Unlike too many schools, we are in a position to hire. Last week, we interviewed candidates for two positions in my department--one replacing an irreplaceable veteran moving on to retirement, the other filling a new position resulting from enrollment growth.
In total, we had over 70 applications submitted.
We narrowed it to the interview pool, and each interview was impressive enough to warrant an offer. That's a good problem to have.
In a break between candidates, my administrator, fellow humanities teacher and I started talking about how we would answer the questions we were posing to these candidates. We were asking them to deconstruct their lesson planning process, evaluate their own teaching, outline not only their management philosophy but also the practices that they find successful or challenging. We asked about standards, technology, collaboration, pedagogy, parent relationships, discipline...and more.
Obviously, when looking for a job a good candidate will expect to have to put all this on display. A well prepared candidate will have already anticipated this kind of scrutiny and be ready with details about his or her own practice.
And in the past, the reality has been that after the job interview, most teachers are never asked to do that depth of thinking about their own practice. Ever. Again. The interview was the gate, we said the magic words, and we passed through into our classrooms where we could shut the door and be the professionals we proposed ourselves to be in that interview.