Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Playing the Field

A few weeks ago, the ESOL department at my school learned that one of our colleagues decided to leave the teaching field early in his career.  We were lucky enough to find an experienced long-term sub (a retired teacher) to take his place while we have been seeking a replacement.  As many of you know, ESOL is considered a shortage area in most of the country and finding a qualified teacher in general can be tough.  Finding one after the school year has already started can be nearly impossible.

While I was in New England last week, my principal interviewed a candidate who will finish his degree this month.  Rather than immediately accept a position based on a conversation with the principal, he requested the opportunity to shadow teachers before he makes his final decision.  I think that the idea is absolutely brilliant.  As much as we desperately need a teacher, we need more than just an individual with an active pulse. We need someone who feels comfortable teaching our students and interacting with the staff.

Upon meeting the candidate and being debriefed on the situation, I arranged for him to shadow three different classes.  I periodically checked in with him and left him my contact information.  At the end of the day, I learned from one of my department members that the candidate spent the morning at another middle school and that we are in a Hunger Games type competition.  The victor will get a certified, bi-lingual ESOL teacher.  May the odds be ever in our favor.

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