If becoming a special education teacher is your goal, then you are going to need to ace a job interview in order to land a position. Certain qualifications are expected of special education teachers that are not expected elsewhere, so you need to be able to show the hiring manager that you will be able to handle this immense responsibility.
Some of the questions you can expect to be asked in your interview include:
- Why did you want to become a special education teacher?
- How would you assess the progress of students?
- Do you have experience dealing with particularly disruptive students?
- How would you maintain order among students?
These are not the only questions you can expect to be asked, but they are incredibly important because your answers will indicate whether you are truly capable of being an effective special education teacher.
How To Answer These General Interview Questions
Being asked why you wanted to become a teacher is incredibly common, and there really is no right or wrong answer. You should be honest with your response and be prepared to elaborate if the hiring manager asks you to. Your answer may include wanting to make a difference in the life of children, or you may have had a family member with special needs who inspired you to get into this line of work. Specifics are good, so prepare your story before going into the interview.
An interviewer will also want to know how you plan on measuring students' progress to make sure your students are learning the material. The school may have its own system by which to measure progress, and you can feel free to mention that in your response.
However, you may have your own way of checking in with students, and you should definitely elaborate on your own style. You can even give a story at a past job where you assessed progress effectively.
As a special needs educator, you will be expected to deal with classroom disruptions in a manner different from other classrooms. Harsh disciplinary actions are generally not conducive to the overall well-being of the child. You want to show that you know how to handle disruptive students in a manner that is constructive to that individual student's learning as well as the well-being of the entire class.
Your duty as a special needs teacher is to ensure that every student in your class gets a proper education so that everyone can lead productive lives. This involves maintaining calm in the classroom so that no one is distracted and everyone is learning the material being presented. You need to show the hiring manager that you are capable of establishing order within the classroom, and you are able to give every student an equal opportunity to learn.
Tips for the Interview
Although the focus of your interview should be on your successes, it can be equally beneficial to talk about difficulties you have had in the field as long as you are able to talk about how you were able to overcome those hardships. Experiencing difficulties is to be expected in any line of work. You just need to be brief with how your challenges set you back and keep the focus on what you learned through the experience.
Teamwork is particularly advantageous in this field, so you should also talk about how you have worked with other educators to develop plans that benefitted your past students. Make sure to mention any past collaborations and what ultimately resulted from it. Special education teachers are expected to have slightly different skillsets from other teachers, and you need to display your ability to handle the job in the interview. With the proper amount of preparation beforehand, you will be ready to handle the interview, no matter what specific questions are asked.