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Special Education Teacher Interview Questions

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  1. In your work as a special education teacher, what conditions or disabilities did your students possess? See answer
  2. What grade levels have you taught as a special education teacher? See answer
  3. How did you manage special education services for students who were a part of inclusive classrooms? See answer
  4. Can you tell me about a time when you needed to change your approach to help a student learn? How did you maximize their learning experience? See answer
  5. As a special education teacher, why do you feel that IEP meetings with your students’ parents are so crucial?
  6. As a special education teacher, why do you feel that smaller classes give students a better chance to achieve their academic goals?
  7. Do you have experience working with multiple special education students at the same time?
  8. How do you communicate with teachers about the needs of special education students?
  9. What strategies do you use to calm an upset student? Can you provide me with an example from your previous experiences?
  10. What drew you to working with special needs students?
  11. Can you tell me about a time you had to change a student’s IEP due to changes in their behavior or learning habits?
  12. A parent believes their child should be working on a more advanced subject level. What do you do to resolve the situation?
  13. One of your students refuses to work on an assignment or school subject. How do you respond?
  14. How do you help limit distractions for children with attention deficit disorder?
  15. Are you willing to work with your students during lunch hours and after school to help them with challenging subjects?
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6 Special Education Teacher Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

As a special education teacher, why do you feel that IEP meetings with your student’s parents are so critical?

A:

Special education teachers should understand why continued assessments for each student are paramount to their education and that having the child’s parents involved in the process is critical. Pay attention to the steps the applicant discusses in their answer. To gauge their abilities further, you could ask follow-up questions about the fine details of their techniques.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience conducting Individualized Education Program meetings
  • Ability to form creative plans for improving each child’s education
  • Experience managing challenging circumstances and achieving goals

Example:

“I work closely with my students daily and determine what milestones are achievable, and I help parents stay informed of their child’s progress. The meetings give parents a chance to become a greater part of their child’s education and help the students achieve more academically.”

Q:

As a special education teacher, why do you feel that smaller classes give the students a better chance of achieving their academic goals?

A:

The coursework required for a special education teacher’s degree program includes psychology and related sciences. Professors teach the special ed teachers techniques for helping children with varying mental conditions that are often debilitating. Your applicant should be able to advocate for the needs of their students to your administrators and ensure that all pupils receive a high-quality education.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Skills needed to help disabled children with the challenges of their conditions
  • Experience organizing individual lesson plans
  • Confidence in oneself

Example:

“Smaller classrooms give each student more one-on-one time with their teachers. Special education students have challenging needs, and it is important to address their individual requirements often. Smaller classrooms give children a better experience and help them achieve their goals easily.”

Q:

In your work as a special education teacher, what conditions or disabilities did your students possess?

A:

A special education teacher is well-versed in the signs and symptoms of children’s conditions and disabilities. They should know the indicators of serious challenges or risks to the children or others in the classroom. Pay attention to the level of compassion the applicant exhibits when answering the question.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Advanced knowledge of mental disorders and disabilities
  • Examples of helping students through a crisis
  • Familiarity with proper school protocol when students exhibit severe symptoms

Example:

“I have experience teaching children with various disabilities, including bipolar disorder, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia. In my previous position, I worked closely with school counselors and the children’s doctors to create better lesson plans and to manage a crisis whenever my students became overwhelmed in the classroom.”

Q:

What grade levels have you taught as a special education teacher?

A:

A seasoned professional understands that some public schools have limited funding and cannot offer multiple special education teachers for each grade level. Your preferred candidate can progress with their students and provide each one with the necessary skills to complete each grade level successfully.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience teaching multiple grade levels
  • Commitment to students throughout their education
  • Understanding of the importance of consistency for special-needs students

Example:

“I have experience teaching students at all grade levels, although I prefer elementary education. I see a lot of benefit in progressing through the grades with the child as I can get to know the specific child’s needs better and ensure that the student has consistency.”

Q:

How did you manage special education services for students who were a part of inclusive classrooms?

A:

If you’re expecting the applicant to work in an all-inclusive classroom at your school, then you want them to have a good understanding of what it takes. These instructors help students adjust to the new classroom environment and should be familiar with what to do if a serious crisis occurs.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Understanding that special education students in a new environment continue to need assistance
  • Critical thinking skills and the ability to plan ahead
  • Flexible availability and love for the work

Example:

“Working closely with general education teachers, I assisted students with testing and complex assignments and provided help when students faced a serious challenge or crisis due to their condition.”

Q:

Can you tell me about a time when you needed to change your approach to help a student learn? How did you maximize their learning experience?

A:

Special education teachers work with students with a range of conditions, including dyslexia, attention deficit disorder (ADD), autism or Down syndrome. Because of this, they must know how to change their teaching style to fit each student. This question helps interviewers determine a candidate's previous experience in a special education role and how their experiences qualify them to accommodate changing academic needs or behaviors for their students.

The candidate's answer should emphasize:

  • Compassion for students
  • Innovative mindset
  • Adaptability

One possible answer to this question is as follows:

Example:

"At my previous job, I had a third grade student who had autism. I created an IEP specifically designed to help them learn. My IEP included making improvements to their writing skills and so I started teaching them how to use a pencil to construct words and then sentences. I realized very quickly that the student was struggling with writing and became very upset and confused. After speaking with my colleagues and researching, I determined to teach them how to type words and sentences. Their attitude and writing comprehension increased significantly in response to typing."

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    Last updated: Apr 21, 2021