For those looking for SEN teacher jobs, the in-person interview is the most crucial step. Perhaps more than any other teaching discipline SEN jobs call for individuals to be exemplary people, with great amounts of patience and understanding. These are soft skills that are hard to demonstrate via a CV, which is why the in-person interview will be what separates a number of similarly academically qualified candidates from one another.
Many teachers dread in-person interviews – as do many job seekers in general, but if you want to work as a special educational needs teacher then obviously it’s a necessary evil. And one that has to be prepared for if you really want to make the best possible impression on your potential future employers.
Every interview for SEN teacher jobs will be different, as every school has different requirements and expectations of its special education staff and different ways of assessing the candidates they are presented with. However, there are some basic tips to keep in mind that should help you stand out and make a great impression:
Punctuality is a must for teachers, and if you are late for an interview that hardly bodes well for your reliability in the future. Or at least that is what an interviewer is certainly likely to think.
Try to plan to arrive at the interview location fifteen minutes early. Not only will this help you make a better first impression but it will also give you a little extra time to collect yourself and your thoughts and run over those all-important notes one more time.
Dress to Impress
Most schools do not have a formal dress code for SEN teacher jobs and many SEN teachers do dress far less formally than their peers in the business world. This does mean that a formal business suit is probably overkilling when it comes to SEN teaching jobs and interviews for those positions but try to stick to neat, business casual rather than showing up in jeans.
Be Prepared for Some Tough Questions
SEN teachers are, without a doubt, special themselves. It takes a great deal of compassion, patience and creativity to work with special needs children and when interviewing for SEN teaching jobs you can expect lots of questions designed to access those very important soft skills.
Many candidates will have the basic ‘hard skills – the certifications, exam results, previous experience to meet the job requirements so it really is a teacher’s personal style and teaching philosophy that will set them apart when interviewing for SEN teacher jobs. Some of those questions designed to access those soft skills can be harder to answer than you imagine, especially as there really is no ‘right answer’.
Some of the questions like this that you can expect to hear might include any, or all, of the following:
- What are your personal values in SEN teaching?
- What motivated you to choose to work as a SEN teacher?
- What are some of your techniques for engaging difficult pupils?
- What are some of your techniques for communicating with the parents of special needs pupils?
- What are your ultimate goals for your SEN teaching career?
- Can you describe a typical lesson you might teach?
Yes, that’s a lot of questions, and there may be even more. In most cases, interviewers are not looking for ‘rehearsed answers’ that sound like they have been taken from a handbook. So while you should certainly practice answering questions like these you should ensure your answers sound natural and reflect your real views and experiences, not those that you think are the ‘standard’ responses interviewers for SEN teacher jobs want to hear.