6 Interview Tips for Special Education Teachers

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Featured guest blogger: Ashley, an elementary special education teacher and blogger at Spedtacular Days, will share interview tips for special education teachers.

In this blog, I’m sharing interview tips for special education teachers. I had the opportunity to sit on a panel for interview candidates this year and came up with six simple tips to help ease your interview process. And if you are a teacher who is happy with your job but is just thinking about changing positions because you might be a bit burnt out, try this blog post first!

Importance of Knowing These Interview Tips for Special Education Teachers

Let’s chat about the reasoning behind these interview tips for special education teachers. Preparation is the name of the game when it comes to interviews. I know interviews can be nerve-wracking, but being well-prepared can make all the difference. When you walk into that interview room, you want to feel confident and ready to shine. That’s where thorough preparation comes in.

In the field of special education, being prepared is even more crucial. We’re not just talking about any teaching job here. Special education teachers face unique challenges every day. You need to show that you’re up for the task and excited about it! From handling diverse learning needs to collaborating with other educators and parents, there’s a lot on your plate. Preparation helps you anticipate the questions you might be asked and think about the best ways to showcase your skills and passion.

The rewards of being a special education teacher are truly amazing. You get to make a real difference in the lives of your students by helping them achieve their full potential. When feeling prepared, you can convey your enthusiasm for these rewards. This shows the interviewers that you’re dedicated and ready to embrace this incredible role.

Interview Tip #1 – Learn the Vocabulary

Learn the buzzwords of your potential employer. This is one of my favorite interview tips for special education teachers. Study the school’s website AND the district’s and see what their prime focus is for the previous and upcoming year. What is their mission or vision statement? Can you align some ideas or experiences you have with it?

Examples: Are they a STEM school? 1:1 technology school? Are they using a positive behavior system school-wide? Flexible seating? Which do they use for their curriculum in the grade level you are applying for? Are they a push-in (inclusion school) or pull-out/small group approach? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, these are good to ask in your interview!

Interview Tip #2 – Smile

interview tips for special education teachers smile

This may seem like one of the silliest interview tips for special education teachers, but when you are nervous, sometimes you forget to smile. And let’s face it, you are interviewing for a job that you want (hopefully), so you should be smiling. You want the interviewers to know and believe that you want to be there and are excited about the opportunity to work for their school.

Interview Tip #3 – Be Real & Be Authentic

Make sure that when you are interviewing, you are being honest in the way that you answer the questions and, if you can, show some of your personality with it. The last thing you want to do is to answer questions the way a district wants them answered, but it cuts into your core beliefs as a teacher. If you believe that students should have time in their day to learn functional skills, talk about them, and share ways you might implement them if given the opportunity. You need to show why you are the right fit for the job and what you can do for their school.

Interview Tip #4 – Ask Questions

interview tips for special education teachers ask questions

One of my top interview tips for special education teachers is to always ask a few questions during your interview. It shows interest in the school, the morale of the district, and the place you plan to work and invest your time into. I’d suggest asking about two or three questions as you don’t want to overwhelm the interviewers. Things you should ask if it wasn’t shared in the interview is:

  • Do teachers get a planning period and duty-free lunch?
  • Will the school offer tuition reimbursement for graduate school?
  • Will the school have opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities (sports, clubs, etc.)
  • Does the school have a mentor program for new teachers with experienced teachers to support you?

Interview Tip #5 – Dress Professionally

interview tips for special education teachers dress professionally

Be sure to dress for the job that you want. If you want this job, you will dress in a way that presents yourself in a good way. This may also seem like one of the silliest interview tips for teachers, but in my experience, I have seen teachers interview in a T-shirt. Be sure to wear a suit, a dress and cardigan sweater, or a cute blouse and dress pants. You should never look like you just came out of the gym or ran some errands before your interview.

Interview Tip #6 – Keep it Short & Simple

Lastly, ensure you keep your answers to questions short while still getting to the point of the question. The interviewers will most likely tune you out if you drag on and on. When answering, it is typically great to restate the question to help yourself form your thoughts, but also make sure you target the answer they are looking for. I’ve even asked them to repeat questions if they had multiple parts. Never feel guilty asking for help. It’s actually a good trait in an employee.

Interview Tips for Special Education Teachers After the Interview

There’s one more crucial step to seal the deal after your interview: follow-up. It’s not over until you’ve sent that thank-you note or email. Following up shows your professionalism and enthusiasm for the position.

Keep in mind that timing is everything. Aim to send your note within 24 hours of the interview. This shows that you’re prompt and interested in the job. In your note, express your gratitude for the opportunity to interview. Mention something specific from your conversation. Maybe a particular question that stood out or a topic you and the interviewer connected on. This personal touch shows that you were attentive.

Then, you want to show interest in the position and the school again. Let them know that after the interview, you’re even more excited about possibly joining their team. Highlight a key strength or experience that makes you a great fit for the role.

Remember to keep it short and sweet. You don’t need to write a novel. A few well written paragraphs will do the trick. Sign off with a professional yet friendly closing. This is a great way to keep your name fresh in their minds!

These Interview Tips for Special Education Teachers Will Set You Up for Success

Hoping that this list of interview tips for special education teachers helps you as you pursue a teaching position for the first time or if you are an experienced educator just changing things up! Please feel free to share any other ideas you have found that have worked for you!

And if you are lucky enough to have already received the job of your dreams, but you are looking for some easy things to implement in the classroom be sure to check out my FREE Classroom Starter Pack on my website. Sign Up for it here!

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Ashley has been working in Special Education for 10 years. She was a middle school self-contained teacher for 8 years working with students with intellectual disabilities. She just completed her second year as a special education inclusion teacher in an elementary setting. Outside of the classroom, Ashley is married with 3 kids; a 5-year-old and 3-year-old twins. When she is not running after her littles, Ashley enjoys hiking, running, and lots of coffee! You can find her at her website: SPEDTACULAR DAYS

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