The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects demand for special education teachers to increase by 10-15% by 2024. The main reason for this is the high inclusion of children with special needs in regular classrooms, a practice known as inclusion. School districts are looking for certified and qualified individuals to fill these positions.
Special Education Teacher Interview Questions
There are key questions that district interviewers will ask you if you are applying for this particular position.
What is an individualized education plan? / How would you write one?
According to Tim Wei, the author of “Guide to Getting Your Dream Educational Job,” your interviewer is likely to ask you this question. As a special education teacher, you must know what an individualized education plan is. This is the teaching plan that you write, and that you will adjust to the needs of the individual student. Each student has a different disorder – be it mental, emotional or physical.
Why is collaboration important?
According to Monster.com, your interviewer will ask you this question. The interviewer will want to know if you are able to work well with other teachers, whether they are inclusive or special education teachers. You will be communicating and teaching in conjunction with regular teachers, as well as with colleagues from special education. You will be sharing information with social workers, counselors, and support teachers. Therefore, your interviewer wants to know if you can work as part of a team.
How would you use the support staff?
As Monster.com suggests, you can expect this question about the use of the support staff the district will assign to your classroom. By asking yourself that question, the interviewer wants to know if you are able to use professional discretion and good common sense in day-to-day classroom activities. The interviewer may ask you to describe, for example, a situation where a paraprofessional (teaching assistant) may be necessary, and one where it is not. As this website points out, districts don’t want the teacher to become too dependent on them for anything related to the student. The goal is to develop independence in the child as much as possible.
Define some major disorders
As Wei points out, you attend the interview with knowledge of disorders that often lead children to special education programs. Although the interviewer will ask you to define conditions such as Asperger syndrome, autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, they will also test your knowledge of specific educational techniques that you can successfully use to reach these individuals.
How to stand out in an interview for a teaching position
Until automation fully takes over every occupation, the classroom will always be in need of human teachers, which is great for job security. Landing an open teaching position, however, requires you to impress the interviewer and stand out as the best candidate for the position. By channeling your previous teaching experiences, as well as presenting yourself in a calm, confident, and friendly manner, your interviewer will see you as an outstanding candidate.
Smile and appear friendly and positive. The time of breaking a rule and hitting a child on the hands is over. Modern teachers need to empathize with students and maintain a friendly and pleasant demeanor.
Speak fluently. Don’t hesitate when you speak and keep eye contact. Schools want teachers who communicate effectively with students and the way you speak in the interview will greatly affect your chances of being hired.
Draw on your experiences as a teacher, even if your only experience comes from teaching students. When discussing your strengths, mention how you have implemented those strengths when teaching in the classroom. Explain how you connected with the students and how you are going to take the skills you have learned and apply them to the position you are seeking.
Talk about your passion for teaching. Schools want teachers who not only teach well but also do it with enthusiasm. Do not go to the interview and speak in a tone of voice with little emotion. She seems excited and interested in the interview and talks about what you like about teaching and why you like it so much.
Highlight what makes you qualified to teach in the position for which you are competing. Highlight your academic background or past work experience. For example, suppose you are being interviewed for the position of a biology teacher. Explain that your major studies in elementary education combined with a minor degree in biology qualify you for the position.
Provide the interviewer with specific details and examples when necessary. Virginia Tech recommends avoiding vague explanations. For example, let’s say the interviewer asks you if you’ve ever encountered a time when a student refused to do her work. Instead of saying “Yes”, she explains the cause of the problem and how to fix it.
Indicate why you think you are the best candidate. Don’t wait for work; come out and ask for it. Usually, at the end of the interview, the interviewer asks you if she has anything else to say. State that you think you are the best candidate, and then give the interviewer reasons to support that opinion.