Notes on the Podcast and More

Not Another Metaphor !

Funnel and Trawl

We had some fun using metaphors but we were serious about it.

We used Funnel and Trawling because of two concepts: 

Funnel:You need to have as many candidates as possible even if you are rejecting 99% and so a funnel allow a lot of possible people into the process to begin with. And of course the funnel narrows. Finally, there’s a tube at the end … and that fits the concept of having an induction and then considerable mentoring at the end of the recruitment process. 

The first couple of years of a new staff member at a Democratic Free School is also a training program.

Trawling: Sieving of candidates the other metaphor. Who are we trying to sieve out? What are we trying to avoid?

Why People Apply

People apply for a job for a variety of reasons- needing a job, being unhappy where they are, being inquisitive, being dedicated in theory to the new work. 

It is in the interest of candidates to get the job and they may elaborate, may stretch the truth. In other words as nice as they are some applicants may lie; for particular reasons or simply because they feel the situation is very vague, new, uncertain and so they are actually unsure of how to answer.

Generally, candidates want to win the contest, even if they end up with something better and decide to reject your offer. This is not good for recruiters because it means that you cannot always trust what people tell you.

You may find this harsh but the business of hiring good and multitasking teachers is critical to the success of your Democratic Free School. And if its your first year you and your small team will have sacrificed a whole lot and spent hundreds of hours developing the new project. The wrong teachers can scuttle it.

Back to the Funnel and Trawl

You have a wide mesh at the mouth of the funnel. Don’t put discouraging comments. You want someone with a teaching certificate and some experience.  But you do put some disqualifying statements that weed out people who are obviously not going to fit.  If they go for the job anyway, they are definitely not the people you want.

Before the Advert

Preparing to trawl will come before the interview. The process of hiring someone starts a long time before you put the advert out.  It would be dumb to put out an ad without having all the filters in place with all the steps to finally employing people in your the calendar.  

Immediate: Don’t Be Left With The Rest

You want the process to work with Immediate in mind. If you reply immediately, have all the filters immediately set to go and process each on a structured time line you look professional. And, the bottom line is if you if you delay too long the best candidates will have got jobs elsewhere. You will be Left With The Rest.

How many people are we hiring and what do we want?

We are starting with the Junior School, age range of 9+ to 13, the Clubhouse /Veteran Child, because that age naturally adapts to democratic school processes: loves to organize, run meetings, can seriously authority-share and take charge of their school living and doing environmental. At the Junior Age numeracy and literacy is on the way but the students do not yet have to be concerned with exam level courses and leaving the school. They are the most freed-up children in a Democratic School, all set to take Freedom of Choice of Action in Democratic Community to the limit and shape their own personal developmental narratives. The Junior teacher must have some serious skills beyond anything in a traditional school environment.

At lower primary, a competent, progressive primary school person experienced in numeracy and literacy teaching who can run little circles and discussions and maintain an age appropriate activity habitat is sufficient. An adaptation to a general Democratic Free School community will be necessary, of course; however, the Lower Primary staff will not need as new a toolbox as the Clubhouse teacher.

Junior To Senior: Strategic Recruitment 

To create the culture of the school we want to start with junior students who will grow up into the senior level. This is going to affect our strategic recruitment.

So we will notbe simply recruiting to fill a set vacant position; we will be hiring new people knowing full well that the school will change considerably over the succeeding years.

Two Jobs  

1. This staff member will be the leader of the Clubhouse/Junior age.  She does not have to have the complete set of necessary skills mastered to begin with, but we are looking for a personal skill set and range of interests that can be developed into what’s required to be an effective Clubhouse head-teacher. Leonard will be mentoring this person. It would be desirable if this person was an ace at Math he says.

2. A language expert, to start with also Clubhouse teacher number two, who will lead in the development of an excellent reduced literacy curriculum not only in the Clubhouse but will begin to craft a program for the older students as they grow up towards examination age.  (As an alternative, you might have this person be a Math or Science expert, our other two core subjects. Leonard thinks literacy is the best expert to begin with since those skills reach across all formal curriculums.

Teachers need to have the impression throughout the hiring process that they will be teaching in a serious school that is working in the interests of the children within the concept of Freedom of Choice of Action in Democratic Community. It is not about discovery learning or project work only.  

There is a spine of lessons (as at Summerhill) that children do not have to go tobut is there as an option.  

As kids get older we will have to put some STEM in there.  We don’t want a cute little granola school where kids onlylearn how to paint their faces. 

A Democratic Free School is a good school if it helps children to move on with the next stage of their lives.  It is a bad school if children leave incompetent and insecure. As Summerhill says, “The aim is that students will have a toolbox to take with them for the next stages of their life.”

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