During our first day with our new teachers (7.24.13), Worthington Director of Human Resources, Randy Banks, spoke with the teachers about joining the Worthington Schools team. He explained that they were a select group who had competed with other outstanding and talented teachers for the opportunity to teach in Worthington. He said, “you won the prize…here’s what you won…’
Randy went on to explain what we look for when were hiring. Primarily we are looking for three things. Purpose, Relationship, and Teaching and Learning skill. Worthington teachers need to have strong core values around helping all students learn and grow. They must be driven by that singular purpose. Secondly, Worthington teachers must be relationship builders. They need to partner with students, families, their colleagues, and the community to facilitate maximum learning. Finally, Worthington teachers need to understand teaching and learning. They need to provide clear learning targets for students aligned to the curriculum, and they need to be particularly skilled in providing students with descriptive feedback on their progress.
Obviously our belief is that the teachers who we hired hold all three of these important characteristics. But, Randy went on to explain that tied to each one of these characteristics is a similar characteristic that will determine their success this school year. He challenged our new teachers to Commit, Connect, and Contribute.
Our new staff are purpose driven. But to be successful they will need a level of commitment that is uncommon. They will need to push through challenges, be relentless in their dedication, and work hours most have never experienced. If you drive by a Worthington school at 5:45 A.M. you’ll see teachers working. The same is true at 6:45 P.M. and every Saturday and Sunday. The bar here is high and to meet the expectations that our current staff has set will take total commitment.
Our new staff are relationship focused. But to be successful this year they will need to intentionally connect. They’ll need to connect with their mentor teacher and know where they can find help. They’ll need to connect with our curriculum and assessment staff to learn the in’s and out’s of their work. They’ll need to connect with one another for support when things become difficult, and they’ll need to connect with their students and families. The workload will be overwhelming but taking time to connect with others is a wise investment.
Finally, we believe our new staff members are well versed in teaching and learning. To be successful personally, and for the success of the organization, they need to contribute. They represent 12% of our teaching staff and they bring new knowledge, new ideas, and diverse skills, that can help our schools and our district. We’ve hired these teachers to help students and to help the organization. We expect them to step in right away and contribute their ideas, their time, and their energy.
We have followed an exhaustive hiring process and believe our new teachers are purpose driven, relationship minded and possess sound teaching and learning skills. This year those characteristics need to translate through commitment, connecting, and contributing.