Student Teacher Placement: Preparing for the Interview from the Start
A year before they will enter their student teaching placement, we meet with teacher candidates to help them prepare for their student teaching placement interview. The Office of Teacher Education Services and Clinical Practice (OTES-CP) and Career Center work through a collaborative process to ensure Ball State teachers are fully prepared for their student teacher placement.
Step #1: Attend an OTES-CP student teacher application meeting
Step #2: Attend a joint OTES-CP and Career Center Professionalism and Interviewing Workshop
Step #3: Attend student teaching orientation
Step #4: Review student teacher preparation power point
Step #5: Attend an introduction to student teaching workshop with mentor teacher and/or complete two visits to classroom
Step #6: Begin student teaching!
Each principal is encouraged to interview potential student teaching candidates prior to accepting them for a placement. While this interview is much shorter and less intense than an interview for a potential professional teaching position, it IS important- and a great opportunity to begin preparing for the REAL thing!
Step two of this process prepares students for the initial interview experience in a required workshop. They are challenged to reflect on their professional identity as a teacher and how they will present themselves in a student teaching and a full time job interview. How they hone their professional presence comes into play everywhere whether that be online or in the grocery store. And don't forget a google check. We emphasize the importance of your digital reputation and a creating a LinkedIn profile.
We work with them in an interactive process to practice how they will answer tough questions using their evidence. Remember it's about that proof when it comes to interviewing. How can students now show what they know? We talk with them about bringing samples of their proof, such as a synopsis of their classroom management plan, a sample lesson, or assessment. These items help pre-service teachers tell stories of their teaching in action. An iPad could assist in this process. It's important to come with stories of both challenges and accomplishments using teaching specific language.
In the workshop, we provide students with real questions for which they need to prepare and help them think through what the interviewer is really asking as well as how to provide a thoughtful response that gets to the heart of the interviewer's question. Principals and superintendents want to know that a candidate has knowledge, necessary skills and a disposition that will fit into the culture they are trying to create in their building. During the mock interview portion of the workshop, Sari Harris, Assistant Director of OTES-CP, challenges students to think about what is at the heart of each question, then models good answers for students. "Students at this stage often have limited teaching experiences to support their answers in a mock interview. But we can challenge them to think through the question, and provide them with a model answer that they can analyze and use in their own interviews later."
At the core of this collaboration is professionalism; the earlier this message is conveyed, the sooner students will be thinking and acting like teachers, exactly what the interviewer would like to see. Jon Dee, the Director of The Office of Teacher Education Services and Clinical Practice (OTES-CP) conveys the importance of the collaboration between these offices. "OTES-CP is the point of contact for our Clinical Practice Network of schools, giving us a vantage point to hear from real teachers and administrators. Collaborating with the Career Center, we intentionally work together at the different stages of a student's academic career to ensure she/he is prepared to communicate and engage in professional educational settings."
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