Reaching Hire: The Hiring Process for Latin Teachers

Aidan Sarazen News Editor The Latin School of Chicago is a small, close-knit community filled with diligent students, extraordinary resources, and high-tech classrooms. With that being said, it is no surprise that the best teachers in the Chicago area want to work at Latin. Teachers at Latin are caring, knowledgable, and fun; they are a vital part of our community. How is it that, time and time again, Latin brings in teachers that almost always meet and exceed the high expectations set for them? It all starts with the hiring process. At Latin, the first step to hiring teachers is advertisement. The school places ads for teaching positions in the Chicago Tribune, Romannet, as well as other teaching specific web sites. In addition to media, Latin uses job placement services like Carney Sandoe and NEMNET, which help potential teachers land jobs at independent schools around the world. According to Mr. Graf, these varied methods allow Latin to “diversify the pool of candidates as much as possible.” Before Mr. Graf and department chairs even meet the potential teachers, they narrow down the field to six or eight candidates, based upon their applications. In terms of the specifics of the applications, where the candidate attended college is a variable, but not an important one. Their teaching experiences are of much more importance. The next step is to conduct phone interviews, which allow for Mr. Graf and the department chairs to decide who they want to bring to the campus. Mr. Graf makes it clear that during these interviews, department chairs “look for evidence of passion and excitement [towards] adolescents…and their subject area.” Since many candidates who apply for a job at Latin are often enthusiastic towards students and their field of study, Mr. Graf and department chairs have to dig further into the personalities of the potential teachers. Humor and creativity are two vital characteristics of candidates, as Mr. Graf knows that “those qualities go a long way in a school.” Following a successful phone interview, applicants can be invited to teach a class at Latin. Mr. Greer, the history department chair, believes that class demonstrations are important, because it “is a high stress situation [that] reveals a teacher’s instincts.” Similarly, Mr. Graf adds that the teacher needs to be able to “make adjustments and think on his or her feet,” a necessary quality for a high school teacher. Once the class demonstration has been completed, the candidate will answer questions that display how they reflect on the class he or she just taught. For Mr. Greer, teachers who “communicate that they rely on lecturing as their main teaching tool” are not a good hire (Latin students can now be confident that their history classes won’t be boring). Additionally, Mr. Greer makes it clear that “teachers who show little inclination to collaborate with other faculty” will probably not get the job. In short, teachers have to be able to relate to their students and other faculty members, while also displaying a deep passion for their subject. While seeking enthusiastic teachers, Latin also makes an effort to diversify their faculty. Mr. Graf believes that “a diverse student body deserves a diverse and multi-faceted faculty,” who give students the opportunity to adapt to many different teaching styles. For new teachers at Latin, even after they have been hired, their evaluation is not over. New faculty will receive frequent visits from Mr. Graf and the department chairs, who will provide support and mentoring for them. In addition, Mr. Graf, along with the respective department chair, will help them set goals appropriate to their first year at Latin. Of course, there are also the class surveys that students fill out. Besides Mr. Graf and the department chairs, Ms. Denevi, the new Director of Studies and Professional Development, will help to make the evaluation process go smoothly. Even if this hiring process seems complex and strenuous, Mr. Graf and department chairs say that it is more exciting and fun than stressful. Not only do they get to meet a lot of teachers, but they get to show off Latin. After going through this hiring process, it is no wonder that Latin’s teachers are consistently passionate about their students and their work. Consider looking at Latin’s teachers in a more respectful light; they went through a lot to get a job here.]]>