Just a Little Louisiana Gumbo - Part 1
We are wrapping up the most exciting time of year for most Louisianans, Mardi Gras. Parades are hosted all over the state and yes, we get out of school for the holiday. (We're just different in Louisiana.) So, in the spirit of Louisiana culture I want to share some Louisiana GUMBO for future educators, site based administrators and K12 Human Resources departments as they embark on my personal favorite time of year: Recruitment Season. I want to take this opportunity to speak to all parties in the market of supplying, hiring, and becoming the next generation of educators. This is an amazing marketplace that looks different in each state, but the important thing is that to be successful in this marketplace, everyone must adapt and adjust to the market.
This is the first blog in a five-week series for the month of March featuring "GUMBO" tips. Here we go with the letter: G
Future teachers must be realistic about the profession that they are entering. One of the worst answers I get from future teachers is that "I decided to become a teacher because I liked school." Why is that a bad answer? Being a teacher is not like being a student and embarking on this profession is not about your own egocentric focus on yourself, but should be focused on the children you will serve in the classroom. A teacher holds a child's future in their hands for nine months. I am always impressed by those candidates who know that this profession starts with the heart first. Don't get me wrong; nothing is wrong with loving school as a student or to be inspired by a teacher through your life journey. Get real!! You have to love the children first. When you put them first, you don't worry about changing mandates, policies, and politicians. You make it happen for the children in your classroom, with no excuses.
Schools and district administrators must be realistic and understand that no new teacher will be perfect out of the gate. They need support and nurturing. The old fashion philosophies of "Sink or swim" and "Give them the keys to the classroom and leave" are unfair to this new generation of teachers. It is a disservice to our profession and to the students when new teachers are thrown into classrooms without support. Use your existing faculty and staff to build a culture of success for newbies coming to your school. Why do this? Word always gets out regarding how a school treats their teachers. That negative image impacts your employer brand and will hurt you when looking for teachers in the future.
Daphne Donaldson, Recruitment Manager
East Baton Rouge Parish School System
Baton Rouge, Louisiana