Interview questions for a special ed teacher

Written by angus koolbreeze
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Interview questions for a special ed teacher
Special education requires an extra amount of patience. (woman and a teacher at seminar image by Dmitry Goygel-Sokol from

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the demand for special education teachers to rise between 13-20 per cent before 2018. The chief reason for this is the increased inclusion of special needs children in regular classrooms, a practice known as mainstreaming. School districts are looking for certified, qualified individuals to fill such positions. There are key questions district interviewers will ask you if you are applying for this particular job.

What is an IEP/How Would You Write One?

According to Tim Wei, the author of "Guide to Getting the Teaching Job of Your Dreams," the interviewer is quite likely to ask you this question. As a special education teacher, you must know what an individualised education plan is. It is a teaching plan that you write, that you will tailor to the needs of the individual student. Each pupil has a different disorder--be it mental, emotional, or physical.

Why Is Collaboration Important?

According to, your interviewer will ask this question. The interviewer will want to know if you are capable of working well with other teachers, whether they are mainstream or special education teachers. You will be communicating and team teaching with regular teachers, as well as fellow special education instructors. You will be sharing information with social workers, counsellors, and resource teachers. Therefore your interviewer wants to know if you can work as part of a team.

How Would You Use Support Staff?

As suggests, you can expect a question about the use of the support staff the district would assign to your classroom. In asking such a question, the interviewer wishes to know if you are capable of using professional discretion and good common sense in the day-to-day operations of the classroom. Your interviewer may ask you to describe, for example, a situation where a paraprofessional (teacher's aide) may be necessary, and one where one is not. As the website points out, districts do not want the teacher to become too dependent on them for everything concerning the student. The goal is to foster independence in the child wherever possible.

Define Some Major Disorders

As Wei points out, enter the interview with knowledge about disorders that often land children in special education programs. Although your interviewer will ask you to define conditions such as Asperger's syndrome, autism, and attention deficit hyperactive disorder, they will also test your knowledge of specific teaching techniques that you can successfully use to reach these individuals.

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