Student teachers at the University of Kentucky College of Education are putting finishing touches on their resumes and setting their sights on teaching positions for the fall. This year’s job interviews may be happening virtually, as most of the U.S. is under stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help students prepare, 15 principals and school leaders from Fayette County Public Schools volunteered to provide an interviewing and hiring seminar via Zoom for students in the elementary education program. The seminar is an annual rite of passage for student teachers, but this was the first time it did not take place in a face-to-face setting. After an initial chat, students broke into Zoom groups for mock interviews.
“You all are helping us, too, because this may very well be the way we do interviews this summer, so this is good practice for us,” Wellington Elementary Principal Julie Strange told the students.
Traditionally, on mock-interview day, student teachers meet with school leaders on the UK campus or at a local school. They hear from district hiring officials, then break into small groups for mock interviews with
principals and other leaders, such as administrative deans.
“Principals and school leaders are busier than ever right now. Schools are facing challenges never seen before, and they are stepping up to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks. The fact that 15 leaders from Fayette County took time to talk with our student teachers meant a lot about their dedication to helping the next generation of educators,” said Joni Meade,
a clinical instructor who works with elementary education student teachers.
Deep Springs Elementary Principal Adam Kirk and Melissa McDaniel, the Deep Springs Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) coach, encouraged students to be themselves in interviews.
“It is important to show us who you are as a teacher,” Kirk said.
Several principals stressed that students should do their research when applying to schools.
“You are interviewing us, too, to find the perfect fit for your first teaching job,” Coventry Oak Elementary Principal Shamiah Ford told students.
The school leaders covered topics the students may be asked about in interviews, such as how they will plan their lessons.
“Remember that it all starts with the standards. You cannot go wrong in your instruction if you know the standards you are teaching,” said Meredith Ramage, principal of Northern Elementary.
Virtual mock interviews are only the latest twist UK students and professors have navigated in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic. They have moved student teaching online and created modules to help student teachers gain helpful skills, such as Google certifications.
Fayette County School leaders who volunteered to help students practice for job interviews included:
Adam Kirk, principal of Deep Springs Elementary
Melissa McDaniel, Deep Springs Elementary PGES Coach
Matt Marsh, principal of Sandersville Elementary
Matt Noblin, Sandersville Elementary PGES Coach
Michael Price, principal of Breckinridge Elementary
Robin Steiner, principal of Dixie Elementary
Josh Williams, principal of Brenda Cowan Elementary
Liz Rogers, Yates Elementary PGES Coach
Paul Richardson, Yates Elementary Administrative Dean
Joey Sheroan, principal of Garden Springs Elementary
Ben Vanderhorst, Garden Springs Elementary PGES Coach
Jill Hill, principal of Cassidy Elementary
Julie Strange, principal of Wellington Elementary
Meredith Ramage, principal of Northern Elementary
Shamiah Ford, principal of Coventry Oak Elementary
To learn more about becoming a teacher at the UK College of Education, visit education.uky.edu.