Teacher Recruitment: What You Ask For Is What You Get
By Rodney L. Pry
Teachers are some of the most important people in the church. While engaging in the ministries of nurture and training, the church school staffer’s relationship with members of the congregation is closer and more sustained than that of anyone else – including the pastor. Indeed, each teacher is a minister to his or her own congregation-within-the-congregation. If community is to be maintained and faith shared, the teacher is the key person in the process.
Therefore, in recruiting church school staff, irresponsibly settling for “second best” jeopardizes the integrity of the faith we are passing on. Poor recruitment practices cripple many promising educational programs.
In teacher recruitment, the basic maxim is this: What you ask for is what you get! Therefore, here are some suggestions for effective recruitment, a first step in building a solid educational program.
1. Believe that a prospective teacher is being asked to perform an important service. You are requesting a commitment of time and energy. Never tell the recruit that “there’s nothing to it.” That is untrue and fools no one. If the recruiter conveys the attitude that teaching takes “no time at all,” be prepared to deal with the consequences which may include the teacher taking “no time at all” to prepare their lessons and frustrated teachers.
2. Without exception, recruitment should be done by personal visit to the prospect’s home. Avoid phone calls and, even worse, snagging helpless victims in the corridor after the Sunday services.
3. Recruit teachers to serve for a definite period of time, preferably one year. Make it clear that after one year, he/she will be given the option of continuing for another year or relinquishing responsibilities. After two years of service, a teacher will take at least one quarter of “vacation.” It is easier to recruit good teachers if you do not sentence them to a life term in the classroom.
4. Provide a written job description at the time of recruitment. This should be a clear analysis of exactly what the church expects of teachers – classroom hours; attendance at workshops, labs and teachers’ meetings; telephoning/visiting pupils, etc. A description should also include information about resources and support that will be provided to the teacher – training opportunities, literature, supplies, substitute teachers, assistance from coordinators and church staff, etc.
5. No arm-twisting! Respect a person’s right to say “no!” Teaching requires commitment. Teachers should feel that they are truly being “called” by the Lord. A reluctant teacher will tend to take the path of least resistance. This is not what you want!