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  • 23 Feb 2021 12:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Image of an apple sitting on a desk

    Content intended only for the use of aaee.org
    Prepared by Alicia Dawson

    For several years now we’ve been hearing a lot about the teaching shortage spreading across the United States. In some respects the problem is just what it sounds like: By and large, U.S. schools are having a hard time staying staffed with qualified teachers. Underlying this issue, however, is a directly related problem that isn't discussed as often. The U.S. also has a shortage in teacher education, meaning the system that should be churning out high-quality educators is essentially operating at a sub-par level.

    Clearly the main consequence of a teacher education shortage is, broadly, a lack of quality educators reaching the professional ranks. However, there are more specific consequences that deserve some consideration as well.

    Hiring From Overseas

    In just the last few years, talk of hiring teachers from overseas has begun to spread, representing a clear and frankly bizarre consequence of our teacher education issue. To be clear, this isn’t to suggest there’s anything wrong with overseas teachers. However, the need to hire from abroad speaks ill of the United States’ ability right now to produce and train its own teachers.

    The bigger implication of this development is that we simply aren’t providing an adequate incentive for Americans pursuing professional careers. The teachers being hired from abroad are agreeing to come to the U.S. because in many cases they’re able to earn more and enjoy a higher quality of life than in their home countries. By contrast though, the same opportunity is looked down upon by would-be American teachers who expect more from a full-time career. The U.S. simply does not pay and support teachers at a level that Americans consider to be commensurate with the work.

    Inequality Between States

    Another, somewhat related consequence is that a teacher education shortage inevitably leads to inequality between states. Because the shortages aren’t exactly uniform from one state to the next, we ultimately see disproportionate quality of teaching — and ultimately unequal opportunities for children. It’s partly for this simple reason that our Taking the Long View: How states can strengthen the teaching profession and build a sustainable, and diverse teacher workforce webinar discussed targeting solutions to teacher shortages to individual states according to need.

    Industry-Specific Shortages

    It’s important that we also recognize that a broad shortage in teacher education also amounts to industry-specific shortcomings. As an example, it’s been written about quite frequently in recent years that America has an inadequate number of nurses, partially as a result of lower nurse faculty numbers. This illustrates a clear consequence of teacher education shortages: vital industries in which there isn’t enough educating going on to sustain professional needs.

    That said, some industry- or job-specific cases like this are beginning to show us some positive consequences as well — most notably in that educational opportunities are emerging online. This is happening in part to address shortages, and to allow accessible material and a limited number of online instructors to reach a far greater number of students. Regarding the nursing shortage specifically, this expansion in online education means that interested students can pursue careers in nursing online, even with limited numbers of instructors. And some of those careers even involve nurse education, which means this online cycle could help to produce more teachers in fields in need.

    Lack of Disaster Preparedness

    Disaster preparedness across an entire educational system is not something we necessarily would have thought about before 2020. And yet, the COVID-19 pandemic shed a light on just how devastating a large-scale interruption of education can be when there’s already a shortage in teaching professionals. As one article put it, COVID-19 combined with a shortage of teachers created a “perfect storm” for the system.

    This means two things. The first is that a system that already had an inadequate number of teachers was less prepared to withstand interruption, and less equipped to adjust and educate in new ways. The second is that the effects of COVID-19 on the teaching workforce (leading many teachers to retire early) were even more devastating than they would have been had that workforce been larger. Had we been educating and producing more teachers, these consequences would be far less apparent.

    A Self-Perpetuating Narrative

    Perhaps the most damaging consequence of all is that this problem has actually made it less appealing for the next generation to pursue education in teaching. Per one university dean’s comments on teacher prep, “we have made it flat-out unattractive to be a teacher.” This unfortunate truth leads to fewer people pursuing careers in teaching, which in turn only deepens the narrative that these careers are inadequate, and so on.

    None of this is meant to bring about a sense of despair about teaching in the U.S. Recognizing the problem is important, however, as it will ultimately help more people to consider and explore solutions. The hope is that with innovative teaching, new narratives, and assistance from modern technology, the U.S. can, in time, revamp its teacher instruction and produce the educators it needs.

    Content intended only for the use of aaee.org

    Prepared by Alicia Dawson

    IMAGE: https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1503676260728-1c00da094a0b?ixid=MXwxMjA3fDB8MHxwaG90by1wYWdlfHx8fGVufDB8fHw%3D&ixlib=rb-1.2.1&auto=format&fit=crop&w=1609&q=80

    Credit: Unsplash

  • 24 Sep 2020 9:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Author: Dr. Gilda Martinez

    Last but not least, I will be talking to you about our retention strategies. In terms of figuring out what we could do to help support and retain underrepresented students, we started by having some informal 1:1 interviews with students, met with focus groups, and surveyed classes to see how we can better support them. We wanted to learn what more we might do to help them feel supported so that they could succeed in our education programs.

