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Recruiting 2.0

It’s hard to know what administrators really want to know about any given teacher before they hire them. Some argue the more they know about an individual the better. The clearer the picture a teacher can paint of their teaching style, educational philosophies, and general personality, the easier it is for an administrator to make the hire.

Others, however, argue that most administrators only want to see the nuts-and-blots. Keep your resume to only one page they warn, and don’t ramble on-and-on in your cover letter.

While I have tried to accommodate both camps in the traditional field of hiring, I feel that here on my blog I have some room to explore and express my ideas, talents, and skills a bit further.

I hope that my inviting prospective employers to my blog, I am not inundating them with useless data, but rather that I am offering them a clearer picture of what I can bring to a school.

On this recruiting page, I would like to highlight some of the work I have done, and further explore the reasons why I am the best candidate for any given job, because I can offer much more than the average teacher. I want to begin by using Andrew Chruches model, on the necessary traits of modern teacher, as a backdrop for my work.

The Adaptor

My teaching career started here:

I was to teach fifty middle school aged Mozambicans to speak English. We had no books, no desks, and I had very little experience to draw upon. I was young and idealistic; armed with a piece of chalk and an unnerving optimism, I set forth to accomplish my task. The two years I spent living in Mozambique taught me more about adaptability than anything else in my life.

Teachers must also be able to adapt to a dynamic teaching experience. When it all goes wrong in the middle of a class, when the technologies fail, the show must go on.

I believe this statement to be true with or without technology. Early in my career I was working without the comforts of walls. Nothing like an afternoon rainstorm to really make you think on your feet. I am a teacher who plans sparingly, improvises frequently, and always finds a way to connect with any given group of learners, on any given day.

Whether when dealing with technical issues while making podcasts for The Tempest, or shifting the focus of a lesson because the class is brain dead, adaptability is one of my strongest traits.

The Visionary

“Jabiz is a passionate, engaging and inspiring teacher. His dedication to finding new ways to connect with his students through the use of emerging technology tools helps make learning authentic and relevant for his students in this 21st century. The energy and enthusiasm that Jabiz brings to his classroom are infectious.”

Imagination is a crucial component of the educator of today and tomorrow. The visionary teacher can look at others ideas and tools and envisage how they would use these in their class. The visionary looks across the disciplines and through the curricula making links that reinforce and value learning in other areas, and leverage other fields to reinforce their own teaching and the learning of their students.

Throughout my career, I have not only made the best use of technological tools I have had at my disposal, but I have used my own learning to help create new opportunities for student success.

After completing a course for beginning actors at the local arts center in Kuala Lumpur, I approached my school administration and requested that I could teach a similar class. I knew that my knowledge of Language Arts and Drama, coupled with my emerging expertise in photography and film production would make for a great learning experience for students. Here is a brief example of what that looked like. I do have the full version if this project, but have chosen not to post it in its entirety:

I have also on two occasions, taken a mundane journalism course, and transformed it into a dynamic multi-media experience. Using technology, I helped motivate students to understand Journalism not as it was in the past, but of what it is today, and what it will look like in the future. Creating online and video student newspapers are some of the few visionary courses I have helped create. Here are a few short clips of student work:

The Collaborator

As a colleague, Jabiz was instrumental in supporting the development of a middle school Model United Nations program at our school and in bringing new ideas and opportunities to our middle school student population.

As an educator we must be able to leverage collaborative tools to enhance and captivate our learners. We too, must be collaborators; sharing, contributing, adapting and inventing.

Besides the obvious work I do online using tools like blogs, wikis, Nings, and Twitter to name a few, I am constantly working with other teachers to try and find the best direction forward for the institutions for which  I have worked. I have led numerous technology workshops for teachers and parents, in hopes of motivating a school wide shift on thinking of 21st century learners. Constantly open to new ideas, easygoing, and approachable, I often find myself acting as negotiator between opposing viewpoints.

The Risk Taker

You must take risks and some times surrender yourself to the student knowledge.

We learn from failure, and we cannot fail if we do not take risks. Risk takers are often praised if their risks pay off and they eventually succeed, but often times risk takers are seen as idealistic or naïve if they are in the midst of their learning cycle.

We encourage our students to take risks, but are weary to let them hazard anything truly uncertain. I have been a risk taker my entire life and the jury is still out on whether I have made good choices or not, but I do know that I have learned some of the most important lessons in my life from the risks I have taken, and if approached maturely and confidently, teaching students to take risks is a vital part of  their education.

The Learner

Jabiz is an honest educator with a passion for literature and global issues. He brings to the classroom the truthfulness of his own journey towards developing his skills as a teacher and as a citizen. As he stretches himself, Jabiz challenges his students to do the same; to tackle the deeper meanings of literature, to be heard on issues of importance, to open themselves to verse, to write memoirs, and to trust each other with new ideas and points of view. He is willing to see each individual student as a work in progress and to meet each of them at the point where they need first encouragement and then challenge.

We too must continue to absorb experiences and knowledge. We must endeavor to stay current. I wonder how many people are still using their lesson and unit plans from 5 years ago. The 21st Century teacher or educator must learn and adapt.

Beyond the work I do online, learning about new web tools and their implications for education, I am constantly studying something for my own growth. Whether, I spend six months reading an entire series like The Narratives of Empire by Gore Vidal, or learning about race and politics in Baltimore from books like The Corner, I am an information fiend.

