Teacher Preparation and Recruitment & Hiring
Teachers often say that teaching online is very different from teaching in a physical classroom, and many online schools (but not many pre-service programs) provide specific professional development to help teachers make the transition.2
A few states have specific requirements in order for a teacher to be an online teacher. (See also: Special Licensure). If this is the case in your state, the first step is to review these requirements and determine if you feel additional preparation is required for your online teachers.
For programs in states where there are no requirements (or in states where requirements exist, but you feel these requirements aren’t adequate), your program must decide what constitutes adequate preparation as an online teacher.
The iNACOL National Standards for Quality Online Teaching3 make a good starting place in developing your program’s preparation requirements. A new online teacher won’t necessarily have all of these skills, but by knowing the expectations for a quality online teacher, you can decide which skills are preparation requirements.
It is quite common for online learning programs to incorporate at least some of the preparation requirements into the recruitment & hiring process. At a minimum, this training needs to include the basics of your administrative systems. Your teachers need to have a basic level of competency with your Learning Management System, Student Information System, and any other systems your program uses.
Beyond the technical knowledge, providing teachers with training in your policies is also important in the training process. While some of this will be fairly procedural in nature, often the presentation and discussion of your program’s policies will provide opportunities to discuss aspects of online pedagogy.
Recruiting & Hiring
Before you can determine your teacher recruitment & hiring process, you must answer a few basic questions:
- If you are a district or school program, will you be utilizing teachers that are already part of your district/school or will you be hiring new teachers? Regardless of the answer to this question, will your teachers be dedicated to the online learning program or will some teachers have both traditional classroom and online teaching responsibilities?
- Will you have full-time teachers, part-time teachers, and/or adjunct faculty? It is certainly possible to mix-and-match these categories.
- Will your teachers be located in a physical building or will they work from home?
The answers to these questions will have an impact on your teacher policies and your policies in-turn will have an impact on the recruitment & hiring process.
As mentioned above, the recruiting & hiring process is directly connected with the teacher preparation process. You must decide:
- What requirements must a teacher meet to be considered for an online teaching position?
- What training, if any, will you provide during the recruitment process, but prior to making a hiring decision? If you provide training, will there be any charge for this professional development? Incorporating training at this point in the process allows for the teacher to better understand what it means to be an online teacher and allows the program to learn more about the prospective teacher. Either party can decide that there isn’t a good match, prior to making the hiring commitment.
- What training, if any, will you provide after a hiring decision has been made, but prior to the teacher beginning online teaching duties? Once again, if training will be provided will there be an associated cost? Training at this stage, should allow the teacher to be more ready for his/her first online class, but also means a longer lead time is required for hiring new teachers.
References for footnotes can be found on the resources page or click on the footnote number for a direct link.