In a message dated 06/09/2006 11:35:28 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
This is a situation that somewhat irks me about art teachers applying
for jobs. Does it seem that we're the only ones expected to have a
professional body of work, if not an actual exhibit schedule? Is the
language arts applicant expected to have published, or at least show the
Great American Novel in progress? Does the math applicant have to
develop new theories of algorithms in her spare time? Does the science
applicant spend the summer searching for a cure for cancer? Does the
P.E. teacher bring in a teaching portfolio in a gym bag?
The answer is "yes" to all of the above, if you are referring to an
EXTRAORDINARY teacher. He or she does not necessarily have had to win the Pultzer
Prize in his or her field, but, yes, needs to have excelled in that field in
some way outside the classroom, or at least be involved outside the classroom.
I'm referring to extrordinary teachers, not just very good or excellent
teachers. This, IMO, is what sets apart an exceptional teacher from a very good
When I am on an interview committee for a new teacher in my school, I want
to know what the applicant is doing outside the classroom and how this teacher
is bringing his or her life experiences to the classroom. I also want to
see examples of this reflected in the portfolio. An instrumental music
teacher, for example, who plays several instruments (and currently), and who
actively participates in his or her field, would have an advantage over the
non-practicing one. Also, important to me when picking a candidate, is if that
person attends professional conferences. This shows me how really interested
that person is about keeping current and creative in the field.
As an aside, I'll never forget the teacher who was applying for a third
grade position and wrote in the first paragraph of her application: My strength
and interests are in mathamatics- couldn't even spell mathematics correctly
in her introduction letter! I disqualified that candidate on that alone.
With more applicants than job openings, the teacher who is both articulate and
practicing would have an advantage over the one who is not, IMO.
Maggie, be sure to tell the interview committee how you never miss a
National Conference and why it's important to you to sitting in the first row of the
workshops, as well as present workshops!
Susan on Long Island