Earlier this week I was reading an article on teacher absenteeism and its extent and the impact on student achievement. We know that teacher quality is one on the largest factors is raising student achievement outside the influences of the home. While some schools have difficulty with teacher absenteeism Dar Al Marefa has a very low absentee rate.
Interestingly at this time of the year, as we embark on recruitment for the new academic year ahead an erroneous perception is that here at Dar Al Marefa we are somehow “lucky” because we have and are able to attract “good” staff who are committed and dedicated to their profession.
We at Dar Al Marefa have a strong recruitment process and know that “You are who you recruit. That it is a reflection of yourself” and we begin with ensuring we have a clear position description (ie identifying what is the job we are recruiting for, identifying the difference in what teachers do in our school)
As our short listing avoids perceived bias and not making decisions solely based on information, (ie name, location, qualification) ensuring a question list is used for scoring applicants. Our interview techniques focus on ensuring a comfortable environment is used; that questions are open ended and linked linked to the job description. Each question should be able to be scored. In providing scenario questions we ensure the panel doesn’t do all the talking.
Consequently we are able to recruit good staff and they are committed and dedicated but it has very little to do with luck. They are good because we deliberately target and recruit the best staff available; we clearly communicate the standards and quality expected; we support and assist them to reach those standards through ongoing professional development and they are monitored through a well-established and rigorous appraisal system.
The teachers we place in front of each class are expected to rise to the challenge of becoming life-long learners, continually improving and developing their skills. They set “SMART” (Specific; Measurable; Attainable; Realistic and Timely) professional development goals for themselves. They do this because of expectations and an obligation they have to themselves, to the school and to their students. They take their place in and role model the work ethic that goes with a legitimate learning community and it is this attitude combined with sheer hard work that provides the foundation for the quality and standards of education enjoyed throughout the Dar Al Marefa Community.
Remember, you are who you recruit.