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נרשמים AC נכסים Scanovate

Ankori - An Alternative to Public School / By Shuki Stauber

Osnat Haber Koton: The Ankori network lives off of the public school system's failure both operationally and in terms of values, and offers an alternative. While the public education system is lacking today, Ankori is adapting itself in order to provide an alternative solution. The deficiency used to be in matriculation. Bagrut preparation was not focused at public schools and Ankori concentrated on this field. In recent years the public school system has demonstrated inadequateness and failure in the area of emotions, and authority has been undermined at schools.

What is the source of the problem?

Management quality. The problem in the education system is not adding a bit to teachers' salaries. Even if a large percentage were added it wouldn't change the teachers' income significantly. They'd get a few hundred shekels more, but that won't restore their lost honor. Neither will reducing class size.
The problem is the management system is poorly constructed. The teachers are more burned out than in any other system. The education system is a dogmatic and dry system. Even if a school principal is a fantastic person and brimming with goodwill, he is still a teacher who received a managerial post without managerial training. The Dovrat Report also touched on this painful point.
There are principals who oversee over 200 employees. In order to manage such a system it's not enough to successfully complete a few courses in educational management. In the private sector, in order to reach a position of managing a business with 200 workers, people go through a bit more.

How does Ankori differ from the public education system?
Ankori provides the student what he's missing in the public school system – values and sensitivity. The student receives one-on-one attention based on a viewpoint that advancing the individual and his personal strengths will allow him to grow both within the system and outside of it. The goal is to support him in a holistic way. Not just focusing on the functional task of meeting Bagrut test requirements in a certain subject.

Today almost no student gets expelled from a public school. Schools want to present good stats, without dropouts, in order to prove how well they've succeeded in keeping students in "the herd." This is the only gauge of success. Therefore a student has to have a really good reason to come study at Ankori. After all it's not easy for him, since in many cases it involves taking a bus and leaving friends behind. It also costs a lot of money. Therefore we have to be a whole lot better.

We believe the more freedom you allow a person, the more his self-confidence grows. That's not only our approach regarding the student, but the teacher as well. Because only a teacher who feels that can handle the student in a similar manner. In order for the student to be happy, the teacher has to be happy, too.


Osnat Haber Koton, CEO of Ankori

How do you make teachers happy?
We are a special organization. An organization that loves and is loved. A small and intimate system. There are those who fall in love with Ankori, and see it as a home and a family, which creates a mutual commitment accordingly. Others may not understand what we want from them.
Therefore this type of framework is not right for everyone, because along with the advantages it demands investment on the teacher's part in upholding a mutual relationship. Sometimes, in order to succeed here, you have to forego other things and juggle your priorities.

Where do you recruit teachers?
We don't recruit them from the public education system. The criteria for recruiting teachers is also different from those of the public school system.
First of all what matters to us is the teacher's character, more than his knowledge. Our teacher does not know math better than the teacher in the public education system. We're looking for teachers who are leaders. A person who is not aggressive, but wise and thoughtful. Someone who is creative, flexible and able to improvise. There are people who freeze when they're asked to be creative or improvise. To them this is chaos.
We're looking for people who are not necessarily interested in what they teach. It could be someone who worked at a high-tech company, an advertising agency or did research at a university. People like this have no problem studying, getting a teacher's certificate and joining the teaching profession. It's not something that's overly involved for them.

What recruitment tools do you use to bring them to Ankori?
Employee referrals is a key tool. We're like a family, so the teacher suggests his friend join the family. A teacher like this, who is familiar with the spirit of the organization, knows better than anyone else how to spot who's right for our system. We also use advertising, primarily on Internet sites like Jobnet. We also place newspaper ads, but we've found that resumes that come to us through the Internet are of higher quality than those that come through the newspaper.
Therefore the newspaper ads are mostly used to recruit administration and maintenance workers. The pool of potential teachers we're reaching out to looks for work primarily on the Internet.

