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The Work to Find New Teachers

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The average Bedford student sees seven curricular teachers throughout the school day. As classes rotate by bell, the teachers rotate, too: each one teaching a new subject and new lesson. Students have the same set of teachers over the course of the school year, and they become accustomed to seeing them daily. But the reality is, some teachers do retire, switch careers, go on maternity leave or move away and new teachers have to be hired annually to replace those who have left.

How are teachers hired? What goes into deciding the year-round educator for students?

As the school year starts to draw to a close, teachers think about retiring or moving onto other various schools and districts. In the summer of 2016, four new teachers who currently teach a core class or a language were hired to replace those who left. Additionally, two teachers were hired on staff positions and one was hired for maternity coverage. According to Dr. Rosen, on average, four to six new full-time teachers are hired each year. To ensure that Bedford has the most qualified staff possible, the candidates go through a specific process in order to be hired.

“The hiring of a teacher is one of our most important jobs,” says Dr. Adam Rosen, principal of Bedford. “We take it extremely seriously. It starts when we have a job opening. The opening is announced online, and candidates submit applications. Then, if it’s a job at Bedford, I review the application.”

The applications generally have a description of the candidate’s skill level and expertise, as well as a recommendation from a professor, Bedford teacher, or a school where they previously worked. As the applications are reviewed, the hiring process immediately begins as the candidates are narrowed down. The remaining applicants then continue through the process.

“We screen candidates by phone first. Applicants that we want to meet in person will be invited to the school by committee of the principal, the vice principals, and teachers. For example, if we are hiring a math teacher, we will have math teachers on the committee.” says Dr. Rosen.

“A committee, on average, will meet with about eight candidates. It usually takes the committee the entire day just to meet the candidates. This is called the initial interview. The committee will select two or three candidates after the initial interview to give demonstration lessons. At the end of each demonstration lesson, we ask our students for their feedback on the candidate.”

When asked what is looked for in a demonstration lesson, Dr. Rosen says, “Number one, we look for the candidate’s ability to make positive connections with students; that is there is a rapport. Next, we look for a student-centered learning experience. Last, we try to judge if the candidate will be a good fit for the Bedford team: we try to see if they will blend well with the other staff.”

Mrs. Elizabeth Smith, a science teacher and team leader in the sixth grade red pod, has experienced a demo lesson with students while hiring a science teacher last year.

“We look for someone who can engage and have a good connection with students. Someone who is organized and has thought through the needs of the class before they start, and someone with a very clear objective about what they want students to know at the end of class.” says Mrs. Smith.

“We will then select a finalist. Once we have a finalist, building administrators call phone references that they have on their application. We call them to discuss the candidate. The final step is to send the finalists to the superintendent of schools, Dr. Palmer. So, Dr. Palmer will interview the finalists in person at central office with the building principal. The superintendent is the only person authorized to hire teachers.” says Dr. Rosen.

Although the applicant is vying for a job at Bedford, Dr. Rosen can only recommend candidates to Dr. Palmer. The finally decision belongs to the superintendent only. Once she decides, the candidate will officially be hired.

This lengthy, complex process is very difficult to get through, but it’s the reason why Bedford is known for excellent academics. Ms. Alyssa Pepe, a social studies teacher in the seventh grade who was hired three years ago, agrees. “It was hard, but it felt great to know all my had hard work paid off.”

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Bedford Middle School's Scholastic News Source
The Work to Find New Teachers