This guest post by John Spencer was previously published in the collaborative blog Teach Paperless.
What should an administrator look for when hiring a 21st Century teacher?
If a teacher can’t use an iPod or an iPad or a Chromebook or a laptop, that’s okay. A humble teacher can ask for help from fellow teachers, from students and from folks online.
If a teacher doesn’t quite get project-based learning, that’s okay. A humble teacher will watch and listen and be open to the major paradigm changes required to pull of a PBL framework.
If a teacher hasn’t heard of connected learning and has never developed a personal learning network, that’s okay. A humble teacher will learn to use Twitter and blogs and Facebook and whatever tools are necessary to learn. In an echo chamber of “I have an idea,” that teacher just might say, “I have a question.”
I’m not suggesting that administrators should deliberately search for unqualified candidates. Often, the most humble teachers have already done amazing things. Still, humility is the gateway to innovation and growth and sustainability. Humility works paradoxically to bring about greatness. Humility enables empathy and communication and collaboration that goes beyond the structures implemented by a school.
I’m not sure how you find humble teachers. I’m not sure there is a test for it. I’m not sure you can find it in an interview. It certainly isn’t a feature on a resume. However, if I was an administrator, I would try my hardest to recruit and retain humble teachers.