Here are a few snippets that I had to leave behind for my story about teacher hiring at High Tech High:
- I spent a lot of my day shadowing Parag Chowdhury, a philosophy and neurobiology expert who is vying for a spot as a biology teacher. Besides being an extraordinarily good sport, Chowdhury was remarkably frank, not just with me, but also with his teenage interviewers. When Nick Santiago, a senior at High Tech High International, asked Chowdhury about his teaching style, he said, “I have the teaching style that most people here hate — the pedagogical lecture style.” But he added that he wants to learn to incorporate projects into his teaching.
- High Tech High has the luxury of being able to train and credential its own teachers through its graduate school of education — the first such program operated by a charter school in the state. Similar programs in school districts allow teachers-in-training to begin working while they earn their credentials.
- Lahnna Epolito, who applied for a job as a humanities teacher, has never taught before, though she tutors at High Tech High Chula Vista. Before doing her demonstration lesson on Jabberwocky, she gave me this killer quote: “I’m baptizing myself by fire right now,” Epolito said.
- As the day came to a close, Nikki Hinostro, director of High Tech High North County, gave the applicants a closing speech and a pat on the back. “You’ve put yourself out there on the line many times to be judged, to be evaluated,” she began. Her pep talk ended, “You will be hearing from us in the next couple of weeks what ‘bucket’ you are in: a good fit, maybe a good fit, and” — she paused — “what was my other bucket?”