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Fit to Teach: Uncovering the Hiring Process

Amy Gagnon, Matthew Martin & Tan Leng Goh

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Hiring qualified teachers is an essential responsibility of school leaders and other individuals involved with the hiring process. Though the application and hiring process may seem quite standardized to prospective teachers, Whitworth et al. (2016) noted that many school leaders have time constraints and other job responsibilities, which makes it challenging to spend the necessary time to find the “right” teacher candidate. Furthermore, school leaders are not always familiar with physical education (PE) curriculum, physical education national/state standards or best teaching practices. In addition, school leaders make hiring decisions based on characteristics such as grade point average, gender, body size and/or perceived fitness level, even though some of these characteristics are discriminatory (Baghurst & Bryant, 2012; Cardinal & Cardinal, 2001).

The purpose of this article is to share qualitative findings about a study that examined the factors that school leaders value when hiring physical education teachers. A second objective is to discuss the categories and themes that emerged through focus group interviews with school leaders, current PE teachers, recent physical education graduates and physical education teacher education (PETE) students. Finally, tips and suggestions are provided for individuals who are involved in the hiring process or looking for PE teaching positions.

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