    The main areas they identified they could use support with were mentoring and financial assistance. Therefore, we worked with our Dean’s Advisory Council and leadership teams to figure out how we might provide those supports. They suggested we start by visiting student groups, such as the various Latinx student organizations at our university. While visiting, we let students know that we were there for them and ready to help with anything they might need to succeed in college. We visited the groups a few times throughout the year to remind them that we really wanted them to feel supported and comfortable to ask questions.

    The Dean’s Advisory Council also started a virtual mentoring program. How so? Well, we invited students (through emails, newsletters, social media, and on our digital screens in the halls) to ask questions or seek advice from the Dean’s Advisory Council by emailing the College of Education email. Students mostly emailed questions about:

    • signing up for programs,
    • who to contact to change classes, and
    • how to access scholarships.

    We did not receive too many questions, but with everything moving fully online due to COVID-19, we anticipate that we will get many more inquiries soon.

    What is our main retention issue you might ask? When looking carefully at our data, it appears once students are accepted into our programs, they are staying in them. However, students sign up for our education programs at the end of their sophomore year. Thus, when we tracked freshmen that are pre-education majors, we noticed that by the time they needed to apply to the program, half of them did not. We call this the freshmen melt. We looked at other colleges and noticed they too experience the freshmen melt. Regardless, with our declining enrollment, we wanted to zone in on this issue.

    We are currently brainstorming with various groups (such as our advisors, recruitment team, and CAEP committees) to focus on this problem. One way we hope to help with retention from freshmen to sophomore year is by actively engaging students in our Educators Rising group. We also plan to share with them the opportunity of living in a Residential Learning Community (where students live on the same floor with students in their same major). Moreover, we will be highlighting funding opportunities, such as TEACH grants and other scholarships to demonstrate how they can pay for their careers in education.

    If you would like to collaborate on any of these ideas, or have your own ideas you would like to share, please let me know. I am always interested in learning new ways to recruit and retain underrepresented students. I can be reached through email gmartinez@towson.edu.

    Dr. Gilda Martinez-Alba is the Assistant Dean in the College of Education at Towson University, in Towson, Maryland.  Her research revolves around literacy, technology, English learners, and recruiting/retaining underrepresented students into teaching.

  • 17 Sep 2020 8:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Author:  Dr. Gilda Martinez-Alba

    How else have we worked on recruitment? We have a recruitment and retention plan for underrepresented students for our CAEP accreditation that outlines our various initiatives. I have included below the ones specific to recruitment. (The plan includes undergraduate and graduate programming.)

    Recruitment Initiatives:

    • Recruitment Team - We put together a recruitment team, which consists of faculty from each program in our college. Together we brainstorm ideas to help meet the needs of students that might be interested in any of our programs.
    • Educators Rising – We host the Educators Rising chapter for Maryland at Towson University. As a result, we have over 200 students that are interested in being educators that have joined the group, and have created a support network for our students. This not only seems to help with recruitment, but also with retention.
    • Connecting with Baltimore City – Right next door to Towson is Baltimore City, which has paraprofessionals and teachers from underrepresented groups. Therefore, we have been connecting with Baltimore City to create culturally responsive Master of Arts in Teaching programs for paraprofessionals and leadership programs that provide background in working with English learners and Special Education.
    • Marketing – We hired a marketing person in the College of Education, as well as a videographer, in order to create content for our social media that potentially provides information that is of interest to underrepresented students.
    • Online Programs – We have developed more programs that are fully online, to help students that cannot come onto campus be able to participate. Thus, we have a new fully online graduate program in Educational Technology and Literacy and a Post Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) in Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).
    • Scholarships - We are also providing “Dean’s Scholarships” to students that have a 3.0 or above with financial need because through focus groups we learned that our students need financial and mentoring support.
    • Recruiter for Underrepresented Males – We also just hired a male teacher to help create and implement a recruitment plan to bring in more underrepresented males. We are excited about having him join us.

    Next time I’ll be outlining our retention initiatives. If you would like to collaborate on any of these ideas, or have your own ideas you’d like to share, please let me know. I am always interested in learning new ways to recruit underrepresented students.

    Dr. Gilda Martinez-Alba is the Assistant Dean in the College of Education at Towson University, in Towson, Maryland.  Her research revolves around literacy, technology, English learners, and recruiting/retaining underrepresented students into teaching.

