My top ten list for hiring new teachers

job-interviewWhen it comes to hiring a new faculty member for next year, what qualities are you seeking? Allow me to encourage you to consider some recent research done by Dr. Laurie Matthias, assistant professor of education at Trinity International University. She wondered what themes and qualities would emerge from studying professors considered exemplary by their peers in the integration of faith and learning at Wheaton College. She discovered a common core virtue of integrity/wholeness in these individuals. This sense of integrity and wholeness resulted from these characteristics: genuine faith, an attitude of humility, passion for their academic discipline, and openness to change.

I certainly agree with her assessment and submit this attempt as a “Top Ten” list of qualities needed in a Christian teacher:

  1. Passion for God, kids, subject – in that order
  2. Desire for, and skill in, nurturing faith in kids
  3. Integrity – wholeness as a person (see above!)
  4. Strong emotional intelligence (what we sense about others and what we do with that awareness)
  5. Curiosity/creativity
  6. Team player – working well with others
  7. Commitment to personal learning and flexibility with change
  8. Strong understanding of biblical perspective and skill in revealing God’s truth in the curriculum
  9. Desire to build community within classroom and school
  10. Sense of humor

What would you add or subtract?



Filed under change, distinctively Christian, leadership, staff development

2 responses to “My top ten list for hiring new teachers

  1. I like this list, but I have a hard time keeping more than about five things in mind when I am in an interview. I get that from baseball, where a great player is said to have five tools. I then like to identify which tools of teaching that I might need more of on my staff, assuming that no one teacher is 100% competent in all areas. Here are my five tools of teaching.

    Learner – Does the person demonstrate that they are a lifelong learner and want to create learning communities around them? What do they do to learn more about God, their content area, and learning. This includes building learning communities in the staff and the students. This incorporates pieces of 5, 6, 7 and 9.

    Spirituality – What does the person do in response to their faith? This incorporates pieces of 1, 2, 3 and 8.

    SIBKIS – See It Big, Keep It Simple. All teachers have to see everything as a big deal, but be able to explain that simply. This includes being excited about content like imagine that biology teacher you had who could hardly contain their excitement for mitochondria. It includes being excited about simple progress in kid like the teacher who pulled me aside and told me to teach. This really makes teachers more fun and engaging. This incorporates pieces of 2, 4, 5 and 10.

    Child Management – Surprised that this did not appear in the list above, but there is something essential and I think natural about this. What do you do with misbehavior? What do you do with really good behavior? Can you command some attention? This incorporates 9.

    Relevant – Teachers need to have a connection to students and their world. They need to make meaning for kids by taking the content that they are responsible for and hanging it on hooks that students already have in their brains. As you hang stuff on these hooks you get more room to hang more of the content that is part of content a teacher needs to teach. To me, a new teacher who you are hiring into a high school had better have a Facebook account. There are hundreds of other ways to make these connections, like sports, theater, extra curricular, church, movies, books, music and television, but if there is no overlap of interest the teacher starts with a deficit. This incorporates 3, 4, 7, 9 and 10.

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