There's a standard list of questions that most job candidates study before their big interview. Potential employers commonly want to know what your strengths and weaknesses are, why you want the job, why you left your previous position and more.
You should be prepared to answer a different set of questions if you're applying for a job to teach students with autism. What you do in that classroom will vary greatly from, say, developing an ad campaign or working on an assembly line, and some forethought can keep you be more sure-footed in your interview.
You need to know your material, and you must have the right qualifications to secure the job. Plus, you'll likely score bonus points if your background includes a master's in education and/or experience and coursework that specifically involves students with autism.
The Interview Questions
One of the most important factors employers consider when hiring a teacher for students with autism is this: Are they a good match? School districts want to know they are making the right investment.
They also want to be sure they are choosing well on behalf of students with autism and their parents or guardians. Therefore, be prepared for interview questions such as these:
- What do you know about setting up the classroom for students with autism?
- How will that classroom look different from the typical classroom?
- Do you know the IEP process?
- Describe an effective IEP which you developed.
- What is the state of your student records? Name one thing you would like to improve.
- Share an effective method you have used to communicate non-verbally with children, particularly to offer comfort, encouragement or positive reinforcement.
- Share an experience in which you successfully coordinated the placement of students with special needs into mainstream classes.
- Share an experience in which you helped to resolve a problem with a student after consulting with a parent, teacher or counselor.
- How do you deal with disruptive behaviors by students with autism?
- What preventive strategies will you use?
- Do you know the principles of applied behavior analysis?
- Do you know about planned ignoring?
- What factors do you consider when modifying the general curriculum for special-needs students?
In addition, you can expect questions on how you plan to stay up to date in the field of special education.
Boost Your Marketability with an Advanced Degree
To increase your hiring potential for an opportunity to teach students with autism, enroll in an advanced degree program, such as Northern Kentucky University's online Master of Arts in Education – Teacher as Leader in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis.
The program offers 15 hours of core courses in areas such as leadership, research methods and instructional design. It also includes 18 hours of concentration courses through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. You can complete NKU's online MAEd – Teacher as Leader in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis program in as few as 18 months, but you're free to take more time to finish. With six start dates per year, you can begin classes whenever you're ready. The degree program is 100% online, so you can take courses from the comfort of home while working a full- or part-time job.
You can set yourself up for success as a teacher of students with autism. The aforementioned interview questions and a master's degree in education from NKU can give you a head start.
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