  • 01 Sep 2020 7:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Author:  Dr. Gilda Martinez-Alba

    The first idea generated for recruitment from the literature review was to develop a dual enrollment program.  This was probably one of my favorite ideas because it involved a planning process that included various stakeholders, such as:

    • Baltimore County Public Schools’ Human Resources
    • College of Education Recruitment Committee
    • Towson Learning Network (office at Towson University that helps facilitate off-campus collaborations)
    • Towson University Registrar’s Office
    • Bilingual faculty

    Together we discussed what schools were participating in the Teacher Academy of Maryland (TAM) in areas that had more underrepresented students.  TAM schools provide students interested in becoming teachers with some courses for dual enrollment credit that are related to education.  We focused on those schools as it seemed to be best, since they already had students interested in teaching.  We were able to invite students from five different schools, which yielded a group with students from various backgrounds.  Moreover, the county provided them with transportation.

    The TU Teacher Scholars Summer Institute free program was four days long, provided 1 dual enrollment credit for the course we developed called Exploring Careers in Education, and included visits:

    • from faculty who shared their pathways in education,
    • to different establishments around campus (such as a to the childcare center where the high school students assisted children with a science lesson),
    • to the library to learn about social justice and equity books they could use with their future students,
    • from our local WBAL-TV news as well as Baltimore County Public Schools’ media, and - Partnerships for Greater Baltimore office).
    • to our University Union for an “all you can eat” lunch (thanks to funding from the Baltimore-Towson University - Partnerships for Greater Baltimore office).

    The final day concluded with an invitation to parents/caregivers to showcase work the students had completed, talk about applying to the university/financial aid, learn about applying to teach in their county, and take pictures with our mascot.  We were worried we wouldn’t get people to come for the family night because that would require students to come back to campus after having already gone home on a bus.  However, we had a full house with parents, caregivers, siblings, and even some cousins come along, which was great! 

    This year we were expanding the program to Baltimore City, Howard County, and the Archdiocese of Baltimore schools; but, as a result of COVID-19 we had to cancel it.  We are inviting students that applied to our fall virtual university open house, with a special program for them.  Moreover, we hope to have the program face-to-face next summer, and if not it will be virtual.

    Do you have a “grow your own” program?  I would love to hear about your program.  Please feel free to email me at gmartinez@towson.edu.  Or, if you have any questions, let me know.

    Dr. Gilda Martinez-Alba is the Assistant Dean in the College of Education at Towson University, in Towson, Maryland.  Her research revolves around literacy, technology, English learners, and recruiting/retaining underrepresented students into teaching.

  • 20 Aug 2020 8:52 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Author: Gilda Martinez-Alba

    As you know, there is a shortage of teachers across the United States. How can we help? At Towson University, we decided to start by conducting a literature review about national models or promising practices that were themes across the country. We came up with the following initiatives that provided some positive outcomes for several colleges and universities:

    Recruiting Students into Education

    • Creating dual enrollment credits/programs, where high school students gain college credit by taking courses to learn about careers in education.
      • Teaching courses in Spanish to engage international students.
      • Providing programs for high school teachers to learn about delivering courses to motivate students into the field.
      • Providing courses related to working with English learners or bilingual development to attract underrepresented students.
    • Providing writing instruction or tutoring to help prepare students for college requirements.
    • Building mentoring programs.
    • Teaching research skills for students to learn about their options within education.
    • Creating a paraprofessional pipeline.
    • Partnering with community colleges.

    Helping with Finances

    • Assisting with finances by providing scholarships.
    • Seeking loan forgiveness.
    • Providing stipends.

    Student Support

    • Forming cohorts for networking and support.
    • Hosting monthly meetings for professional development and social activities.
    • Providing childcare.
    • Offering transportation.
    • Assistance with job placements.

    Which of these have you tried? Think about how you might want to create ways to build on these ideas. Stay tuned for the next blog to find out what initiatives Towson University created as a result of this literature review.

    Dr. Gilda Martinez-Alba is the Assistant Dean in the College of Education at Towson University, in Towson, Maryland. Her research revolves around literacy, technology, English learners, and recruiting/retaining underrepresented students into teaching.

  • 15 Jul 2020 7:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Upskilling and Reskilling for the ‘New Normal’ of Education

    By: Daniel Johnson on June 24th, 2020 in Education Elements

    The abrupt shift to distance learning directly challenged the knowledge, mindsets, and skills of our teacher workforce this Spring. Formerly ‘nice-to-have’ skills in digital integration became ‘must-haves,’ traditional classroom management and instructional design methods no longer applied, and everyone was required to embrace a high level of comfort with ambiguity as guidelines and expectations shifted on a weekly basis. And as a new school year approaches and the global pandemic remains, educators are bracing for these abrupt and temporary changes to make take root.

    Regardless of in-person, hybrid, or virtual learning models, teaching and learning will not look the same this Fall. A few knowns:

    1. Schools must increase virtual readiness (digital platforms, technical skills, virtual expectations and norms)
    2. Health and safety protocols will affect class sizes, procedures, and instructional strategies
    3. Students will have experienced learning loss and/or trauma that will affect readiness
    4. Some students and staff will need to remain at home 

    Given new conditions, our education system faces the monumental task of preparing teachers for teaching and learning in the year ahead. Our districts are not alone however and can look to organizations inside and outside of education to inform and guide initial steps. Below, we offer three considerations for staffing and development in the wake of COVID-19.

