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Wednesday, September 21, 2011
The Difference Between Smart Principals And Stupid Principals When Hiring Teachers For Their Vacancies.
Over the summer I applied to ten vacancies in my subject area and received not one interview. I had no better luck at the DOE "job fairs", as many of the interviewers (principals, assistant principals, deans, school secretaries? Who knows?) simply had a tag that said "interviewer". Was it my breath? Could it be I had body odor? Maybe it was the way I dressed? Of course the real reason was my age and salary. That brings me to the title of this post. "The difference between smart principals and stupid principals when hiring teachers for their vacancies".
Stupid principals, many of them "Leadership Academy Principals" (17% of the total Principal population) hired the most inexpensive teacher they could recruit, preferably one or two year novice and untenured teachers. Failing that, the stupid principals would hire "newbie teachers" from the alternate certification programs (Teach for America, Teaching Fellows) by falsely claiming that the available ATRs did not fit the school's vision. These stupid principals are now saddled with teachers that have little or no classroom experience, incomplete knowledge of the curriculum, and non-existent classroom management skills. In other words the stupid principals are "penny wise and dollar foolish" as they make the children guinea pigs and expose them to poor teaching as these "newbie/novice teachers" blunder their way through a school year while academically hurting the students that they are supposed to help. Occasionally, one of these teachers turns out to be a "diamond in the rough" and will eventually become a "quality teacher" but at what cost to student learning as many of these "newbies" can't teach and academically harm the children under his or her care?
Smart principals on the other hand hire few "newbie teachers" and wait to fill the vacancies once the school year starts. These principals interview ATRs during the first week or two and weed out the ones that don't seem to click. Some principals require the teacher to do a demonstration lesson in front of a live class to see how the interaction between the teacher and the class works. Furthermore, smart principals also know that the ATRs are free to them and it gives both sides a chance to see if it is a good fit. In fact the ATR saves the school money since Tweed actually picks up the salary for the school year. True, what happens the next year? Hopefully, the ATR and the smart Principal finds that the ATR is an asset to the school and will find a way to add the ATR to the budget. Potentially, it could be a win-win for all as the smart Principal gets a "quality teacher" the students advance academically, and the ATR can finally show the skills acquired through the years.
For the stupid principals it is "children last" as the school and the students are exposed to an unknown factor in helping them to achieve academic achievement. By contrast, for the smart Principal it is "children first" as the school obtains an experienced "quality teacher" at little or no cost to the school and if it works out, a win for all, especially the students.