Review the job posting and school website/social media pages before the interview to familiarize yourself with the methods you will have to use in this role to encourage students to explore their learning in unique ways, or methods the school has used or will soon be using. Answer by providing examples included on the posting or school website/social media pages, including your own experience in similar roles, if you have any. Alternatively mention some of the methods listed on the job posting or school website/social media pages are methods you look forward to using and why, to demonstrate a motivation to undertake training despite not currently having the required experience for this role.
"The methods I have used to encourage students to explore their learning in unique ways are (X methods listed on the job posting or school website). For instance, in my last position as (X position title) for (X company), I (... detailed information regarding the methods used, which have contributed to successful and unique learning experiences)."
Tell the interviewer whether you have a mentor or a role model and if so, in what capacity he/she influenced you and strongly influenced your career. Alternatively, mention any individual who has had a strong influence on you - and in what capacity, in a previous position or a university setting, or in a volunteer capacity.
"I do not have a mentor. However, the individual I consider a role model, who has had the strongest influence on me and my career, is (X individual, e.g., supervisor at (X company)). This person strongly influenced me because (X reasons, such as this person made you realize the life purpose and that you should always remain highly dedicated to your students, by virtue of his/her attitude on a daily basis toward her work and individuals he/she interacted with)."
Review the job posting and school website before the interview to familiarize yourself with the types of assessments the school is conducting. Answer this question by mentioning one of their listed performance assessments, where applicable. Thereafter refer to your own experience with such an assessment by providing an example of the use of a performance assessment in a previous position to demonstrate you already have the required experience for this role. Should you not have any relevant experience, simply mention one of their listed assessments and their intended purpose, as per your understanding and/or knowledge acquired in an educational capacity.
"An example of a performance assessment is (X performance assessment listed on the school website). I have conducted such performance assessments extensively in my last position as (X position title) of (X company) (X further information as to the context in which such assessments were conducted)."
Always conduct your due diligence before your interview by reviewing the school website and job posting to familiarize yourself with the teaching styles promoted by the school you applied for. Answer this question by mentioning three words related to three of the listed teaching styles (on their website or job posting) and link each teaching style to past experience in a professional capacity, or alternatively in a volunteer capacity or university setting. The goal is to demonstrate you already have the required experience and knowledge for this role and as such, are the perfect candidate for this role.
"I would describe my teaching style as (X, as per the job posting/school website), (X, as per the job posting/school website) and (X, as per the job posting/school website). For instance, in my position of (X position title) for (X company), I (X further information providing context and proof of the successful use of such teaching styles, resulting in great improvements in your students)."
Tell the interviewer about the accomplishment you are the most proud of, preferably in a professional capacity and related to the position you are applying for, i.e., special education preschool teaching. Alternatively, provide any accomplishment in another professional capacity, in a volunteer capacity, or in a university setting by mentioning that you are positive your acquired skills will be transferable.
"The accomplishment I am the most proud of is managing a very large project on a very tight deadline (... detailed information pertaining to this project, such as the company name, your position title, and so on). As a result, I developed strong project and time management skills that will undoubtedly enable me to thrive in this role."
Review the company website and job posting before the interview to familiarize yourself with the school and programs/initiatives available - past, current and future. Answer this question by mentioning, e.g., two of the listed programs/initiatives (future) to demonstrate you have done your due diligence before the interview, by mentioning how you would successfully bring these to life. Thereafter link these programs/initiatives to your past experience to demonstrate you already have the required experience for this role and as such, are the best candidate.
"I saw on your website that you are planning (X program/initiative) and (X program/initiative). I have worked on similar programs/initiatives while employed for (X company) as (X position title). To successfully achieve our goals, I recommended to the Principal that we (X ideas that you shared with the Principal to facilitate the success of such programs/initiatives). We were highly successful, so much so that the Principal and the parents involved wished to recreate such programs/initiatives the following year."
