I came across a story about three stonemasons giving accounts of their work. The first said I am cutting stone; the second I am building a cathedral; the third I am serving God. It is not hard to imagine which mason is likely to find his work rewarding and valuable, and I had thought about using that story with students; it seems to map very neatly onto the Jobs, Careers and Callings categories that are so useful for young adults to think through as they make their choices about their working lives.
But that story has also stayed with me while we have been interviewing for new teachers in recent weeks. Which stonemason is most likely to do the best job, go the extra mile, be disciplined where necessary, creative where possible? Nothing’s ever certain of course, but my guess would be that it’s the one who sees the greater purpose, and the moral worth of his work. Similarly for teachers. So in our interviews we have been seeking professional diligence and flair, of course, but beyond that, we’ve been looking for those who fuse love of craft and determination to serve into singular devotion to shaping the next generation. These are hard things to describe, and impossibly to quantify. But they are what we’re looking for, because that’s what we know our students are looking for too.