teachers, you need to first understand the needs of students currently in the school system. The world is constantly changing around us, so it’s necessary to find teachers who have the ability to evolve and relate with students.

Today’s youth, for example, are dealing with complicated, multifaceted challenges due to various cultural and social aspects. According to a 2018 case study, the opportunity for learning is limited by these cultural and social differences. Interdisciplinary teaching, however, creates a virtual ‘third space’ where students are influenced by multiple teachers, perspectives, and teaching styles.

The case study found this third space stimulates critical thinking, develops knowledge, and helps students open up to different perspectives. Hiring teachers who are willing to collaborate with others on one subject matter shows their open-mindedness is evolving with the times. As you look for educators who have the ability to nurture students into a better educational and social future, this is an important phrase to keep in mind.

2. “I’ve noticed that…”

Education is an ever-evolving field and top teachers focus on those evolutions and changes. This means, as you’re interviewing teachers, you need to determine how in tune they are with the world around them.

Listen closely. When you ask them to explain what inspires them to teach, are they giving you generic answers? “They want to motivate students,” “they love nurturing,” “this was their one true calling” — and the list goes on. Or are they going beyond those statements and sharing a story with you. For example:

  • “I love motivating my students. I’ve noticed  the more excited I am to teach them a lesson, the more excited they are to learn.”
  • “I’ve noticed students are coming to school more drained and exhausted than ever. My goal is to nurture them and make them feel comfortable in their learning environment.”
  • “This always felt like my one true calling but as I see the impact of my work, I realize just how much I care for each individual student.”

Those who go deeper into their surroundings prove they’re focused on both their students’ educational outcomes and their own personal goals.

3. “I altered my approach because…”

Teachers are the ultimate motivators of change — and the masters of change itself. As they motivate students to deal with unpredictability, they’re tackling it themselves, constantly. It’s their duty to lead by this moral example in their own teaching methods.

Hiring teachers who are able to adapt — and teach students how to do the same — will mold our future leaders into the ultimate influencers. This result will come from students seeing their teachers and mentors using appropriate coping mechanisms and altering their original approach until the desired results are achieved.

During the hiring process, keep a keen eye out for those who use phrases like, “I altered my approach…,” “I looked at it from a different angle…,” “Together we found a better solution…”

4. “Through peer-mentoring, I helped another teacher…” or “Through teamwork, we accomplished…”

A mindblowing 90 percent of open teaching positions are created by teachers who leave the profession entirely, according to a 2017 Learning Policy Institute report, Teacher Turnover: Why It Matters and What We Can Do About It. The report found one of the key reasons teachers are leaving is due to a lack of administrative support.

To put out this retention fire, the Brevard Federation of Teachers (BFT) is using a three-year, $600,000 grant from the NEA Great Public Schools fund to create a union-run orientation program where veteran teachers create meaningful mentorships with new teachers. Through this program, they’re finding new teachers feel supported and ready to take on another year of teaching.

Seek out teachers who are already onboard with mentoring colleagues. Some applicants may stand out because they have the perfect qualifications, education, and skill set. However, if they’re unwilling to create a better school system through teamwork and mentorship, they’re not the best pick for your district.

What keywords or phrases do you watch out for when hiring top teachers? Teach us your secrets!

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 5,000+ customers in over 100 countries.