The interviewer wants to ensure you can respond to somewhat challenging situations calmly, respectfully and professionally. Always review the job posting and school website before the interview to familiarize yourself with the tools and strategies promoted by the company. Mention some of the tools and/or strategies listed by providing an example of the successful use of such tools/strategies in your career, preferably for schools similar to the one you are currently applying for.
"I pride myself on my ability to always remain calm, respectful and professional notwithstanding the difficulty of any situations. To maintain order among my students, I use (X tools and/or strategies used by the school, as per the school website or job posting to demonstrate you are already using the same tools and/or strategies promoted by the school). For instance, while employed for (X company) as (X position title), I have used such tools/strategies extensively (X further information as to the context, resulting in the successful maintenance of order among your students)."
Tell the interviewer about your knowledge of the school you applied for. It is imperative to always conduct your due diligence before an interview by reviewing the job description, school website and social media pages to familiarize yourself with the school and work involved. It is also important to show the interviewer you did not apply to the advertised position simply because you are looking for just any job, but that you wish to work for this school board specifically.
"I reviewed the job description and website before this interview and know you are a school specializing in (X areas you noticed on the school website). I am particularly excited about (X programs/initiatives) that I saw on your (website/social media pages) as I (X reasons you are excited about these programs/initiatives, such as passion or similar initiatives undertaken in a university or volunteer capacity)."
Review the job posting and school website/social media pages before the interview to familiarize yourself with the education strategies and techniques you will have to use in this role, or education strategies and techniques the school has used or will soon be using. Answer by providing examples included on the posting or school website/social media pages, including your own experience in similar roles, if you have any. Alternatively mention some of the education strategies and techniques listed on the job posting or school website/social media pages are strategies and techniques you look forward to using and why, to demonstrate a motivation to undertake training despite not currently having the required experience for this role.
"The education strategies and techniques I find help my students the most are (X education strategies and techniques listed on the job posting or school website). For instance, in my last position as (X position title) for (X company), I (... detailed information regarding the education strategies and techniques used, which have contributed to successful learning experiences)."
Answer this question by providing examples of your relationship building skills, and ability to handle stressful situations while remaining calm, collected and respectful at all times. Furthermore provide an example of a situation reflecting your ability to calm a student in a classroom, if you have such experience.
"This never happened to me. However, I would remain calm and respectful as I must ensure to properly care for the child. I would calmly listen to the student, and then would do my very best to assist him/her in a timely fashion. Should I be unable to calm him/her down, I would immediately get in touch with my superior, or a more experienced faculty member should my superior be unavailable."
Tell the interviewer what motivated you to pursue this career and apply for this position specifically. Answer this question by mentioning how passionate you are about this field and why.
"I decided to pursue a career as a Special Education Preschool Teacher because I (X reasons, such as having a passion for this career and/or a parent in this role). Furthermore, as I am highly dedicated to the needs of others and the improvement of their learning skills, I know I am in the right field."
Tell the interviewer what you have done or would do to encourage parental involvement in student learning.
"I meet with parents on a regular basis to ensure I am meeting all expectations and that they aware of the curriculum. I furthermore want them to get involved in the form of initiatives and programs, such as volunteer opportunities at the school so they can feel part of their children's lives and part of the community."
Tell the interviewer what you have done or would do to ensure that each student receives the right type of support.
"I meet with my students on a regular basis to ensure their needs are being met, and that they are satisfied with my teaching style. I am open to criticism and do not hesitate to adjust my approach so as to provide custom-tailored teaching strategies."
Ensure to review the job posting before the interview to familiarize yourself with the work involved. At the time of the interview, you should know whether this position entails mostly independent or collaborative work. As such, should the position entails mostly collaborative work, you should answer this question by emphasizing your love of such work and that you enjoy brainstorming ideas with fellow team members. Should you not answer adequately as per the duties involved, you may be automatically disqualified - for instance, if you answer you prefer independent work and dislike collaborative work when applying for a position that mostly entails collaborative related duties. Not only will this show you are unsuitable for this position as you did not do your due diligence beforehand (as you did not read the job posting before applying for the position nor before the interview), but the interviewer may also believe you are simply looking for any job without being serious about working for this school particularly.
