I spoke to a nice young lady this week who seemed like she would be qualified to replace me at my old job. She'd been a teacher for a few years and she had previous experience in the tech field. My former principal thought it would be more effective if I would show this candidate around and explain what it's like to be a tech coordinator. She seemed excited and by the end of our conversation we were speaking to each other as if she already had the position. I was very relieved. We've got a great program at this school and I was really happy that I was given the opportunity to have some input in finding my replacement.
My concerns for a candidate is whether the person will do well working with over 30 teachers. The most valuable advice I got several years ago when I first started as a technology coordinator was, "You have to be friends with everybody". This advice was given to me by the tech coordinator at the school where I was a classroom teacher. I liked her very much and she was my model through the years. A position like this requires a great deal of diplomacy, patience, and enthusiasm. My friend told me that it was really important that I remain upbeat and positive when dealing with all these other teachers. Some days my patience will be tried when I get called in to a classroom with a broken computer and when I plugged the cord in to the wall socket it works fine. I learned to be very diplomatic when teachers resisted or flat out refused to use technology as a tool when I knew the students would benefit. My enthusiasm really pays off when I can see the skills of the staff grow because they see the value and have gained the confidence in their own abilities. I was not concerned at all that this candidate could learn the technology. After all, I did! I started this job knowing very little about the computer applications. I literally "bluffed" my way through the interview. Luckily I was able to play with a computer during the summer before I started, take a couple of workshops, and attend NECC.
After several years, I've become an "expert" on the applications - that was the easy part. When asked why I was leaving, I told the candidate that being a technology coordinator was the absolute funnest job I could ever have! I absolutely loved every minute of helping over 500 students learn and demonstrate what they have learned in every core subject area using technology as a tool. I enjoyed working with all of the teachers. Things didn't always go perfectly, but the program grew by leaps and bounds due to their commitment and enthusiasm. I'm leaving for an opportunity to work with a staff and a student population over three times the size. I hope I'm up to the challenge. I assured the candidate that her qualifications seem to match very well and that learning the technology would be easy. Based on her interpersonal skills, as far as I could tell in one conversation, I thought she would do well with the staff.
After our conversation, the candidate spoke to the principal and indicated that she wanted to "stay in the classroom". She declined to take the position.
I really hope I didn't scare her off.