    1. Identify Upskills Within Existing Teacher Competencies

    The need to update and train our educator workforce existed long ahead of the novel coronavirus. In 2019, the World Economic Forum estimated that the effects of automation, shifts to virtual work, and advances in technology would require more than half of all employees to be upskilled or reskilled by 2022. Work-from-home and social distancing requirements have simply accelerated these needs.

    Educators can look to the healthcare industry to see the kind of rapid upskilling that will be needed across our more than three million teachers this Fall. To ensure an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ pandemic response, medical professionals across every area of expertise have received training on the basics of treating infectious diseases, performing common procedures like CPR while wearing PPE, and conducting virtual appointments and diagnoses.

    Within education, traditional competencies will require similar forms of upskilling. As a first step, leaders will need to examine these competencies through a pre- and post-COVID lens to identify potential upskills. For example:



    Post-COVID Upskills

    Classroom Management

    • Clear and consistent routines and procedures
    • Management strategies (proximity, anchor charts, incentives)
    • Seating arrangements to accommodate 20+ 
    • Expectations for camera use, chat, headphones
    • Screen monitoring, digital FAQs
    • Teaching and learning with face masks
    • Student seating and no-contact collaboration

    Instructional Design

    • Gradual release model
    • Formative assessment tactics
    • Clear objectives + scope and sequencing
    • Focus on models for small group instruction 
    • Differentiation tactics or strategies to address learning gaps
    • No-contact collaborative exercises

    2. Consider Reskilling for New Competencies

    Our education system faces unprecedented pressures on staffing in the year ahead. Budget cuts, limits on class sizes, and a significant number of teachers required to stay home (18 percent of teachers are 55 or older) will stretch an already understaffed workforce to new limits. To ease capacity concerns, leaders will need to consider how to reskill both traditional and newly created roles to meet capacity demands.

    Educators might again look to the healthcare industry for a model of this kind of reskilling. As hospital capacity stretched thin throughout the initial COVID-19 spike, Scandanavian Airlines designed a three-and-a-half-day training program for cabin attendants to become assistant nurses, both maintaining paychecks for their employees and filling necessary support roles for hospitals. The program has since expanded to laid-off employees from Marriott, McDonald’s, and other companies across the UK. 

    To alleviate similar stretches on capacity, districts should consider a reskilling of new and existing roles. For example, parents could receive training on leading guided or independent practice with students. Counselors might lead daily small-group instruction on health and wellness to ease classroom sizes. Bus drivers might play a role in delivering WiFi and providing basic in-person technical support for virtual students and teachers. To meet unprecedented demands on capacity and physical space, districts will need to think beyond the traditional teacher role to support new demands on teaching and learning. 

    Regardless of role and title, a reskilling of new knowledge, mindsets, and skills will need to occur across all positions. Skills and knowledge previously held by virtual instructors, or mindsets for dealing with uncertainty not universally required, will need wholesale training and reinforcement in the year ahead. For example:



    Post-COVID Reskills

    Digital Content and Instruction

    N/A or not universally required

    • Daily integration of district Learning Management Systems
    • Use of virtual instruction software, polling, and digital formative assessment tools
    • Technical troubleshooting for hybrid and virtual learning

    Comfort with Ambiguity

    N/A or not universally required

    • Readiness to shift between virtual and in-person learning
    • Appropriately responds to school or district decisions that affect learning conditions and expectations

    3. We Need to Recalibrate Hiring, Development, and Evaluation Efforts

    Upskilling and reskilling will require significant human resource efforts across hiring, onboarding, and development structures. By identifying present and future state of skill development, teams can begin to identify both barriers and bridges along new and existing competencies.

    Teams might start revisiting hiring profiles to reprioritize knowledge, skills, and mindsets for successful applicants. Previously ‘nice-to-have’ attributes like digital instruction or a high comfort with ambiguity might become must-haves upon hire. Structured interviews will need to be adjusted to include questions and performance tasks that reflect new priorities, for example through virtual lesson demonstrations or questions that probe on how candidates maintain productivity and quality in the face of shifting conditions.

    Onboarding and PD structures will also need to reflect upskills and reskills. Summer teacher training programs like Teach For America (TFA) are taking initial steps. In place of in-person teaching and intensive coaching in summer schools across the country, the program is putting additional emphasis on social and emotional learning strategies, training on digital tools for lessons and communication, and rethinking traditional classroom management techniques like the use of proximity. Because the training is virtual, teachers have opportunities to engage in and reflect on effective virtual instruction strategies.

