Why are resumes still used to hire teachers? #coetail


Our last COETAIL project for course 3 was to redesign a presentation or our resume to make it more aesthetically pleasing infographic.

However as a follow up to my Your applicants are googling you I’m going to go out on a limb and ask a question in response Brian Lockwoods comment – why are resumes used to hire teachers? 

Having never had the pleasure of sorting through 100s of resumes for a few positions, I’m assuming that resumes are used as a way to cull people who don’t have enough teaching experience, or interview someone with a masters degree over someone with a bachelors. No matter how beautiful resumes look, they are still bits of paper to make the process of sorting through large numbers of applicants easier.

But here’s the thing – are those bits of paper really all that important?

When I graduated university I had B+ grade point average.

Good, but not brilliant.

There were other students in my class that had better grades and better practicum reports than me. Yet I was one of the first in my class to get a job.

In place of straight As, I had a blog and some gumption to look for schools hiring where the principal was already on twitter (this was 2011, when twitter was relatively new in education circles). In fact, I was shameless enough to put ‘I follow you on twitter’ as part of my opening sentence to the principal of the school that initially hired me.

And that’s something you can’t really measure from bits of paper – will a candidate be good fit for a school?

The writing on my blog showed I have ‘teachability’ and passion for the job. Moreover voluntarily writing week after week, tenacity and communication skills. I had linked the writing to the Graduating Teacher Standards showcasing innovation in action.

Before you think I was hired on nepotism alone, I did hand in a resume, my references were checked and I had an interview with both school leadership and students before being offered a position. However, the ability to connect with others digitally and anticipate a unique selling point for the school helped me get my foot in the door. And that’s the point of a resume, to get your face in front of a hiring panel.

If grades aren’t particularly good at assessing the future performance of graduating teachers, is a resume all that better at finding experienced teachers?

Does having 10 years of experience make a teacher more likely to contribute to the life of a school than one with 5 years on the job?

Does graduating from a ‘top’ university with a masters degree make a candidate better at building relationships with kids than a candidate with a bachelors from a regular university?

Does listing the amount of professional development undertaken actually show what a teacher can do in in the classroom?

Yet those are things teachers typically list on our resumes in the hope we’ve got the right mix of experience, qualifications and PD time to advance to the next level.

But what if we flipped the process?

What could be used instead of a resume to do a ‘first cut’ of teaching candidates?

A video playlist of  ‘greatest classroom hits?’

A selection of photos of classroom learning?

A showcase of media mentions of learning experiences?

A link to the classblog?

You’ll find out more about me as a teacher flicking through any one of the links above than you would from a glance at my resume – either the traditional or an infographic version.

If we are moving into an era where what you do with your learning is just as important as what you’ve learned, perhaps hiring practices need to move past teachers telling schools what we know and showing what we can do with our knowledge?

Is it time to put resumes in the bin?

7 thoughts on “Why are resumes still used to hire teachers? #coetail

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  1. When I applied for my current job (nearly 4 years ago) I submitted a single infographic – with links to various social media & other online content. Everything that was relevant was on there. I even made it A4 size as I suspected the school would want to print it out!


  2. Kia Ora Steph
    As the principal who ended up being the first to hire you, I’d been an avid follower of your ‘Train the Teacher’ blog throughout the previous year. Before we even interviewed you I knew you were the sort of teacher we wanted to hire because even as a pre-service teacher you were challenging the old ways of doing things and asking why. You were also the first person I’d hired from only a skype interview.
    Love keeping up with your teaching journey via your blog,
    Nga mihi

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this Stephanie, I had a recent discussion with a university visiting lecturer. I said the same thing to her that you have done here. I wouldn’t bother with a Paper CV. I would just search the candidate’s name. Like Carolyn, I have followed your work since before you graduated and continue do so with great interest.


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