- Why I’m Quitting After Only Two Weeks of a New School Year - August 31, 2016
- The Grieving Year: A Major Professional Error - July 20, 2016
- Travel for the Teacher: Better than Professional Development - July 5, 2016
- Dewey in 2016: Still Relevant? - June 20, 2016
- Should You Adjunct Teach? A Checklist for Potential Part-time Professors - June 14, 2016
- Transition Time: Finding the Right School Fit Over Summer - June 3, 2016
- Graduations, Endorphins, and Persistence - May 31, 2016
Summer means leaving a school for greener pastures for many educators, but how is one to know if the new school is going to be better? Here’s a brief checklist I’ve used during interviews in years past to figure out whether a school is a possible home or a major flop:
1. Outlook and attitude of the front office staff: Are they pleasant? Helpful? Do they seem genuinely happy to be there, even though it’s summer? In contrast, does there seem to be a negative vibe being transmitted by these first-impression folks? As the front line of presentation, the people who are working closest to a school’s administration should seem glad (if not excited) to be in their position. If you’re greeted with scowls, impatience, or bothered expressions, you may want to keep looking. These people, after all, are the countenance of the school, and who wants to join a frown?
2. The physical plant’s condition: Principals and teachers who take pride in their school will ensure that it sends a message of pride and professionalism, even during the off-season. Graffiti on walls or lockers, trash in the hallways, cracked masonry, broken wood, or other defects indicate that no one has cared or noticed enough to fill out a work order. Such schools encourage a culture of neglect, and you can bet that it affects the students you’ll be teaching. Why should they care if no one else does?
3. The principal’s office: If you’re invited to interview, look around you. Are most of the administrator’s items of décor self-centered (leader awards, recognitions, self-portraits)? Or does this person have student work, professional journals and books, and little reminders that show dedication to the kids and teachers? This isn’t to say that everything around you should scream “I Care!” Principals have the right to some personalization, too. But if the biggest centerpiece you see proclaims the administrator’s greatness, run the other direction.