    Lastly, districts will need to examine how coaching and evaluation processes align and support revamped expectations. To align managers on training expectations and look-fors, Ford Motor Company recently developed a Return to Work Strategy for its 175,000 plant employees worldwide. Districts will need to consider similar guidelines that include but are not limited to things like virtual instruction practices, CDC compliant seating charts and classroom arrangements, and classroom management and instructional strategies that incorporate social distancing. 

    Systems Redesign for a Post-COVID World

    Businessman and ‘futurist’ Alvin Toffler once said that, “the illiterate of the 21st Century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” The abrupt shifts to virtual and socially distant learning are challenging the capacity and traditional competencies of our workforce. As both educators and employers, we have a unique opportunity and responsibility to redefine these skills and develop systems that allow our teachers and support roles to learn, unlearn, and relearn the knowledge, mindsets, and skills necessary to succeed in a new normal.

  • 02 Jun 2020 9:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Arnoldo A. Gutierrez, Director Performance Management at San Antonio ISD
    Daniel Johnson, Associate Partner at Education Elements

    Virtual Recruitment Through COVID-19 and Beyond

    The worldwide response to COVID-19 is creating unforeseen challenges and virtual changes for every aspect of our education system. Long-standing pillars such as curriculum and instruction, operations, and accountability, among others, are all being tested under the weight of the pandemic response.

    Not only is the crisis exposing cracks in traditionally stable foundations, but the effects are also increasing pressure on already vulnerable components. One critical area facing immediate challenges is districts’ and schools’ abilities to recruit for an already understaffed workforce. Social-distancing, an endless list of competing operational contingencies, and an unknown timeline for a ‘return to normal’ all create new obstacles for human resources, and ultimately, our collective goal to better serve our students.

    Virtual Recruitment Through COVID-19 and Beyond

    In particular, the current context poses new challenges and opportunities to the ways in which we staff our classrooms. Fewer opportunities for in-person recruitment may shrink an already depleted candidate pool, shifts from in-person to virtual interactions may change the way we assess candidates, and new demands on access or resources may introduce new biases and/or obstacles to efforts to develop diverse candidate pools. 

    In order to help flatten the potential recruitment dip, schools and districts should review their candidate journey map to determine impact and adjustments in a shift to virtual recruitment. What is the current state of your virtual engagement? What in-person structures can be adapted and which no longer work? How will the ‘new normal’ and our immediate shift to virtual instruction affect the skills we assess and develop? And while we recognize that this is an ever-changing situation, we offer the following suggestions as you consider each step along your candidate’s roadmap.


    Long before social-distancing was a household term, social-networking already reigned as the supreme venue for organizations to build their brand awareness with potential employees. In a 2019 Glassdoor report, more than 86% of younger job seekers used social media in their job search. With fewer opportunities for more traditional, in-person recruitment efforts and events, the ability for schools and districts to virtually market themselves to prospective employees is more important than ever.

    This is a good time to consider the venues and status of the platforms used to build virtual awareness. How up-to-date and user friendly is your website? What platforms do your ideal candidates use and how are you creating two-way communication with these demographics? Where do they live and would an investment in virtual direct marketing be feasible? The shift to building virtual awareness can feel less overwhelming once targeted around specific candidate profiles. 

    Building these profiles presents an opportunity to examine potential inequities of candidate access that may limit the diversity, equity and inclusion of your hiring efforts. To better understand these barriers, your local or regional School of Education department within colleges and universities might offer key insights into the capabilities and workarounds for your candidate pool. You might also consider partnerships that can be formed with libraries or community centers to provide devices or space for virtual interviews. The shift to virtual must be connected with a commitment to decreasing the digital divide. 


    Getting noticed is a first step, but hooking candidates without opportunities for face-to-face interaction is challenging for all industries. In a 2019 international study across 445 employers, 63% of job-seekers were disappointed with the generalization of content on career websites. In a virtual environment, it is essential that schools and districts communicate a convincing, unique and tangible employee value proposition to build on initial awareness. 

    As a first step, teams might revisit and clarify their employee value proposition (EVP) - the unique sum of the benefits that your employees receive. One simple way to develop this EVP is to ask your staff three questions about your school or district: 1.) Why did you join? 2.) Why do you stay? 3.) What would make you leave? The collective answers can be used to form the headlines you should amplify, as well as vital feedback on concerns you must address. 

    The next step is to audit your marketing materials using these headlines. Where and how do these messages live on your website, social media and other recruitment materials? By conducting this audit, you can brainstorm ways to incorporate your EVP headlines. You might have your team (employees) film short testimonial videos, create a hashtag and share examples, or revamp your career page. At Education Elements, we created a one-pager and Day in the Life video to explicitly communicate what new team members might expect. In the absence of in-person moments for candidates, schools and districts must determine opportunities to bring the best parts of the job to them.


