In response to the posts on interview prep, a reader writes:
“Although you are right, there are things that can be learned in this type of interview, there is danger working in these districts. Remember, you work for who hired you. If the superintendent hires you, that’s who you work for. If a committee of teachers hire you, that’s who you work for. In general a committee of teachers will try to maintain status quo. Status quo is OK if the status is the school is great. There are very few great schools, especially high schools.”
You are right about the lack of truly great schools. And here are some of my thoughts related to that fact.
1. It’s not that there isn’t an overwhelming desire to be great. There is. Ask 100 people if they want to be great. At least 95 will say “yes.” But ask those same 100 people if they are willing to put in the work necessary to be great and the number of positive responses will drop dramatically. My guess is that 50 people with a positive response would be a safe bet. But then watch those 50. Less than 10 actually have the discipline, focus and work ethic to be great. If fact, to be great at one thing, you have to be deficient in other things. You can not have it all. Scary thought isn’t it, and one that is completely contrary to what every advertisement wants you to believe. The great one’s obsess and grind. Everyone else goes home and has a life. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but I am saying you will be much happier if you quit lying to yourself.
2. When you visit “great” schools you quickly notice one of three things. Either the campus is focused on “stuff and things,” and it is the stuff and things that they do exceptionally well that people consider great. For example, the high SES school that has earned blue ribbon awards yet does not academically outperform its peers. Or, it is a niche campus that is bragging about the “success” of the niche. For example, the early college high school that hangs its hat on the fact that 95% of its graduates go on to college. Or it is the low SES campus that is consistently outperforming its peers, but will not concede that it is great because they recognize that their kids haven’t even begun to reach their potential.
But to tie back to the premise of interviews and who to work for, you have to know who you are. If you are a regular reader of the blog and a koozie carrying member of the LYS Nation; go for great. We work too hard, our students’ needs are too extreme, and life is too short to just be ordinary.
Think. Work. Achieve.