Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Ohio University-Chillicothe to hold second round of mock interviews to benefit education students

By public relations student writer Leah Sternberger

During fall semester a panel of experienced area educators assembled with one goal in mind: to prepare OU-C education students for post-graduation job interviews. Because of the event’s success, OU-C will be conducting a second session of mock interviews for education students from 9 a.m. to noon on April 21 in Bennett Hall.

Administrators from the following school districts have committed to participate this semester in the mock interviews:

•    Circleville City School
•    Jasper Elementary School
•    Zane Trace Elementary
•    Zane Trace Middle School
•    Huntington Elementary School
•    Chillicothe City School
•    Jackson City Schools

During the last mock interviews, school administrators, including building principals and district superintendents, met with teacher candidates to help them develop invaluable interview skills.

“It’s an honor to have such caring school administrators who are willing to help our teacher candidates in the search for a job,” said Karen Corcoran, the program coordinator of the middle childhood education program at OU-C. Corcoran is also the regional coordinator of professional internships in teaching.

“The mock interviews gave the teacher candidates an opportunity to hear the types of questions they will encounter in an education job interview. The principals who conducted the interview gave the teacher candidates feedback, both written and verbal, so the teacher candidates knew what areas they needed some growth for future interviews. The interviews also gave the teacher candidates some practice, boosting their confidence for future job searches,” Corcoran said.

This year, Student Support Coordinator Martha Tanedo plans to make the mock interviews even more valuable for students.  “We want to add a follow up roundtable after the interviews so interviewers can provide general and specific feedback,” Tanedo said.

Ben Karst, now a long term substitute teacher at Unioto High School, was one of the students who participated in last semesters’ interviews.

“I’m currently teaching geometry and algebra 2 and have assumed all teacher responsibilities. These responsibilities include grading, teaching, lesson planning, collaborating with colleagues, parent communication, preparing differentiated instruction, and preparing students to be leaders of tomorrow,” Karst said.

For Karst, the mock interviews helped him gain the experience and confidence he needed post-graduation. “You won't be perfect going into your first interview,” said Karst. “So interview experience is invaluable.  It will make you more efficient and more comfortable thinking on your feet.”

The experience also allowed Karst the opportunity to perfect his interview strategy.
“The mock interviews taught me what to expect and how to handle myself during an interview. They encouraged me to fine tune my philosophy of teaching and my standards for the classroom. The interviews also allowed me to practice conveying the most important parts of my teaching beliefs to employers in an effective way,” Karst said.

Megan Anderson also participated in the mock interviews last semester. After graduating in December 2015, Anderson accepted a position as an itinerant teacher for preschool age children at The Pioneer Center.

“I help students with specific things such as fine motor skills, their pencil grasp, writing their name, counting, patterns, sequencing, letter tracing, and much more,” Anderson said. “My job is to give children more specific attention to skills they may be struggling with in the classroom and to give them the one-on-one time they need to work towards their goals.”

Anderson believes one of the most beneficial aspects of the interviews was the ability to meet, network and learn from area administrators.

“I felt the interviews were a very good learning experience,” Anderson said. “I met many established educators and got my name out there. One of the most valuable things I’ve learned throughout my time in college is the importance of meeting other professionals in your field. When people know you, it could ultimately help you get the job.”

Both Anderson and Karst highly recommend students take advantage of the upcoming interview opportunity at OU-C.

“I would highly recommend the mock interviews to students who are new to the education program,” Anderson said. “It definitely gave me an honest overview of the interview process, and covered important topics in the world of education.”

“I would strongly recommend attending the mock interviews,” Karst said. “It is an extremely helpful opportunity to become accustom to how the interview process works. It helps a person know what is expected of them and how to sell themselves to a possible future employer. The more practice a person gets at interviewing, the more at ease and confident that person will be when it really counts.”

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