Ten school administrators from the area accepted an invitation from Dr. Claudia Green, Director of Undergraduate Teacher Education, to come on-campus for a mock interview event. Held Monday, February 25, it gave forty student teachers an edge on landing their first teaching jobs.
“The course work and field experiences required in the Corban Education Program prepare our students, both undergraduate and post-bac, for the realities of their first teaching jobs,” Green pointed out. “As a department, we place a high value on preparing teachers with both the theoretical and practical skills they will need for success in the classroom. We also want to prepare them to have the professional skills they will need, including interviewing skills, to be successful educators.”
The event began with introductions and a few minutes of advice from each administrator. For the next hour, the administrators each met with a small group of students to conduct the “interviews.” The final half hour brought the whole group back together for a general question and answer session.
Not only did the staged event bolster confidence for student teachers, but administrators looking to hire teachers also saw benefits.
“We want [new teachers] to stay!” said Sue Thomas, a principal who participated from the Aumsville School District. With forty years of education experience, she noted that she has seen hundreds of teachers come and go. “[In our districts’ hiring procedures] we have essentially 20 to 30 minutes to pick someone to teach the kids in our school. You spend a lot more time than that picking out a car!” To her, the mock interview event was a wonderful idea to make the interview process more successful for everyone involved.
Dr. Matt Lucas, Dean of Education, described the interview opportunity: “Not only does it give our students valuable and relevant interview experience and feedback, but it also gives the administrators an opportunity to get to know our students and our program.”
“I’m really impressed with the caliber of students at Corban,” Thomas said. “[The teachers education program] is doing a really good job of preparing students, from what I’ve seen.
Other administrators who participated were Shari Blackburn of Crossler Middle School (Salem), Aaron Immig of Salem Academy High School, John Honey of North Salem, Steve Callaway of Indian Hills Elementary School (Hillsboro), Nicole Hazel of Stayton Christian, David Wehr of Triad (Klamath Falls), Rachel Stuckey of Wright Elementary (Salem), and Clinton Gertenrich of Candalaria Elementary (Salem).
“We had a great mix of private and public schools, Christian and non-Christian principals—just like life in the teaching profession!” noted Green.
“The mock interviews gave me a greater confidence in myself,” said student teacher Amy Montanez. “All of the principals were so supportive and encouraging. One of them sat with a few of us and helped us create a better resume.”
“I thought that the time spent with principals was valuable and has helped answer some of my questions about interviewing,” Bethany Barnick reflected.
“Having ‘mock interviews’ in small groups was valuable because I was able to answer a real interview question and then get immediate feedback on my answers,” Michelle Zarfas shared.
“The mock interview was a bit nerve-racking,” admitted Josie Southwick. “But I felt comfortable having three of my colleagues in the same room. This is where I received the most insight because after each of us gave our response, Mr. Larson constructively criticized what we had to say.”
As for interview tips from the administrators, Danni Strom remembered, “The best piece of advice was something like, ‘listen to the question, breathe, answer, shut up.’”
“I highly recommend that this process be an established part of the program,” voiced Julie Van Dyck, a post-baccalaureate student in the initial licensure program. “The principal I spoke with was not as formal as the others, but it did turn out to be beneficial all the way around.”
Southwick added, “I am very thankful to Corban and the administrators who gave of their time to help us succeed in finding a job.”
“The principals were impressed with our students, and the students found the experience very valuable,” indicated Green. “We will definitely do this again.”