It sounds simple. Everyone knows what makes a good teacher, right? Surely the recruiter will review my resume, reference letters, and cover letter and see clearly that I am an effective teacher, worthy of a position at their school.
With a plethora of research to support that the quality of teaching is the most essential factor impacting learning, those documents alone are no longer sufficient. No conscientious recruiter will fall back on just those traditional tools. They are professionally obligated to have tangible, compelling evidence. And they are so right. Making the most important decision about a child’s education—selecting their teachers—is a daunting responsibility and, by a huge margin, is the most important thing school recruiters do.
But evidence of what, exactly? How are the recruiters defining “quality teaching”? How I teach? What I teach? How much my kids learned? How I work with others in the school? What I do outside the classroom?
Yes! All of the above! Both academic and action research on effective teaching have been extensive enough to have led to a strong consensus on the crucial components of effective teaching.
In the international school context, those crucial components have been articulated in a set of Standards of Practice for International School Teachers.
Sources of Evidence
What, specifically, forms evidence of each of those standards? For most of the standards, the evidence will come from one or more of these broad categories:
- Planning documents such as pacing guides, unit plans (written by you)
- Assessment tools and learning monitoring processes
- Learning tasks
- Classroom//online teaching observations
- Student learning data
- Communication tools
In general, evidence for most of the standards will take the form of artifacts: documents, videos, learning data charts, observation reports, etc.
Without a doubt, the most challenging standards for which to provide evidence are those that are almost exclusively qualitative—that is, those that set the standard for how you do your job: collaboration with colleagues, degree of support needed by leaders, conscious attention to your potential implicit bias, etc. For these standards, such recruiters will rely more heavily on reference letters or other perception evidence such as results of student or parent surveys. Fortunately, recruiters now have the possibility of writing their reference letters using the same teacher standards as the foundation of their letters, so their observations and comments can be directly aligned.
In forthcoming articles, we will give specific examples of the artifacts that constitute evidence of each individual standard.
And finally, a little advice. More is not necessarily better. An international school recruiter needing to hire even just a few teachers is unlikely to be able to or even need to have a mountain of artifacts to dig through for every candidate. So hone the skill of being laser-like selective on those that you know truly represent you as a “quality” teacher.
*Such standards also exist for heads, principals, teacher leaders, counselors and support personnel.