The job hunt for a special education teaching position can be very competitive. In some areas of the country, it’s not unusual for hundreds of people to apply for open teaching positions. When you do get an interview, it’s important to distinguish yourself from your fellow job hunters. Research interview questions and prepare articulate responses to boost your chances of a getting a teaching contract.
All About You
Your interview will probably start with a few questions about you. The interviewer might ask you to tell her about yourself. She’s not looking for a recitation of your life history, but for a few sentences that describe your training, experience and desire to work in the special education field. Expect questions about your education, including your student teaching experience. The interviewer might ask you why you wanted to become a special education teacher. Answering this question provides a great opportunity to show your passion and enthusiasm for the field.
During the next part of the interview, you might be asked about your experience working with special education students, including the grade levels you’ve taught. The interviewer might ask how you ensure that you follow a student’s individualized education plan, what strategies you use when working with children with significant cognitive or behavioral challenges, and how you incorporate technology into your lessons. Prepare a few examples of things you did to help a child who struggled. Describe challenges honestly, but be sure the examples you chose highlight your ability to meet the educational needs of a student and remain positive despite the hurdles.
What Would You Do?
The interview will probably involve questions to determine how you would handle particular situations with children. You might be asked what strategies you would use to ensure that you provide the least restrictive environment for children, or what you would do if a new student joined your class and was disruptive. These questions provide school staff with insight into your teaching and classroom management methods, but also give you the opportunity to impress them with thoughtful, practical answers.
Your Team Approach
Special education teachers must work closely with other school staff members, including the child study team, psychologists, guidance counselors, social workers, general classroom teachers, aides, speech therapists and others. Expect questions regarding your views on the partnership between yourself and other staff members in ensuring that your students’ needs are met. The interviewer also might ask questions regarding your experience working with aides or team teaching. She might be interested in hearing about the way you would direct aides in your classroom, what you would do if an aide disagreed with your instructions, or how you approach team teaching.
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