Today I asked our question: “What did you do in school today?” of Rich Czyz, a director of Curriculum and Instruction living in Pennsylvania and working in New Jersey. This series of blog posts includes responses to our question from educators from all over the world, of all content areas, in all grade levels, and in various teaching assignments so that together, we will have a better understanding of what is happening TODAY IN SCHOOL. For more information about this series or to write your own response to the question, please visit this page.
June 25, 2015
For the last few weeks, I have been involved in our district’s interview process to fill several vacant positions. This process can sometimes prove to be tedious, sitting through multiple interviews, listening to similar answers, and often working through lunch.
However, on a day like today, the positives outweigh the negatives. Today was one of those days where you come to appreciate why you became an educator in the first place. Today was one of those days when you realize that there is a generation of new teachers who are looking to make a difference for students.
Several candidates interviewing for teaching positions demonstrated a particular confidence, an honesty in detailing how they would help struggling students, as well as the right amount of humility in admitting that even they don’t have all the answers.
What impressed me most about the candidates that we interviewed today was their commitment to students. One of the questions that we asked each candidate was: “How do you help ALL students in the classroom?” As a teacher, you often encounter a wide range of skill levels and abilities in your classroom. Many students might be on task but require some assistance. Some students may be struggling, while others have grasped the concept and are ready to move on. One of the most difficult things to do as a teacher is to be able to meet the needs of ALL students. Most of our interviewees alluded to this fact, but were still prepared with a variety of suggestions and strategies for how they would address this same situation in the classroom.
Not every answer was a perfect answer, but for those successful candidates, they demonstrated a commitment to doing the right thing for students. On my first day of teaching, my mentor gave me a very simple piece of advice. She said, “Every decision that you ever make should be made in the best interests of students.” While sitting through a full day of interviews, I was again reminded of this wisdom. The interview process can sometimes be overwhelming, when it seems as if you can’t find the right candidate. Today, however, was different! I again renewed my belief in educating children-why we wait for the right candidate, the person who will make a difference in the lives of children every single day.
Rich Czyz is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction in the Stafford Township School District in New Jersey. He is a former 5th grade and basic skills teacher. Rich is the co-creator of the Four O’Clock Faculty website and education blog, which can be found at www.fouroclockfaculty.com. He can be found on Twitter at @RACzyz.