Periodically I scan through my logs to see how many people have visited the site, what pages are getting hits, and how people arrive here. The search terms are always interesting, the list of terms that people use to arrive here really crack me up sometimes. However today I saw a search that was honestly just a little disturbing.

Somebody did a search for the words, “Describe the skills or attributes you believe are necessary to be an outstanding teacher.” For those of you that haven’t applied for a teaching job for a few years, that’s basically the standard essay question that just about every school application seems to have (at least here in Illinois). I blogged about how difficult it was for me to answer it a little over a year ago, and that blog post comes up as the 4th hit in the search.

I can only think of one reason somebody would do a search for that phrase, and that’s because they’re trying to find somebody who has posted their own answer to it online, probably so they can ‘borrow’ from their answer. That in itself is a little disturbing to me, but what’s even worse is that the top hit for the search is from Google Answers. It’s a few years old, but in 2003, somebody paid $2.00 to have people answer the question. The answer isn’t exactly stellar, so maybe $2.00 was the appropriate price for it, but even so I find it both fascinating and bothersome that this is what new teachers are resorting to.

I do understand the pressure involved with the job application process, but if a teacher can’t come up with their own answer to that question, then maybe they ought to rethink their choice of careers. It’s not that I’m saying it’s easy, heck my blog post was about how difficult it can be putting your gut feeling into words, but if a teacher gives up and resorts to Google searches and bribery that easily, then I would worry about their competency in the classroom.

I wonder if they’re going to have to start logging teacher’s responses to essay questions on job applications on TurnItIn.com soon….