I have been reading one book after another for as long as I can remember. Some books that I have recently read about education have been: The End of Education by Neil Postman, The Montessori Method, by Maria Montessori, and Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire. I am firm believer that you can tell a lot about a person by the books they read, so please take a look at my library here.

The Communicator

They are fluent in tools and technologies that enable communication and collaboration. They go beyond learning just how to do it, they also know how to facilitate it, stimulate and control it, moderate and manage it.

Having created an entirely online classroom experience, dedicated to conflict resolution, global sustainability, peace activism, music and art as agent for social change, technology as a tool for social justice, but open to any other topics readers suggest, called Intrepid Classroom, I have come to learn the importance of effective communication.  I am constantly exploring innovative tools as well as methods of increasing the communication of ideas. Online tools have a great potential in bringing together otherwise disparate groups of stakeholders. Through the use of web 2.0 tools, I am constantly learning how to best engage and communicate with my students.

I am equally comfortable leading meetings or small group discussions. I am naturally adept at communicating not only my ideas, but the ideas of others in a clear and coherent manner.

The Model

Jabiz Raisdana brings to the classroom inquiry at its best.  He believes in the potential of every student, teaching them to be critical and creative in their writing, reading, and thinking.  Writer and artist, radical and compassionate, he is continually mining the world and himself for meaning.  What better qualities to want in an educator?

I think of myself as more of a student than a teacher. This does not mean that I am not knowledgeable, experienced, or competent. It just means that every time I teach a novel, I read it again to try and find some fresh insight. I often complete the assignments I give my students, in hopes that by doing so they will see the relevancy.

I pride myself on learning alongside my students. I want them to see that teachers are not archaic robots spouting off rehearsed lectures, but that we truly believe what we teach. I want my students to see that art and literature are valuable and that I too am constantly trying to better myself.

I often ask my students to make themselves open and vulnerable in order to find their artistic voice. Because I expect so much from them, I feel it is important to model this behavior. Although, I am not the best singer in the world, I try to sing at assemblies as often as possible to show students that it is okay to do something because you love it. You want to model risk taking? Try sitting in front of three hundred parents, teachers, and students and sing a few songs out of key:


The Leader

I have sat on accreditation committees, principal search committees, as well as having lead grade level teams, student trips, and teacher work groups. I value the challenge of trying to inspire teachers to work together, in order to create and foster a community of educators working toward a shared goal.

I have added a few of my favorite posts from Intrepid Teacher below, so please take the time to read and explore.

and two assessments to give you an idea of the standards I set:

I hope I have created a clearer picture of who I am as an educator. Sometimes we just need a bit more than a resume, or even an interview, to truly meet a person. Please contact me to discuss this or any other material you find relevant.

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7 Responses leave one →
  1. avatar
    October 26, 2008

    this is fantastic! – I often read the blog of out Director of Schools, who talks about ‘retaining’ and ‘developing’ innovative leaders, posing – what to me seem – rhetorical questions about how to get these people into ‘our’ schools.

    One of the great problems is that the ‘criteria’ for recruitment or promotion is 20C, not 21C. The point of reference, for leadership positions is the past – time served. This is widely reported as a problem in University recruitment.

    While principals are keen to hire ‘innovative, tech savvy staff’ – they themselves do not see the need to ensure that the schools ‘executive’ are also learning to be tech savvy. They see it as something that they can buy, but not necessarily ‘ buy’ into.

    This leaves us with a massive problem. Leaders in the school who have little or no context for the media age or how technology (read/write) changes learning. I think they are also very intimidated by the 21C teacher, and I get a definate message (I’ve poked the bear) that ‘experience’ is their fall back to on one hand, protect their lofty positions, but also to get the most out of 21C teachers. Often they do that through ‘wow, you are so clever, we love it’ – praise, but that is not backed up with cool hard cash or promotion.

    We may have to wait decades for these people to retire to get significant leadership change, and this is why 21C teachers drop out of classrooms – where they are needed most – I know I have.

    Great post, and well illustrated.

  2. avatar
    October 26, 2008

    This is fantastic stuff! Great insights. Your passion for teaching shines through. Thanks for sharing the 21st Century Educator material…very powerful. I am now following your blog!!!

  3. avatar
    October 27, 2008

    Great post, thanks. I have just applied for a couple of jobs and have emphasized my online activities. I shall be very interested to see how that goes down.

  4. avatar
    May 27, 2009

    What a good idea for an online c.v. :-)

  5. avatar
    January 19, 2010

    What a great blog! It’s a pity that i can’t find your rrs address. If you can offer rrs subscription service, i can track your blog easier!

  6. avatar
    December 4, 2010

    Jabiz! I love this!

    It’s going to sound over the top, but one of the things I enjoyed most about my overseas career was keeping my CV current, and constantly reflecting on my successes (and failures – although I didn’t share ALL of those in interviews) and thinking about how I had been contributing to my schools.

    I wondered if I’d still be doing this, and feeling this excitement once I came home and faced public ed again for the first time in almost a decade… but I’m totally there. And sooo happy to be part of this movement, and hopefully soon, be a driving force in public ed’s evolution. Who knew?

    It makes me smile to think that twitter and Web2.0 has brought me back to KL, where Susan first held my hand and led me to the well of blogging.

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