How do you assess the traits you mentioned earlier? How is the recruitment and screening process for the network's teachers carried out?
Since Ankori is a place of work in high demand, we receive a lot of resumes. The person who handles them is my personal assistant, who does the initial screening, assessing hard facts like education level, etc. Afterwards she refers suitable resumes to the respective campus principals.

The campus principal does most of the screening process. This is a complex task because most of all we buy from the teachers their character, not just their professional knowledge. Since it's hard to evaluate character and suitability for the organization, this is a task we have to execute on our own. It can't be passed on to an outside screening institute.

The candidate is invited to come in for an interview with the campus principal. Often the principal includes a professional, veteran teacher in the process. For instance, if we want to recruit a math teacher, a math teacher from the school's teaching staff may be brought in.
On the other hand, if we're looking for an educational consultant, a consultant from another campus will be brought in, because there's only one at each campus. That's an example of cooperation among the campuses, which we encourage anyway.

In some situations we make use of other screening tools. An occupational psychologist who knows us well works with us. He has done assessments for principals and teachers and designed a personality profile that suits us. Therefore in some cases where we're unsure of the results of the interview we ask the candidate to fill in a written questionnaire, which is then passed on to the psychologist and he gives us a computerized analysis and his opinion.

There are no singular rules regarding how to choose a teacher. At Ankori the rule is that you're allowed to break the rules.

The candidate passes the interview with flying colors. What's the next step?
Baptism by fire. Standing in front of a classroom. The class' reaction indicates whether he succeeded or not. The students can quickly identify the attributes and blunders of a teacher standing before them and voice their opinion directly. If there's a round of applause at the end of a sample lesson, that says it all. If at the end of the lesson the students tell us, "That's not Ankori," their remarks carry a lot of weight in the decision whether or not to hire him. We want a teacher to do more than just put in his work hours. We want character and emotional abilities.

You expect the teachers to show strong abilities and invest considerable effort. Do you know how to compensate them accordingly?
Compensation is based on typical salary levels in the public school system. We cannot depart from that framework very much. An educator can never get a substantially higher salary level. I will never be able to pay him the salary he really deserves for his effort. Furthermore, our teachers are people who could work in other fields, not just teaching, and could probably command higher salaries.

Does this frustrate the teachers?
They are compensated in other ways. We create a high-quality work environment for them, including guidance and support. We create a place where they can realize their goals.

How do you achieve this in practice?
That brings us back to the issue of management. A lot depends of the campus principals, who are high-caliber, talented people. Working with these principals allows the teachers to work with an intelligent, professional person who boosts them. The teachers feel this is not just another place of work, but a place where they live and develop. A place with good atmosphere and where they make friends and feel like a family.
In order to manage people like this, you have to follow a path of slow, sensitive management based on inclusion and listening. Just as I cannot impose decisions on the campus principals, but must persuade them, they have to do the same with their teachers.

Execution is the problem in the public education system. That's what caused the implementation of the Dovrat Report to fail – it was executed from above. Without full cooperation from the field, no reform will succeed. Every school, every area and every student has different needs. You cannot rely on an inflexible policy imposed from above.

Who are these talented campus principals. Where did they come from?
Our principals differ from those found in the public school system. First of all they are younger. Many of them emerged from within the system. It was harder for us with the external recruitment of managers because, as we've said, Ankori has a special character.
In addition to the basic requirements, including relevant degrees required of every school principal by the Education Ministry, he must have a teaching certificate, management experience and teaching experience – these are the basics.
In practice our campus principals do everything. They are pedagogical managers, they are educators and they teach. They also run the campus from a business standpoint, including involvement in marketing and sales.

Then they're your business partners. Is there a profit-sharing arrangement?
The principals are definitely business partners, but we're not a private company. I cannot divulge our compensation terms.


For the Hebrew Article

 
חיפוש עובדים Jobnet דרושים - חיפוש עבודה גיוס עובדים לימודי מקצוע קורות חיים הצהרת נגישות
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