    For prospects that become official applicants, the true shifts in candidate experience may not be noticed until the click of the word ‘Apply.’ It’s at this point that formal two-way engagement is established, and research suggests that there is a lot to be gained or lost in this transition. According to LinkedIn, 83 percent of job-seekers report that a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or organization they once liked. And while the situation is ever-changing, schools and districts will need to create a virtual candidate experience that matches, or even improves, what they can offer in-person and ensure this is consistent across departments, schools, and hiring teams.

    The transition to virtual interviews provides an opportunity to revisit your candidate profile and how you evaluate positional and organizational competencies. Start by revisiting the specific skills and attributes needed for the role and your organization. How has your definition of teacher readiness changed in a post-COVID-19 world? What demonstrated experience or preparedness around digital platforms need to be included in this assessment?

    Crosswalk these with your hiring rounds (application, phone, video, etc…) and identify what question(s) or task(s) will be used to assess each competency. Ensure that your candidate profile and any new requirements around on-line presence or digital competence are included in your job requisites, and communicate what the interview process will look like (how many rounds, timeline, and other logistics).  


    As you outline your virtual evaluation process, look for questions or demonstrations previously evaluated in person that may need virtual adjustments. For example, are there more predictable questions that a person might be able to answer based on scripted notes? Would utilizing a custom browser that restricts other windows be appropriate for any part of the interview? Could an in-person demo lesson be substituted with a virtual lesson with real students or the interview team playing this role? 

    Despite the loss of many traditional in-person components, the virtual interview presents new opportunities to get a sense of candidates’ virtual readiness. You might include tasks that require your candidate to engage with a district platform like Google Classroom or Canvas in ways that will be expected of them as a teacher. Not only does this give you a sense of your candidate’s base and what support they might need, it also communicates the capabilities your district will expect of the candidate which can be probed on during open question and answer.

    Lastly, it’s equally important to consider how these shifts may affect the candidate. Amazon, one company seeing an increase in hiring as a result of COVID-19 response, is sharing virtual interview tips with their candidates. Considerations like internet connection, choice of phone vs. computer, and audio testing, are important reminders for both candidates and members of interview committees. Timing is also different in video, lag or even short periods of silence can make otherwise fluid conversations more difficult. Establishing roles such as a facilitator, and assigning specific questions, can help ensure things stay on track.

    Closing Thoughts - System redesign for a post-COVID world 

    In times where the only constant is change, the responsiveness of our systems, habits and mindsets will be a significant variable in our success. And while the demands on human resources teams to market, engage and evaluate virtually are more immediate in the midst of the worldwide pandemic, the shifts we see today will likely remain in a post-pandemic world. By focusing on the changes we must make to address an ever-changing “new normal,” we can design new solutions, retrain and refocus our recruiters and hiring teams, and improve our long-term approach to human capital to better meet our collective goal - to best serve our students in an ever-changing world. 

    Authors’ Bios

    Arnoldo A. Gutierrez, Director Performance Management at San Antonio ISD 

    Once he finished his Bachelor of Arts, Gutiérrez moved to Denver, Colorado and worked as a bilingual elementary teacher in JeffCo Public Schools (Denver, CO). During the summer of 2004, Gutierrez was offered a pre-hire agreement to teach in San Antonio ISD (SAISD) where he taught 5th and 2nd grade. He has also served in the capacity of a Campus Instructional Coach, Administrative Assistant & Assistant Principal before moving to Human Resources.

    Within the Human Resources Department Gutiérrez served as the Administrative Officer for Paraprofessionals and Substitutes for 7 years and is currently the Director for Performance Management.

    Gutiérrez received a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio and is completing the dissertation phase of Doctor of Organizational Development.

    Although currently Gutiérrez is not working directly with students, he is keenly aware of the impact his current role has at the campus level and on students.

    Gutiérrez participates in continuous training to enhance his skills, such as IPEC (Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching); Mediation Training through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS); and Crucial Conversations/Crucial Accountability. 

    I consider it an honor, blessing and privilege to be able to serve the students, families and staff within San Antonio ISD.

    Daniel Johnson, Associate Partner at Education Elements

    Daniel Johnson is an Associate Partner at Education Elements and works with district and school teams to develop responsive, personalized practices that improve student outcomes. Johnson is a former science teacher, having taught middle and high school in Mississippi and Brooklyn, NY. During his time in Mississippi, he served on the school’s leadership team working with state consultants on school improvement efforts. In New York, he worked in a high-performing charter school, working with a team of teachers to build the network’s seventh grade inquiry-based science curriculum in alignment with NGSS standards and an inquiry-based instructional model. At Education Elements, he has led projects focused on personalized learning and responsive leadership for districts and state organizations across Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, New York, and Texas. He serves as the consulting team’s hiring manager and oversees the development of the consultancy’s Teacher Recruitment and Retention retention services. He holds a B.A in Political Science and a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Kansas, and a Master's of Arts in Teaching from the Relay Graduate School of Education in New York. He grew up in Michigan and currently lives in Washington, D.C.

