Last night we navigated our way through our first 16 interviews, from 4 pm to 9:30 pm. As I’ve shared in previous posts, I absolutely love interview season. It is a privilege to meet so many educators who are courageously placing themselves in a position to apply for a new assignment. Their reasons for transferring schools are varied and range from being surplussed at their current school, to looking for a new adventure. As we neared the end of the evening, we transitioned into our last virtual interview room and were greeted by a candidate who had this lovely lush green background on her screen ~ it looked so incredible and life like. Her lighting was fabulous, resembling a sunny day. Whereas we were sitting in our offices and occasionally waving our arms, so that our lights didn’t automatically switch off, thus leaving us in darkness.
As a part of our interview process, we ask candidates to come prepared to share an artefact that represents something that they are proud of from their current school year. They can speak to their artefact, or if they choose, they can prepare a visual to share with us. We were treated to some amazing presentations, which truly reflected the candidates’ creativity and passion for their students and their profession. As this candidate started her presentation, it was evident from the visuals, that her proudest moment had been from her latest teaching assignment in the Northwest Territories, where she was one of four teachers at Chief Paul Niditchie School. We had an informative discussion about the challenges and successes of such a unique assignment and community.
Ironically, this candidate had selected something from their Christmas celebration to highlight and one of our other candidates who is an educator here in TVDSB also selected a Christmas themed presentation. It was so interesting that those special celebrations, whether here in SW Ontario or in the far reaches of the Northwest Territories hold a special place in the heart of an educator.
As the interview was wrapping us, we apologized for the lateness of the interview time and to our surprise, she shared that “on the west coast it was still relatively early” and that she was very happy to be able to chat with us from her Eco-Pod. At which point, it dawned on us, that the beautiful, lush background, which we had anticipated was computer generated, was her actual real-life background. As this was our final interview of the evening, she offered to give us a tour of the self-sustained eco-friendly home that she was volunteering to build, as she finished off this year. She shared the circumstances of being on the island and how COVID had impacted the number of volunteered permitted to be a part of the building at this time. She had arrived just prior to the closing of the island. As we saw the home and the building progress to date, it was utterly amazing what they were doing with worn-out tires, solar panels, recycled bottles etc.
I often comment about how much we learn from this interview process. By providing candidates with open-ended opportunities to share their work, we gain incredible insight into their practice ~ much more so than asking them to answer our pre-determined questions, on the spot, without time to prepare. Our goal is to create the conditions for candidates to shine! We were able to see inside so many of our TVDSB schools (through the presentations) and it was with a sense of pride for the whole organization that we witnessed such incredible practice occurring in so many schools.
Learning about the commitment to global environmental issues through the work that this candidate is immersed in, in BC, was certainly another incredible learning opportunity for us as an interview team.
As an interviewer, what is something incredible that you’ve learned through the interview process?
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