Elementary education majors poised to graduate from the University of Kentucky College of Education will soon begin the process of finding a teaching position. Several Lexington principals and school leaders recently played a role in helping the students prepare.
A seminar was held at Veterans Park Elementary where students learned about the application and interview process from Amy McVey, principal of Veterans Park, and Cindy Godsey, human resources associate director at Fayette County Public Schools.
The students then broke into smaller groups to participate in mock interviews with principals who had volunteered their time.
“I hope the student teachers gained some insight into what is sometimes a scary and intimidating process,” said Jennifer Hutchison, principal of Picadome Elementary. “Hopefully, by asking us questions about the process, we can lessen the anxiety so they can relax and be themselves during the interview process.”
Hutchison said she looks for a growth mindset, the ability to get along well with others and leadership skills when she interviews candidates.
Joni Meade, an elementary education instructor who organized the event, said she hears from principals that the mock interviews are not only beneficial to the UK students, but also to the principals in getting to meet so many new candidates.
The seminar was not the students’ first contact with area schools. They spend many hours at schools during observations, practicums, volunteer opportunities and student-teaching.
“Many students visit our school from the College of Education,” Hutchison said. “I feel a responsibility to provide them the opportunity to develop their craft and to demonstrate to them how an effective school operates and good teachers teach. I want them to see what it takes to be a teacher in today’s society. I want the students who leave my school to say ‘that is a place I want to work.’”
Several students provided feedback about the applications and interviews seminar:
“With our graduation from UK’s College of Education fast approaching, it was helpful to be able to talk with local principals and other school officials about what they are looking for in new teachers. They were all very encouraging and were willing to answer any questions we had. I learned several new tips to remember as I begin looking for jobs.”
“I would like to share how helpful today was! The University of Kentucky College of Education gives us all of the tools necessary to thrive and succeed in the field of education. It feels great to have the support from our mentors and the community of the program behind us as we go from student to teacher. I am thrilled to begin my journey after graduation and the interviewing and hiring session gave me the confidence I need to find my place in the district. I am so thankful to be a part of the education program at UK!”
“Today was extremely beneficial for all of us who are graduating in the hopes of getting a job for next year. It was nice to be able to ask questions to administration from all over the county and practice for a real interview.”