  • 17 Apr 2020 11:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Author: Giles Volker

    Congratulations on entering the noble profession of teaching. After years of hard work, study, and preparation, you’re finally ready to teach in your own classroom! You’ve searched in your local area, but where are all the full-time positions? The truth is, the job you’re looking for may not be available in your area. What do you do?

    Look For Jobs Out-of-State

    As intimidating as it may seem, your best option might be outside of your state and your comfort zone, but don’t fret. Relocating can be a rewarding experience, both personally and professionally.

    Why Should I Consider Moving Out-of-State?

    • Teacher Shortages

    • New Connections

    • Matching Your Style

    • Expanding Your Experience

    When beginning your search for teaching jobs, it can seem like every position around you has already been filled for years. If that happens, it might be time to broaden your search. Many school districts are facing a teacher shortage and would love the opportunity to recruit a new professional! By looking into the options available through relocating, you might also find schools and districts that better match your own personality and teaching styles. 

    Relocating to a new district will also give you a chance to create new professional connections and friends in the teaching community. Having contacts around the country to reach out to for help and advice is always a unique opportunity that can help you stand out in the field. Working in districts other than the ones you’ve lived around previously will also likely teach you new tricks and strategies you might not have discovered otherwise.

    How Do I Start Looking for Jobs Out of State?

    • Virtual Job Fairs

    • Online Job Boards

    • AAEE Educator Candidate Membership

    • LinkedIn

    Finding a new job out of state might seem like a daunting or even impossible task at first, but thousands of teachers have gone down that path before you! Resources and groups have been created for the sole purpose of helping teachers in your situation to find a job that is right for them.

    When attempting to find a job, one of the difficulties you might face is distance. It can be hard to find jobs when they are opening halfway across the country! When this problem arises, make use of virtual job fairs and online job boards! During a virtual job fair you’ll be able to connect with multiple recruiters in real-time from the comfort of your living room. One such resource is AAEE’s Virtual Career Fair for Teachers. For online job boards, you can check out AAEE’s Pre K-12 Education Job Board, or job boards such as K12JobSpot and SchoolSpring which allow you to look for jobs using search criteria such as specific locations and grade levels.

    Another great way to receive information about districts looking for new teachers is to become an AAEE Educator Candidate Member. Becoming a member will give you access to opportunities such as AAEE career fairs, contact with districts actively seeking new teachers, access to the national Job Fair Calendar, and professional webinars to get a jump-start on your professional development. Visit our Join AAEE page to sign up!

    Another useful resource you should make sure to utilize is LinkedIn. LinkedIn can be an easy way to find and contact schools searching for new teachers to join their team. You’ll also be able to quickly share your personal information with them, such as your resume and professional references. 

    What Resources Can I Look For to Help Me?

    • Educator Supply and Demand Report

    • Job Search Handbook for Educators

    • Good Neighbor Next Door Program

    • Teacher Next Door Program

    Luckily you aren’t the first teacher to relocate for a new job, so PLENTY of resources and benefits have already been established to help you land on your feet in your new position. At AAEE, we release two such resources each year. We conduct an annual survey of universities and school systems across the nation to create the Educator Supply and Demand Report. This report provides you with the most current information concerning the dynamic market of educator employment so you can make informed choices on where to search for your new job.

    AAEE can also provide you with the annual Job Search Handbook for Educators. The handbook includes notices from employers and grad schools about opportunities for candidates, effective resume and cover letter examples, tips on how to ace cyber interviews, and much more. These tips and tricks will help you learn how to find, apply, and succeed in the new teaching position you’re looking for!

    It’s entirely possible you fall in love with your new district and decide you want to stay! If that happens, there are several resources available to help teachers purchase a home. The Good Neighbor Next Door Program helps teachers who are first time home buyers to purchase certain homes for 50% off their listed price if they agree to live in the home for 36 months after the date of purchase. Their sister site, the Teacher Next Door Program, provides housing grants and down payment assistance for teachers moving into new districts.

    Creating New Opportunities Through Relocating

    By choosing to relocate and use the tips and resources we’ve compiled in this article, you’ll be able to drastically increase your chances of landing a teaching job you’ll LOVE. Remember that relocating is a good way to find open positions in schools that might suit you better than the ones in your immediate area. Always be sure to research any relocation benefits that districts or states might currently be offering. If you ever need help, remember to reach out to your friends at AAEE!

  • 31 Oct 2019 11:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Paul Berggren

    There’s nothing as harmful to the success of a company than employees who sit on the sideline, too disengaged or intimated to contribute.

