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Innovative programs affect recruitment of teachers: aligning teaching talents and innovative curricula.

Instructional changes in education affect teacher recruitment. As more schools and their community members set goals based on their priorities, needs and resources, recruiters for these schools will hire new teachers whose knowledge and skills demonstrate their ability to work within the innovative programs these schools have developed. Recruiters will seek skilled teachers who envision the change process as well as the goal or mission of the school.

As these schools implement their plans to educate students, they work as a community, the members of which are each responsible for the results. This community process is evident with school-based management where administrators at the school rather than those at the central office departments make decisions that most directly affect students, their teachers and the instructional process. Teachers, students, parents and administrators participate in the decision-making process as schools set goals and develop instructional programs that result in student achievement. Collaboration among new and existing teachers builds supportive bonds and encourages collegiality.

Since the 1990-91 school year, Prince William County Public Schools, located in Northern Virginia, has operated under a school-based management philosophy. Several schools have special programs that focus on single and dual foreign language immersion, integrated thematic instruction, non-graded primary instruction, early intervention and "looping" wherein teachers stay with groups of students for more than one year.

Students interested in becoming teachers at schools with innovative programs are encouraged to become familiar with specific programs that require them to have innovative instructional strategies and take ownership of the position that they are seeking. They should look for positions that complement their approach to and style of teaching. Such positions will result in there being more successful teachers who retain their enthusiasm and desire to do something of value to help students learn.

New teachers uncommitted to and uninvolved in the innovative curricula their schools use may feel inadequate and soon become discouraged from passive, uninspired classroom experiences or they may be intimidated by other pressures. The important point is that new teachers need to align their own creative talents, skills and interests with innovative programs developed by individual schools.

Prepared answers

Students should be prepared to discuss the following: (a) a variety of teaching strategies and skills they have acquired through their student teaching experiences, (b) innovative projects they have developed for their students, (c) a lesson plan that went extremely well, (d) how they helped students achieve success, (e) their teaching style and how they would accommodate the different learning styles of students in their classes, (f) current trends in public education, and (g) contributions that they think they can make to a given school, and their perceptions of what teaching consists of.

Applicants' response should indicate that they understand the purposes, programs, methods and materials of instruction and that they are career-minded, understand the subject matter, and are enthusiastic about teaching!

Recruiters normally try to keep their questions focused on the students' actual experiences as opposed to vague and theoretical questions. They are looking for the presence of real talent and those who have credentials to meet the needs of their positions. All recruiters will agree that the quality of teaching in our schools is our highest priority.

Knowing School District

Recruiters are always impressed when students have taken the time to learn about the school district for which they are seeking positions, particularly if they are aware of specific innovative programs unique to that district. Students can find out about school divisions goals and philosophy, instructional programs, and teaching methods by asking the interviewer questions, using the Internet, reviewing the school division's handbook and other promotional literature and then writing to specific schools to request additional information about their programs that interest the teacher applicant.

Acquiring Skills for Innovative Programs

Students are expected to have acquired desirable instructional skills from their student teaching and other experiences that allow them to work with children. They also should have some idea of how they think and feel about teaching and should be able to discuss their vision of an ideal school with innovative instructional programs and strategies.

Information on Prince William County Public Schools

Prince William County is a national leader in site-based management of schools. It is the fourth largest school district in Virginia, employing 3,092 teachers. For further information, contact Darlene Faltz, Supervisor of Elementary and Special Education Personnel or Rick Fitzgerald, Supervisor of Secondary Personnel at (703) 791-8771.
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Author:Faltz, Darlene T.
Publication:The Black Collegian
Date:Feb 1, 1998
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