Friday, August 7, 2015

Ready to Make a Move? Ask Questions!


I have been hesitant to publicly admit that I left the classroom because I was disgruntled, disheartened, and beaten. Although I have plenty of company with these emotions I wanted to write something productive.

It's been just over two years since I've been in the classroom. In that time I have been able to recognize my mistakes, heal, and plan. I currently do not have plans to return to the classroom. Nor do I believe in regrets. Instead, I believe we learn from our past. So, if I ever choose to return to the classroom there are a few things I would seek clarification on before doing so.

1) What does student engagement look like? Some confuse compliance with engagement. I'd want to ensure that students have autonomy in their learning, hands on learning experiences, and learning that relies on social interaction.

2) Tell me about recess. Do all children have the opportunity to participate in recess? How do staff respond to recess mistakes? What does recess duty look like?

3) What does home-school communication look like? Do staff reach out to families early on? Do they communicate positives for those children who struggle in school? How is learning communicated and shared?

4) What does school wide community look like? What are the common expectations for the children that all staff have agreed on and/or use? What is the school wide signal?

5) What does the adult community look like and how is that fostered by school leadership?

6) What are the current initiatives, programs, and/or learning approaches? Less is more unless there are connections. For example, Responsive Classroom and the workshop model compliment and support each other well.

7) Tell me about the evaluation process. I'd love to hear examples of positive and constructive feedback.

8) What do professional development and staff meetings look and feel like? Are they spent delivering information? Engaging staff through a variety of structures?

9) How are creativity, progressive teaching, and risk taking viewed by the administration and staff?

10) What do you see me contributing to your school community?

It's important to ask questions when considering a new position. Questions provide you with valuable insight to what you value and help you make an informed decision. What questions do you ask when you're considering a job?