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Are Teachers Hired by Personality?

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A few years ago I attended an AAEE (American Association for Employment in Education) national conference. The conference attendees were abuzz over a statement made by a recruiter. The statement was in essence that a teacher is hired because of his or her personality.

College and university faculty and career services personnel were very upset. How could someone think that a teacher was hired because of personality? What about the years of training and education? Didn’t those years of education mean anything?

After pondering the idea of personality as the reason for hire I came to the following conclusion. Both the recruiter and the faculty were correct! The student was hired because of personality. The teacher had reached a certain level of expertise as defined by the completed level of education. That level of expertise was a given for each graduate. In other words, the knowledge needed to be a good teacher had been achieved through education, but the intangibles were defined by the person himself or herself. If this were not so the teachers that had the highest GPA would be hired and there would be no need for an interview process.

This may be the reason that passing a Praxis test does not necessarily qualify someone as a good teacher. It does acknowledge a level of competency but it does not measure the level of a teacher’s compassion and care for students, ability to reach students, ability to nurture students, etc. This is also the reason that robots or computers do not teach classes.

I believe that the hiring process still boils down to the handshake, the presentation, and the warm feeling that is generated by a personal connection.

-Bob Maxfield, Director
Brigham Young University - Idaho Teacher Career Services

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