- As schools look to hire and retain more teachers and educators struggle to find the right fit, a hiring tool called Selected, which is being used by more than 650 schools across urban areas in seven states, helps both parties get what they want, Emily Langhorne, a policy analyst for the Reinventing America's Schools project at The Progressive Policy Institute, writes in a column in Forbes.
- The platform, which launched in 2016, lets teachers fill out profiles with their experience level, preferred school culture and answers to questions about instructional models, disciplinary systems and curriculum structures. Schools also fill out profiles with their names, locations, demographics and other information. Then, the app uses algorithms to match teachers with their best-fit schools, and schools get a list of teachers who meet their requirements, prioritizing those who look to fit best culturally, Langhorne wrote.
- Teachers can use the service for free, and schools and districts only pay a fee if they hire a candidate that they found on the app. The system seems to be especially useful for autonomous charter schools, Langhorne said, which can be more selective in hiring teachers but also face more difficulty in making themselves visible. But, she added, that while Selected is a good tool for recruiting best-fit teachers, it’s not a substitute for organizational change.
Educators and administrators have long been searching for solutions to address teacher recruitment and retention issues that continue to impact schools and students. Over the past several years, schools have grappled with significant teacher shortages, and classrooms have started school years with insufficient numbers of teachers or teachers who don't have the experience and qualifications they need to be leading a classroom. And in many cases, schools that are able to recruit educators are susceptible to losing them — including during the academic year.
There are multiple steps schools can take to make sure the hiring process is successful in the long run. Schools must be up front about qualifications, but in a time when the number of qualified teachers is too low, they can take steps to increase the pool by helping current or future educators get the degrees and certifications they need to return to the classroom. Other initiatives, like teacher residency programs and service scholarships, can further incentivize and motivate people to become or remain a part of the teaching profession.
Qualifications are an important piece of the puzzle, but school culture is another equally integral piece of a work environment. Making sure teachers and school district members align and get along is an essential piece of creating and maintaining a positive learning environment, and even if it seems like the right fit after job screens and interviews, the work shouldn't stop there. If the teacher is hired, both parties need to continue putting the time and effort into making sure it's a good fit; otherwise, the increasingly likely onset of midyear attrition will further damage schools' — and their students' — ability to succeed.
For schools, that means creating a more positive school environment, which will help make teachers more comfortable and welcome, and administrators being responsible for giving educators a platform to have a voice in school matters. Giving teachers the support and resources they need, as well as checking in with them regularly to see how they're doing, are also steps school leaders can take to monitor and support should the well-being of their staff.
Meanwhile, during the hiring process, teachers should make sure to examine the community in which a school district sits before deciding whether to accept a job there.