But how can you tell if he/she is one in an interview? The signs are subtle, but they are there.

No one wants to work for a bully boss. Someone who doesn’t really want your thoughts or ideas. Someone who only wants you to listen to their ideas, the right ones, the only ones. One of the top ten reasons for teachers to leave their teaching jobs is because they are tired of working for a bully boss.

The pandemic certainly made things worse. This bully behavior is exacerbated by stress and anxiety, which we have all experienced since 2020.  Bonnie Low-Kramen states, author of Be the Ultimate Assistant. “What the pandemic did is heighten stress and anxiety in the workplace, especially among leaders who didn’t get training on how to manage a team. … All of that is causing leaders to not necessarily act in a respectful way to the team.” Disrespecting our teachers is definitely a problem.

Some have estimated that of the 1.2 million teacher spots needed in 2022, we have about 300,000 teacher spots still not filled. According to the Florida Educational Association, districts across the state are still looking for about 9,000 teachers. School in Florida has been in session for about 3 to 4 weeks, and there are still students needing teachers in their classrooms. And what is the response of the states, to go to four-day weeks, to hire those less qualified, to use substitutes and/or administrators? Our children are being seriously short-changed.

To those out there who still want to be teachers, and as a teacher of 50 years I ask you to please consider it, our children need qualified teachers in every classroom, be very aware of your interviewer and the school culture. You surely want a place where you can create a long and successful career and assist thousands of students in their childhood journey to adulthood.

According to a Fast Company article, “5 ways to spot a bully boss during a job interview”:

  1. Observe how the employees interact with each other, especially the interviewer and the boss. For example, are you interrupted often? The message is that your ideas are not as important as the boss’s.
  2. Ask about your role and ability to suggest new ideas. Do they want compliance with rules and availability? Or are they accepting of new ideas and alternate methods?
  3. Does the interviewer try to put you at ease, for interviews are stressful, or do they try to keep you off balance?
  4. How does the boss handle discomfort? Ask about the school’s position in the school system and what they are doing about any weaknesses. Is the boss reflective or defensive? Tells you a great deal.
  5. Ask to speak to fellow teachers about their experience at the school privately, in person, by text, IM, etc. Their responses will tell you what you need to know.

I wish you well. After fifty years of teaching, I am slowing down and want our children to have marvelous teachers. Good Luck!

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