Finding the ideal special education teacher to fit into your program can be challenging. It takes a unique individual to succeed in this field and knowing how to find the right one is essential in the hiring process. Let’s take a look at how to interview a special education teacher candidate effectively, including an overview of specific special education teacher interview questions.
What is a Special Education Teacher?Special education teachers serve students across all grade levels. Their approach differs from general education instructors primarily through their use of the IEP (Individualized Education Plan). They tailor instruction to individual students, developing goals and objectives based on student strengths, challenges, and needs. These teachers align lessons to state standards, adjusting their plans via accommodations and modifications.
Example Special Education Teacher Interview QuestionsAs you sit down to interview potential special education teachers, there are specific things to look for, which you can focus on through your inquiries. Identifying skills of a special education teacher will ultimately set you up for success. The primary interview categories you can utilize are hard skill, behavioral, and soft skill questions.
Hard Skill Special Education Teacher QuestionsHard skills are job-specific abilities, ways to determine the effectiveness of the candidate sitting in front of you. Some special education teacher hard skills include mastery of lesson planning, using programs efficiently, incorporating educational strategies, and other abilities relating to managing a special education classroom. Special ed teachers are different than general education teachers and require a different set of hard skills. Here are some example questions you can ask candidates to help determine their hard skills:
- Describe a lesson plan you created and implemented. Was it successful, and how?
- What teaching strategies do you prefer?
- What would you do to integrate students with learning disabilities into the classroom?
- What’s your experience working with assistive technology for special education?
- How do you ensure that students are working towards their individual goals?
- How do you manage your caseload and timelines to make sure you are in legal compliance?
- How do you use data in your instruction?
- Explain your experience with special education software and programs.
Behavioral Questions for Special Education Teacher InterviewsBehaviors are a significant factor in the life of a special education teacher. Knowing the right questions to dig into a candidate’s ability to maintain positive relationships and behaviors is critical. Behavioral questions will help you determine if a prospective employee is a good fit for your organization. Some of these special ed interview questions include:
- How would you build or maintain a positive relationship with a frustrated or angry parent?
- Tell me about a lesson plan you created that didn’t work out. Why didn’t it work, and how did you correct the situation?
- How do you advocate for your special education students?
- Explain how you would work out a student-related concern with a colleague.
- Describe how you would handle a student that challenged you?
- Give an example of how you set goals.
- Explain how you work with other professionals at a school site.
- How do you motivate students?
Soft Skill Special Education Teacher Interview QuestionsSoft skills are those abilities that transfer across jobs and industries and are beneficial to all stakeholders. Asking your candidate the right soft skill questions in the interview can be all the difference. Here are some good special education teacher interview questions to ask.
- How do you keep track of your responsibilities?
- What got you interested in special education?
- What do you think is the most difficult and most rewarding part of the job?
- What do you enjoy most about teaching?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Why do you want to work at this specific school site?
- What motivates you when you have a challenging day?
- How do you organize your tasks?