California educators , the authors share observations on the qualities every school leader should seek when interviewing and hiring highly effective educators .
We spend a lot of time coaching teachers to help them perform at their highest level . We have worked with school and district leaders who think the ability to be a great teacher is something “ you either have or you don ’ t .” In our experience , even a teacher with low student achievement and poor classroom structure can learn to be a great teacher . We have seen it happen in one school system after another .
The qualities principals and school leaders have historically sought in their teachers include likeability , authority and charisma . As fellow educators , we tend to think teachers are exceptional when they teach with a classroom style similar to ours , or teach in a way we ourselves like to learn .
What we have observed over the years is that people with these seemingly desirable skills may not always preside over classrooms that are optimally managed or highly engaged . Similarly , just because a teacher is “ nice ” to his or her students doesn ’ t mean that teacher has earned their students ’ respect . In the classroom transformation organization CT3 ’ s No-Nonsense Nurturer philosophy , we call these educators “ unintended enablers .”
Instead , we have seen that the most effective teachers possess three critical qualities : coachability for a growth mindset , the ability to build life-altering relationships , and a willingness to approach difficult subjects in the classroom . Let ’ s take an in-depth look at each quality , why it might seem hard to find , and how to look for it during the interview process .
Coachability for a growth mindset
What is it ? In her book “ Mindset ,” Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck writes : “ In a fixed mindset , people believe their basic qualities , like their intelligence or talent , are simply fixed traits . They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them . They also believe that talent alone creates success – without effort . They ’ re wrong .
“ In a growth mindset , people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work – brains and talent are just the starting point . This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment . Virtually all great people have had these qualities .”