A Survey of Opinions of North Carolina School Administrators regarding Factors Considered Most Important in Hiring Teachers for Their First Teaching Position

Article excerpt

This study was constructed to survey administrators across the state of North Carolina to determine the most important factors in hiring teachers for their first teaching positions. It also suggests to elementary and secondary education majors who will be seeking positions in North Carolina, the factors which will determine whether or not they are successful in obtaining that much sought after first position. The first opinionnaire containing twelve factors was mailed to one-hundred fifty administrators across the state of North Carolina. A second mailing was sent to fifty administrators. Data from 97% of the respondents were analyzed and recorded. First year teachers should be informed of factor that will determine their first teaching position.

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to determine factors that are most important in hiring teachers for their first teaching position.

Review of Literature

Public school systems across the country are in desperate need of good teachers. And the competition for available jobs will become increasingly keener.

A key element of the hiring process, the job interview, has always been a topic of inquiry. O'Hair (1989) proposed a model of five factors: demographics, communication, psychological, atmosphere and enthusiasm. This model serves to influence interview outcomes, and suggest means for preparing prospective teachers for interviews. Braun and others (1990) found the perceptions of successful teacher applicants and school administrators, regarding aspects of the job seeking process, were quite similar. Both groups viewed the interview as the most important element. Written recommendations from those who had observed the candidate's teaching were perceived as the most important part of the credential file and honesty of responses was identified as most important during and interview. They urge further study of the recruitment and selection process.

Place and Drake (1994) conducted a study that interviewed elementary and secondary principals from two different states, Ohio and Illinois, to see if their priorities for the selection of teachers were the same or different. The high school and elementary principals were given a list of nine criteria to rank in order of importance for the selection of teachers. The three criteria that the principals ranked highest were as follows:

1. Enthusiasm for Teaching

2. Communication Skills

3. Interviewer's Evaluation

The most commonly used mechanism for selecting prospective teachers to fill teaching positions is the interview. The best personnel assessments are thought to come through formal, structured interviews. There are several interviews with substance and structure that have been developed by universities, personnel departments and various consultants in order to assist school districts in the selection of teachers with the greatest amount of potential for success in the classroom. A particular interview method employed in selecting teachers is the Urban Teacher Selection Interview. This model was designated by Martin Haberman and is essentially used to differentiate between prospective teachers who will become successful teachers and those who will not be successful teachers (Baskins, Ross, and Smith, 1996).

The idea of a demonstration teaching lesson is also perceived as gaining in importance as part of the hiring decision process. The teacher is asked to prepare a lesson and teach it to a group of students. Sometimes this lesson is videotaped. Of 22 teachers, only four reported this occurring, and an additional teacher had been observed during student teaching (Hoffman, 1995).

In the field of education, the reference letter has been and continues to be a valued resource in the teacher recruitment process. Often given more importance and attention than other information in the professional file (Mortalini, 1974), a candidate's letters of reference are considered by many school district recruiters to be the essential information link between the potential employer and those who are most familiar with the candidate's training and qualifications for the position (Nash, 1986; Natter & Kuder, 1983). …