Who do you want to work with?

Nov 29, 2010 by     26 Comments    Posted under: The Teacher

With the recruiting season just kicking off we have been thinking about what makes the ideal teacher.

We have already asked students and parents, but now it is time to hear from the teachers.

So who would you want to work with? What characteristics would you be looking for?

Please leave your thoughts and encourage your colleagues to do so as well.

The Waterford School

26 Comments + Add Comment

  • equal value- Competence & Caring

  • I like to work with people who are collaborative. They understand their role in the team and like to make sure their carry out their responsibilities. They are enthusiastic about learning and improving their practice – they want to learn more about different educational theories and practices to improve student learning. In all their planning, they put their students needs in the forefront of their thinking and let them inform their teaching.
    I like to work with people who are open minded and caring educators always showing respect for each student no matter what their skills and competence. I like to work with people who are internationally minded global citizens with social conscience. Sounding too idealistic? Not tue, the team I am working with right now fits most of these expectations!

    • You took the words right out of my mouth!
      Collaborative, community minded, teaching that is thoughtful, caring with others, and passionate about teaching and learning.
      What a great year 3 team we have!

  • I think the main thing I look for in my colleagues is a passion for teaching, and a desire to continuously improve. It sounds obvious… but actually people like that are quite rare.

    I work with the IB Primary Years Programme and I really strive to have colleagues who “get it”! Teaching through inquiry and with a transdisciplinary approach is quite a challenge, and you really have to get it to do it.

    • I have been thinking more about this, and I remembered how powerful one of the Seven Norms of Collaboration is: “presuming positive presuppositions”. This means that we always make the effort to presume that our colleagues are doing and saying things with the best of intentions. This can be very difficult at times, particularly if you can see no sense in their actions or words. However, we need to put things in perspective and presume that our colleagues mean well and that there are usually valid reasons why they do and say what they do.

  • Definitely innovative collaborators! Open to new ideas and willing to build curriculum with meaning, contextual learning. A willingness to explore the benefits of technology and to learn how to use it as well knowledge and capabilities of differentiating learning in the classroom..

  • Sense of humor!!

  • My ideal colleague would do all that is written above. I believe that it should be an expectation that teachers collaborate and live the PYP profile (if in that setting) but my top 3 criteria is:

    – likes children and is passionate about their chosen vocation. Sounds simple but not always so.

    – strives for continual improvement. Even if they don’t “get-it” like Sam says, they strive to, and will continue to have professional conversations, read widely, attend PD and try (and perhaps fail at times) until they do “get-it”

    – does not take themselves too seriously and can make the distinction between professional & personal. Teaching is not a competitive sport – share ideas freely and great rewards shall be yours 🙂

  • Hmmmm – I agree with you Sim, teachers actually need to “like” kids and, sad to say, I have met quite a few who are proud to profess that they don’t. Unbelievable.

    A good teacher and colleague also needs to be able to let go of the power and be willing to change or mould their plans to suit the children in their class. To actually listen to their ideas and give them the time to develop them.

    Teachers who are great to work with are those who “think outside the box” – sounds like a cliche, I know. But so true. Someone who can see things from many different perspectives and has the creativity to apply this in their teaching.

    As others said above, the ability to share freely without that sense of jealous ownership of ideas because it’s not about your ego, it’s about your students.

    • Flexibility and group ownership. I agree!

  • The teachers I most enjoy working with are the ones who are open-minded to new ideas. I love learning new things and I love working with people who want to learn and move forwards too.

    I really like working with teachers who are collaborative and who want to create something together (which is different from just sharing what they are doing).

    I also like working with people who are social and supportive.

  • It’s difficult to add any more to what has been written above but I will post from my best experiences what made the ‘best’ teachers experiences:

    1. passionate about teaching and learning
    2. well read, knowledgeable and up to date
    3. gets the PYP and inquiry learning
    4. even if they don’t get it – tries through personal PD (see point 2).
    5. prepared to try inquiry out themselves – eg. a favourite moment was acting out how the earth rotates round the sun with a colleague so we could help our students understand it in a different way. So must have a sense of humour there!!
    6. collaborative, creative and definitely out of the box thinkers.
    7. can have a heated discussion and then go for coffee and cake after – cos it’s about the subject, not the person!!
    8. prepared to try new things because the group of kids are probably/possibly different to the year before.

  • I agree with one of the first posts (Maija) about teaching colleagues; but considering 360 degree feedback, I really appreciate those in Admin who listen to the ones on the “front line”, who throw the “unworkable” out with the recycling and who are prepared to seriously consider making the unusual and innovative possible, who are still humble enough to believe that they have things to learn about life in the classroom. Oh, and perhaps a comment that shouldn’t be included in a website about educators: I applaud those members of Admin who are not “led” by the “Business Plan” or the “Public Relations Coup”, but who believe in sensible choices for educating children.

