Indiana State University Newsroom

Student teachers learn how to ace an interview

November 18, 2015

Greg Hollinden's days as a student teacher are numbered.

As the elementary education major from Tell City prepares to graduate from Indiana State University in December, he left campus feeling more prepared for what lies ahead after participating in mock interviews with local school administrators.

"It was informative so we know what we can expect when we go on a real job interview," said Hollinden, whose post-graduation plans include substitute teaching at a school near Tell City for first- and third-grade teachers who will be on maternity leave.

This was the third time the student teachers had returned to campus this semester for professional development workshops, which also included talks about individualized education plans and discussions about what to expect during the first year of teaching.

"We want them to be the best teachers they can be, so we are doing things that they would not normally get in their academic content classes but will help them as they get ready to go out in the field," said Dave Higus, Indiana State's student teaching coordinator.

Faculty members from the department of educational leadership assisted in the first-time mock interviews by recommending eight administrators from schools in Vigo, Putnam, Clay, Vermillion and Parke counties to conduct the interviews.

The 40 Indiana State student teachers were divided into groups of five for the interviews. The administrators rotated through the groups conducting interviews that included questions, advice and feedback.

"These students have had their classroom experiences, so it's good for them to get advice so they know how to use those experiences and present themselves in a professional way," said Diana Spence, principal at Rosedale Elementary. "I see a lot of talent here but interviews are always tough, so the more you practice, the better off you are."

This really wasn't their first interview experience though, as Christi Fenton, executive director of education and Title I for the Vigo County School Corp., noted. She reminded the students that their "job interviews started the day you walked into the schools where you student teach."

It was "valuable but nerve-wracking experience" to get feedback from school administrators for Megan Messer, an English teaching major from Bicknell.

"It was a good practice that helped me learn more about what schools are looking for when they hire teachers," she said.

It also allowed administrators, such as Ernie Simpson, human resources director for Clay Community Schools, to see and offer advice to the teaching talent about to enter the workforce.

"This is great preparation for real world interviews and to be able to have perspectives from a diverse group of administrators is an experience that will be really value when you go on your first interviews," he said. "Just remember to keep your answers crisp and always make eye contact with the person who is interviewing you because it shows confidence."

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or – Forty Indiana State University student teachers participate in mock interviews at the Bayh College of Education on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, which involved eight administrators from schools in Vigo, Putnam, Clay, Vermillion and Parke counties who presented questions, advice and feedback on interviewing for the soon-to-be December graduates as they head into the job market.

Story Highlights

Eight administrators from schools in Vigo, Putnam, Clay, Vermillion and Parke counties to conduct mock interviews with 40 Indiana State student teachers who will graduate in December.

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