"I intend to communicate with all faculty members on a regular basis via email and phone, as well as request to meet with them on a regular basis, i.e., weekly, monthly or quarterly, so as to share ideas in person and implement them as soon as possible. I absolutely love collaborative work and I pride myself on my team playing skills. I sincerely enjoy working with others and sharing ideas so as to come up with creative solutions and work toward a common goal."
Ensure to review the job posting before the interview to know whether a master's degree is a requirement at present, whether having a master's degree would be an asset, or whether it will be required in the future. If it is a requirement, you should know a master's degree will eventually be required, even if you applied for the position with only a bachelor's degree. In this case, you should expect your employer to prefer a candidate who will be pursuing a master's degree at some point in time. If you already know a master's degree is a requirement but you are fortunate enough to be interviewed despite only having a bachelor's degree, and you indeed wish to eventually study for a master's degree, prepare an answer beforehand. Add that the pursuit of this master's degree will not interfere with your work and that you are serious about your application. Employers are looking for commitment.
"I am absolutely interested in obtaining a master's degree, however on a part-time basis in the evenings/weekends. I applied for your position as I am serious about working for your school on a full-time basis, and as such, I will not let further education plans interfere with my work."
Tell the interviewer your strengths including your qualities and educational, professional and personal qualifications and how they will benefit you in this role.
"In addition to my educational qualifications and experience - professional and personal - which I believe have prepared me for this role, I am a hard-worker, a team player and work tirelessly to get the work done. I thrive on challenges and always remain extremely committed to my students and the the success of any initiatives."
Provide an honest answer and do not hesitate to mention you would be open to eventually moving up the ladder should the opportunity arise, i.e., that growth opportunities will be more than welcome. This will demonstrate you have leadership skills, a willingness to learn beyond your original job scope, and a desire to commit to your employer.
"I see myself working for the same school, being established and having grown with the school and contribute to the bottom line. I hope to keep learning and being given the opportunity to prove myself as a valuable team member."
Tell the interviewer why you believe you life experiences have prepared you for this role by emphasizing the personal skills acquired that will be transferrable to this position.
"My mother was a Special Education Preschool Teacher and my brother was a special education student. I have had the opportunity to learn how to really assess the needs of a special education student by providing a custom-tailored approach, as well as learn unique education strategies for such students. I am positive these experiences will enable me to thrive in this role."
Tell the interviewer a few of your greatest strengths which will contribute to your success in this role.
"I thrive on challenges and do not hesitate to work long hours to get the work done. I also have strong communication, time management and relationship building skills which will absolutely benefit me in this role."
Tell the interviewer your greatest weakness which can nevertheless be a strength in this role. Also mention what you are doing to improve in that area.
"I believe my greatest weakness is that it is hard for me to stop working when there is more to do. I am very focused in my work and wish to complete all tasks by the end of each day. However, it isn't always possible to do so. To improve in that area, I do my best to prioritize and use daily to-do lists to keep track of my duties so that I can get to work as soon as I get to the office in the morning."
Tell the interviewer whether you ever used a teacher's aide or assistant in the classroom, and why. Alternatively, mention the reasons why you have never used either and whether you feel that you would need one in the future.
"I have never used a teacher's aide or assistant, and do not feel that I would need one. I pride myself on my strong organizational and time management skills and as a result, I am extremely organized and easily keep track of all duties I am working on. I do not feel that I require any assistance."
Tell the interviewer what you do to handle situations calmly despite the high stress level by providing an example to support your position.
