The hiring process for potential teachers may seem like a piece of cake, but it is “all consuming,” according to Mr. Boswell. There are countless steps that are taken to ensure that Lovett finds people who not only fit in with our community, but who also feel at home on the Riverbank.
In order to understand how the teachers who teach us end up here, we satsit down with several department chairs and important faculty members who spend hours finding and meeting with various individuals.
While speaking with Mr. Patrick Boswell, the Head of the Upper School, we discussed some of the changes that have occurred since he was named the principal last year, and how his transition went this year. He oversees the higher-level operations in our school, creates a safe learning environment, and sets performance goals for both students and teachers.
Interestingly, most people assume a principal’s duties are related to students only. However, Mr. Boswell’s position has a lot more responsibilities than just to the students. Our conversation focused on the unique hiring process for the faculty in the Upper School, as there is a new hiring committee that started this year.
“Our interviewing process for candidates is extensive, rigorous and unique,” Mr. Boswell said. Just like in previous years, an interviewee will spend an entire day at Lovett. The candidate has the opportunity to teach a class and interact with students and faculty while on campus. Mr. Boswell shared that this helps the candidate get a feel for what it will be like to work at our school alongside other faculty members, as well as the students.
Mr. Boswell also shared some of the changes to the hiring procedures. For example, the newly formed committee that assists in the decision-making process is a necessary component in finding candidates that are the right fit for the Lovett community. He also made it clear that he learns a lot throughout the process from the committee members and from potential candidates, as everyone brings something different to the table.
When asked about what impresses Mr. Boswell the most in new candidates, especially when he speaks with them one-on-one, he shared that he loves listening to their questions, as it says a lot about who they are. He also enjoys watching potential candidates lead students in lessons, and he likes to see them interact with the students, not just focus on a lesson plan where they are the only one speaking.
Some of the people in the upper school who are most focused on bringing in new employees are the department heads, and we had the opportunity to talk to two of them about their experiences doing so. We first spoke with Ms. May-Beaver, the head of the history department, who has been in the process of hiring multiple candidates this year.
She starts by collecting a variety of resumes from candidates who apply through the Lovett website, headhunter groups, and several different agencies. The entire department then reviews those resumes. After all, Ms. May-Beaver says, “We all have a really big investment in getting the right teacher and a good teacher.”
After they pass the initial screening processes of resumes and interviews, the candidates are invited to spend a day at Lovett where they teach a class. Ms. May-Beaver said a candidate’s resume reflects that they have knowledge of the subject matter, but it’s only when they come here that you “get a sense of their energy…of how students react to them.” She generally values a teacher with charisma over one with knowledge.
Ms. May-Beaver said it is especially important in History that the candidate has the ability to talk about difficult topics such as race, hot topics, current events, and politics since that tends to be a large part of the curriculum. In addition, she emphasized the importance of candidates welcoming student engagement in the classroom.
We also discussed the hiring process with Mr. Amar in order to get a perspective on the STEM side. However, as it turns out, he has many of the same preferences regarding teachers. “The thing you’re looking for is how quickly do the students get comfortable with the candidate,” he said. “How comfortable is the candidate in front of students? How does the candidate think on their feet? Obviously we’re looking for a person who going to bring a lot into the classroom.”
For Mr. Amar it’s a definite no r if there’s a lack of interaction with students. “Are they about connecting with the people they are teaching” he said, “or are they just about, you know, here’s the content deal with it.” Of course, he said it was also very important that Lovett was the right place for the candidates, since there can be instances where the candidate is a wonderful teacher but Lovett just isn’t the right fit.
Overall, it is clear that the hiring process at Lovett is extensive and thorough, and also takes into consideration the opinions of the students. In fact, both Mr. Amar and Ms. May-Beaver emphasized the importance of hiring a teacher that interacts well with students, and we agree that those characteristics are very important in a teacher, and part of the process that seems to result in a variety of wonderful teachers here at Lovett.