    How do you overcome this problem and create a culture where everyone feels comfortable contributing?

    If you lead a team where employees seem hesitant to collaborate and share their thoughts, it’s time to take a deeper look at why this is happening and how to overcome it.

    They fire the coach first.

    If a sports team consistently underperforms, one big loss after another, team owners might adjust the lineup or find new starters. But more often than not, they start by firing the coach.

    If your employees are acting like spectators, disengaged, and non-collaborative, it’s easy to point fingers. But what if your employees aren’t the root of the problem?

    The ultimate responsibility for team engagement falls on the leader.

    It’s your responsibility as a leader to develop your culture and employees. If you’re struggling to build an engaged team, you might need to take a hard look at your expectations, processes, and leadership.

    How do you own your role and use it to create engaged, collaborative employees? It starts by defining your purpose.

    Define your purpose as a leader.

    Is your purpose as a leader to manage the process or coach your team? If your goal is to help people get better, you will act differently than if your main focus is to get things done. Managers focus on accomplishing tasks; leaders focus on helping their team use their strengths to multiply productivity. While all leaders must also be good managers, not all managers are good leaders.

    Ask yourself: What is my purpose as a leader? Do I live that out every day?

    Talk less and ask more questions.

    Good leaders ask questions. Poor managers make statements. If you want to collaborate but already have your final solution in mind, you’ll miss the opportunity to get feedback and improve the idea while earning the trust of your team.

    It takes humility to realize you might not have all the answers. By asking questions and really listening to employees, you’ll have better ideas and have a more engaged, collaborative environment. But if you aren’t willing to change your strategy based on their feedback, you’re missing the mark.

    A few questions to ask:

    -       What do we need to do?

    -       How does this relate to our goal?

    -       What’s the root cause of this issue?

    -       How can we get where we want to go?

    -       Tell me more about your idea.

    A coach brings out the talent of their team, challenging them and helping them grow. Act as a coach and lead your team toward collaboration by listening first, then asking good questions.

    Pick your star players.

    The next step to building an engaged team is looking at your current employees. Who on your team not only believes in collaboration but does it well? They should be your benchmark or “star player” as you look to hire and develop more employees.

    For example, if Joe in HR is always asking questions, encouraging feedback, and building rapport with other team members, how can you empower him to continue and then hire more people like Joe? Take the time to ask questions about his thought process. What does Joe value in his work that makes him collaborate? What does he avoid that keeps him open to feedback?

    Identify what makes someone a star player for your team and look for more people with the same mindset and motivation.

    A game plan is useless without players.

    You can invest heavily in your game plan and create the best process to accomplish your goals, but process strength alone isn’t enough to succeed. If you see people as a pawn in the game, hindering you from running the perfect play, you will end up overlooking their strengths.

    A game plan is pointless without the team to run the plays. To bring out the best in your team, you have to know them and their strengths. Ask yourself:

    1. Do I know my employees’ strengths and interests?
    2. Where do they excel?
    3. Where do they struggle?
    4. If there is a gap in their skills, how do I help them fill that gap?

    Many managers focus their time and energy on process strength. While it’s an essential component, your team will be discouraged and disengaged if your focus is entirely on the process. Additionally, your organization will only be “getting by” instead of excelling. You might feel like you have momentum, but it’s slow compared to what it could be.

    Invest in the strength of both your processes and your people, and you will see your company excel and reap the benefits.

    Get people off the sideline.

    By investing in both processes and people, you can work to get your team off the sideline and out on the field. It starts with how you make decisions.

    Bring employees into the planning process before a final decision is made and the process is set.  If you don’t, people will become disengaged, realizing that their opinion doesn’t truly matter.

    Take it a step deeper and encourage your team to build a collaborative culture together. What matters to your team and organization? Where do you want to be in five or ten years? What roadblocks will keep you from reaching those goals?

    Build a team instead of an organization full of spectators. Include people in all stages of the decision-making process.  Build a safe environment where employees are encouraged to offer their opinions. You’ll be rewarded with a team that’s fully engaged and wants to succeed.

    -       Paul Berggren is President of Crown Global HR, bringing clarity to the complex world of hiring, based in Lincoln, NE.  paul@CrownGlobalHR.com

  • 08 Aug 2019 9:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    AAEE Mini-Grant for School Districts

    Let AAEE help turns your ideas into reality. The American Association for Employment in Education is proud to announce the AAEE Mini-Grant Program. This program is designed to highlight and support innovative efforts by school districts to improve the pipeline of teachers into their districts and into the profession.

    Eligible projects are those that engage and encourage middle or high school-aged students to explore the possibility of a career in teaching.

    Want more details? Visit our Mini-Grant site to find eligibility, requirements, and general procedure.  

    Does your district have a new or existing project that could use some extra funding? Apply today!

    AAEE Mini-Grant
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