Happy teachers, happy school: the Arcadia method – part 3
Incredibly high standard
The standard of applicants was incredibly high. This made final decisions difficult, but we had to come down to our final selection of 22 teachers. We are absolutely delighted with the teachers we have employed — and equally delighted by the speed with which every one of them signed their contract.
Our focus was on selecting a balance of young and dynamic teachers, combined with experience within leadership roles. We believe we have achieved this.
There was a lot of emotion and excitement among the candidates before and during the interviews, and tears from some of those not selected. I personally contacted all of our unsuccessful candidates from the final interviews and explained our reasons for not selecting them. I felt we owed it to them, and the gesture seemed to be appreciated.
As part of their welcome and orientation, we’ve already provided members of our new team with information about moving to Dubai, and living and working here. Their housing and benefits will be the best of any school in Dubai. In the meantime, for those in the UK, our representatives are going to address any concerns they may have.
I use the word ‘team’ because that’s how we intend Arcadia to run. This is a key point. We have decided against the more usual ‘top-down’ management style. In my experience, empowering people to take responsibility within a clear framework is the way to a happy and fulfilled teaching staff, which in turn will result in a happy and successful school.
It also demonstrates to our teachers that we support their professional development; it’s part of our ethos of a learning culture focused on continual improvement and shared best practice.
We see the willingness to provide the very best for our teachers as the most important element in helping our children gain an outstanding education. That means looking at and fixing any potentially negative aspects of their work/life balance.
We all know the traffic can be bad, so we’re building a luxury apartment block for our teachers, just five minutes’ walk from the school. This will be a first in Dubai when it’s ready in mid-2017.
This is something that we’re very proud of, as another innovation that sets Arcadia apart as a very special school.