Just a Little Louisiana Gumbo - Part 5
This is the final blog in a five-week series for the month of March featuring "GUMBO" tips. Here we go with the letter: O
OPEN YOURSELF TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES
New teachers must OPEN themselves up to new experiences. The value of these experiences can't be quantified. Don't be afraid to interview at a school that you are not familiar with and definitely don't let other teachers discourage you from exploring these opportunities. I am amazed at the number of student teachers who apply to our district, but only want to visit or interview with the magnet schools or our schools in the most affluent communities. I've had new teachers who only wanted the most urban schools in our district and refused to interview with a high performing school that had a vacancy. These teachers were close-minded because of what they heard about the school from people who had never visited the school they were verbally tearing down.
Districts and school administrators must be willing to OPEN up to new opportunities as well. If the local universities are not producing the number of graduates that you need to fill the teaching vacancies at your school, then you need to go where there is a surplus market. It has been a hard sell in my district to make others understand that we will need to seriously look at recruiting out-of-state for teachers. We must be open to recruiting in different states to bring talent to our students. The results of this new endeavor have been worth the effort. I will not say that we have it all down pat, but we are working in that direction. Recruitment, retention, and staffing are more often an afterthought in many school systems. They only focus on it when it is too late and school has started, therefore no teachers are available. To put it mildly, they wait until the house is on fire to think about installing smoke detectors and a sprinkler system.
I wish everyone the best of luck during this recruitment season. Remember to: Get Real, Understand Diversity, Make Connections, Bring Your Best, and Open Yourself to New Opportunities.
Daphne Donaldson, Recruitment Manager
East Baton Rouge Parish School System
Baton Rouge, Louisiana