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What Schools Are Looking for in Teachers

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As a teacher recruiter, I am always asked: "What do schools look for in teacher candidates?" Every school would have unique "look fors", however there are some general characteristics. We look for seven characteristics:

1. Talent
2. Interpersonal skills
3. Knowledge
4. Motivators
5. Legal
6. Experience
7. Communication skills

The teacher candidate provides insight into many of these factors, sometimes unknowingly. I always stress that the job search process is a job in itself. That process needs to have time devoted to it. The time devoted to research, letter writing, interview preparation and job fair attendance are critical to success.

Jack Kronser, Director of Recruitment, Douglas County Schools


I have gone on numerous interviews. I have felt honored just to have these interviews with such terrific schools, however now I would like to have postive results. How as a new Special Education teacher get that first job? I have the education background, the experience and the love of special needs students. I just have not had any job offers, can you offer some advice?

I too have experienced difficulty in landing that first "full time" position. I am certified in both elementary and special education, have had several long term (7-12 week)sub positions for special ed. but keep being passed over for elementary positions as well as full time spec. ed ones too. My children are grown- thus no worries of "sick kids" at home or daycare issues, past child rearing/bearing age, and also have 6 years of working as a child specific aide under my belt! It is frustrating to finally get an interview for a possible position and then no call back, OR to have subbed in a district faithfully for almost 3 years and still be overlooked for new hires. What, if anything can help to get me that desperately desired full time position? Many say it is the "politics" of a district that decide but I'm not sure if I totally go along with that theory!

I happen to work in Mr. Kronser's district, and have for 7 years . . . I know of a woman in our district who possesses ALL of the qualifications listed above, and then some, who has now been on 50 interviews --- yes, 50! --- WITHIN the district, but hasn't had an offer yet. When Mr. Kronser and other hiring "officials" were questioned as to how something like this could happen, it was pointed out that "like" will hire "like." In other words, her age plays a #1 spot, above Talent. Our district hires a lot of newbies or very young applicants . . . but you're really stuck once you mature. Experience shouldn't be so low on the "look for" list . . .

Well, once again the "newbies" get the job and the applicants with lots of classroom experiences of varied types and levels AND lifetime experience are not given the job. I interviewed last week for 6 possible positions in special education and even got to the second interview FINALLY! Only to be told that the school board hired "other candidates". When standing in the waiting room amongst the young, new graduates who are the same age as my own children, I had to wonder if i would be willing to hire someone so young in comparison to someone who obviously showed focus, will, drive and determination to get their teaching degree at an older age. If I were sitting on that board, would I make the same decision? Although we all know that they cannot SAY that age plays a big determination in who gets hired for teaching positions as much as "who we know" on the board of a district. Isn't it a shame that we once looked at those "older" as being wise, experienced, etc.... but that no longer seems to be the case! School districts need to stop looking so much at the youthfulness of the candidates; but also the greater chance of their candidates getting married, moving away shortly after being hired, maternity leave, etc....
Wouldn't it make more sense for them to consider which candidates they would need to hire long-term subs for, which ones would leave quickly and which would be there in their district for the long haul, etc.
Makes one wonder doesn't it?
Oh, and the other big issue around here is "WHAT SPORT COULD YOU COACH IF WE HIRED YOU???" Does my not being qualified to coach a sport actually make that big of a determination as to whether I am considered for TEACHING job??? What does that say about the importance of sports in our districts?

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  • Marcie: Well, once again the "newbies" get the job and the read more
  • Anon: I happen to work in Mr. Kronser's district, and have read more
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  • Ann Mitchell: I have gone on numerous interviews. I have felt honored read more