My school, like many, has been in the process of hiring new teachers. It has been very interesting to see this happen, and see who is selected. It got me thinking a lot about what are the inherent traits that make a good teacher. Many things can be coached or taught to a new teacher, but not everything. You can't teach someone to have respect or integrity. You can't teach someone to be passionate about this field.
If the person can pass their content test and graduated from college they have the requirements to complete the job, but that's not what make the best teachers. To become a teacher you do not have to posses all the skills when you start, but you have to be able to grow and learn. Good instruction especially can be coached. Classroom management is always harder. How do you determine if a teacher can manage a classroom by sitting with them an interview? They are not surrounded by 25 students, their blood pressure hasn't risen yet, and they aren't exhausted from the job yet. Besides actually observing them in a class, how can you tell how they would be as a teacher?
I was thinking back to my beliefs or what I said before I started this adventure. I remember talking about class projects, motivating students, and a love of my subject. The last two are what make my class what it is. I also remembering being so naive about working hard and what it would take to be a good teacher, but I also remember telling my interviewers how much I cared about this mission. I think that's the key to me. The person has to truly care about this work. This cannot be a last resort and a just to try, this is has to be something they will work hard for and believe in. They honestly will be miserable if they don't really believe in it because when the October blues comes it's only your self motivation and passion that can pull you through. I really believe the rest can be taught. Having people there to teach it, is another topic. However even if you were taught the right skills before teaching, you still need passion for it.