"I always remain calm and look for ways to be more efficient. For instance, if there is an unexpected deadline, I will determine what can be done to ensure the deadline can be met, I will write down the steps to take to ensure successful completion and will delegate a few tasks if necessary. In brief, I am always ready to adjust my approach because stressful situations are bound to occur in a professional environment. An example of a time I faced immense amounts of pressure took place while employed for (X company name) as (X position title). I was responsible for (X duties, preferably similar to the duties you will have to perform in this role) and (X further information as to what constituted pressure and how you nevertheless successfully thrived in this role)."
The interviewer wants to ensure you keep yourself updated of changes in the industry to remain current, highly knowledgeable and at the top of your field.
"I follow [X organizations] on social media and subscribe to [X newsletters/publications] to be kept abreast of teaching workshops. I also attend conferences and seminars, such as [X], and regularly enrol in continuing education courses on a part-time basis, such as (X teaching courses you are currently enrolled in)."
Tell the interviewer about your post-secondary education and link your education to this particular position. Ensure to prepare beforehand by reviewing the job posting, the school website and social media pages to familiarize yourself with the school and determine how you can contribute.
"As you can see on my resume, my major in university was Education with a minor in Preschool Studies. Based upon the comprehensive courses taken and the numerous subjects studied, I am confident I already am highly knowledgeable and will excel as a Special Education Preschool Teacher for your school."
Tell the interviewer about an alternative career choice, however related to this position. If the interviewer sees your alternative choice differs significantly from this position, he/she may worry you will not commit to the employer and leave should a better opportunity present itself.
"I am passionate about special education preschool teaching, hence I sincerely see myself in this field. However, I hope to acquire sufficient knowledge and experience that I will one day be able to become a Principal. I hope to move up the ladder and grow within the same school I originally started off with."
Always review the job description before the interview to familiarize yourself with the personality traits required from the successful incumbent. Answer this question by mentioning three of the qualities, i.e., personality traits, listed on the job posting, if outlined, and provide an example of the use of these qualities in a professional capacity. Alternatively, provide your preferred top qualities, which you believe will highly benefit you in this role, and provide an example of these in a professional setting, preferably related to the type of position you applied for.
"The most important qualities a Special Education Preschool Teacher should possess are compassion, dedication and perseverance. These qualities served me well in my last position at (X company name) where I was employed as a/an (X position title). In this role, I (X further information as to the successful impact of your qualities in your work and with others)."
Always review the job posting and school website before the interview to familiarize yourself with the school, work involved and classroom learning tools used. Provide the steps you took or would take to ensure you are remaining within budget, having regard to classroom learning tools.
"To be resourceful in the classroom, I (X ways you have been resourceful in the past, such as using strategies, programs or initiatives to share classroom learning tools with fellow faculty members on a rotating basis). Generally speaking, having regard to budget, I use a strategic approach by anticipating, and keeping track of, all upcoming expenses. I keep a record of all expenses and update my reports on a regular basis to ensure the most up-to-date information is easily accessible, enabling me to be prepared should an unanticipated purchase be required."
Special education preschool teachers work with preschool students who have special needs due to their mental, learning, physical or emotional disabilities. Their responsibilities are wide-ranging, from evaluating each student's skills and determining their unique needs to developing customized teaching plans and activities to meet these needs. Special education preschool teachers liaise between the school and students' parents to ensure that there is a continuity of care.
To work as a special education preschool teacher you will need to have at least a bachelor's degree with additional training in special education focused on preschool children. Most states require all teachers to be licensed. Requirements vary from one state to another. Special education preschool teachers must be immensely patient and resourceful to be able to handle preschool children with different special needs. Excellent communication, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills are also crucial attributes for anyone wishing to pursue this career path.
Employers looking to hire a special education preschool teacher will be extremely cautious about who they hire as the job involves handling very young children with disabilities. They will ask questions to assess whether you genuinely care for young children with disabilities and you have what it takes to handle the many challenges inherent in this role. Emphasizing your love for children and your genuine interest in their welfare is the key to a successful job interview. The best way to be prepared for this challenging interview is by checking mock interview questions to read more about questions that are commonly asked at interviews for special education preschool teachers.