Sunday, June 29, 2014

What Book Are You Reading?

Tis the season to interview teachers,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Yup, its that time of year again. Time to sit in the conference room and interview prospective teachers. Individuals who are going to help drive the learning process of what could potentially be generations of students within your building. This is NOT a subject that should be taken lightly.

Having worked almost ten years as an administrator, I've seen it all when it comes to job interviews. I've also learned a lot, like which interview questions have the greatest impact. A couple of years ago, our school division administrators participated in a summer read of Donnalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer. In that book she mentions job interviews and asking prospective teachers, "what book have you read recently"?

After reading her book, I tried this while interviewing a potential language arts teacher. Her response: "I haven't read anything recently. It's summer vacation!" Ironically, if she hadn't answered that single question in the way she had, she would have gotten the job.

To say the least, I now ask this simple question to every single person I interview for teaching positions. I do this for a couple of reasons. First, I do this to avoid hiring people who answer questions in the manner answered above. Second, I often learn something new. The answer to this question may give me insight to the person I'm about to hire. Frankly, I don't necessarily care what someone reads over the summer, as long as they are reading something, and they are passionate about what they share.

In addition, asking someone what they have read recently may also give me a lead on my own next summer read! From interviews, I've learned about Daniel Pink's Drive, about Tony Dungy's Uncommon and about Jim Knight's Instructional Coaching. The information I gained from these books have been worth so much to me.

The next time you are interviewing possible teacher candidates, ask this question. You may take away more from that question than you do from the entire interview!

By the way, I just finished up Janet Evanovich's Top Seceret Twenty-One and I enjoyed EVERY minute of it!

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