  • Fun, self-depreciating, friendly, have ‘the knack’ rapport with kids. This is by far the most important quality. The rest has value but can be learned.

  • The ideas of the teachers above certainly resonate with me – for what it’s worth, here are my two cents:

    I would like to work with teachers who:

    – are never finished learning, and who are always keen to learn more.
    – are willing to take risks and try new things, even if they might fail (especially with technology)
    – aren’t afraid of making mistakes, especially in front of kids.
    – are prepared to do more than ‘just enough’
    – love collaborating with others
    – are internationally-minded
    – have fun
    – see teaching as a vocation, not a second-best option

    Keri-Lee 🙂

  • Agree with Christopher Frost. Also, all of the above sounds wonderful but it’s important to have a balance like anything else in life. I would be concerned about the teachers who only read PD related stuff because they have no time to read anything else, spend weekends working and generally don’t have much of a life outside of work because they’re too busy trying to be ‘super teachers’. A healthy balanced lifestyle makes for better professionals whatever line of work you’re in!

    • Yes Cristina! That’s part of what I was saying about seeing things from many perspectives. You are so right, if a teacher is only interested in teaching and related things, how are they to connect with their students on many different levels?

  • I’m reading a book called ‘Blink’ at the moment. It’s written by Malcolm Gladwell and talks about intuitive thinking – especially when we’re making decisions about employing someone! Sometimes what you say you want and what you’re intuitively looking for can be different!

    I agree with many of the ideas mentioned. I think for me I like working with people who can be part of a team – willing to join in. Having a ‘knack’ with kids is so important and being passionate about teaching and learning – making this happen in the classroom – not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.

  • Qualities that are consistent when I recall the best working relationships I’ve had include: being able to laugh when things get stressful or your patience is warn out; seeing the positive in most situations; being supportive and genuine and not feeling like you have to act 100% professional at all times – we should be able to relax around each other; being a listener when ideas need to be sounded out; being happy to share tools that are effective for assessment, teaching and learning and complementing your ideas when they wish to use or adapt them; collaborating in a way that gets to the heart of what we are trying to do for students without being too serious; being in education for the right reasons = the joy of teaching students; being ‘easy going’ is a big one for me; and being open minded to mischief, fun and silliness (with our without students present).

  • Some many great things have been shared above. I think the characteristics I would look for are:
    * sense of humour – both with the kids and their colleagues. This also usually ties in with the fact that they are easy to be around
    * innovative – constantly looking to move ideas/students/things forwards
    * collaborative – willing to work with all community members and looks to bring the best out of people
    * level headed – can approach and issue with an open mind and won’t “lose it” when things go wrong

  • I want to work with educators who care about students and building positive relationships. I want to work with individuals who are willing to think about what is good for all not just a select few, one that has passion and fire that is contagious, and one who is knowledgeable.

  • As principal of a school, I need to meet the requirements to keep the school accreditation, so after looking at credentials and certifications that meet the standards, I look at the person. A teacher needs to be committed to her profession, willing to grow and learn from her mistakes. In order to help students, a teacher needs to be compassionate, open, and welcoming. To motivate students, a teacher needs to be enthusiastic. A good sense of humor and willingness to be involved in the life of the community are definitely a plus. Above all, a teacher must be a team player.

  • How about anyone who recognizes that they do not possess all the traits identified in the learner profile, are able to accept this and are willing to make efforts to improve and
    don’t take themselves too seriously.

    These are my ideal colleagues.

  • How about someone who does not take themselves to seriously, is willing to try to improve, and is open to new ideas.

  • I agree, by and large, with what most people have already said. But, above all else, I want colleagues who genuinely, truly, sincerely, not-just-saying-it-because-we-should, care about students and puts their learning first. Someone who isn’t concerned about knowing the latest greatest buzz words and advancing her own career or becoming known as the best teacher. Someone who honestly, through it all, is there for.the.kids. If I feel that my colleague has that purest of pure intentions, then I, too, can set aside any ego, any preconceived notions, and we can work together and really challenge each other. Some of my most collaborative moments have been with those whom, at first glance, seem to have a completely different approach from myself.

    And, of course, what has already been said. A sense of humor. A collaborative nature. An innovative approach. A work ethic to match those innovations.

    Oh, yes, if (s)he brings snacks to meetings, that’s a definite plus.

  • […] question of who you would want to work with sparked a lot of interest and raised areas which were not touched on in the other […]

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