WU offers interview opportunity for student teachers

Charles Rankin

For over a decade, Washburn has set up a career-seeking opportunity for education majors during their student teaching semester.

Education Interview Day was held March 13 and saw school districts from around the midwest and around the country come to interview Washburn students for teaching positions. Students who attend sign up with these districts and can potentially have interviews throughout the day.

“It’s designed specifically for education majors and particularly for people who are student teaching right now who are graduating at the end of the term,” said Craig Carter, field placement director for the education department.

Career services helps facilitate the day and prepares the students in a variety of ways ahead of time for their interviews.

“Gary Handy comes over and talks to our students a couple of times during student teaching seminars,” Carter said. “The first time he comes he covers cover letters and resumes. The second time he comes he talks about signing up on BodJobs and the process of signing up to interview with specific school districts.”

Carter spent most of his time before coming to Washburn as a school administrator, and he sees a great value in having Career Services help with the process at Washburn. Carter and his collegues noted a real difference in Washburn education students, especially when they would come to interview day.

“When we would come to Washburn we’d think ‘gosh their students are so much better prepared than other places,’ and they were really good at answering the questions,” Carter said. “Now that I’m here I understand that it is really our Career Services that get our students prepared.”

This preparation and opportunity is not something that the students take for granted either.

Regan Aeschliman is a student teacher this semester working toward a secondary education certification in history after having already completed an undergraduate degree previously. Aeschliman felt that this day was helpful, especially given her previous experiences in looking for teaching jobs.

“I’ve had a few interviews before this and I went in the best that I could,” Aeschliman said. “If I had this process before those interviews, I would have done a much better job at them.”

Usually when a perspective teacher comes to interview, they meet with a panel of people associated with the district, including principals, administrators and department heads. According to Aeschilman, the one-on-one interview style that is set up for interview day is much less intimidating first step to lead to potential panel style interviews later one in the hiring process.

“As positions [open] up, because of these interviews we’re going to phone calls from [districts] saying ‘Hey this just opened. Get your application in and we’ll let you know,” Aeschliman said.

As the day began, students had the chance to meet with the districts and introduce themselves.

“They can go around Washburn A and B and just talk to people,” Carter said.

The time beforehand also gives the students opportunities to leave a resume with a district or talk to districts about upcoming interviews.

After the initial opening time, interviews begin, with 20 minute slots for each. Each student can sign up for 10 separate interviews.

“I encourage [them] to sign up for as many as they can,” Carter said. “They may not want to go to Dodge City, but set up an interview with Dodge City and learn about their school district. You also get practice interviewing.”

Carter said that scheduling these additional interviews could also reveal opportunities that students might not realize.

“Some of those western [Kansas] districts have some very good incentives too,” Carter said.

Aeschliman agrees that the opportunity to meet with those other districts can be helpful.

“I’ve…met several school districts that I wouldn’t have been able to come into contact with otherwise,” Aeschliman said. “Being able to network with this is a really great opportunity.”

Not every student teacher this semester is planning to come to Interview Day, but not necessarily because they think it won’t benefit them.

“Out of the…students we have right now, a lot of them either already have jobs [lined up], or they’re going to graduate school,” Carter said. “[Districts] hiring more teachers right out of the gate these days.”

One such student who did not attend Interview Day is Cale Paquette, a senior, music education and music performance major. He was recently accepted to two separate graduate school programs.

“I was accepted into graduate school and I just didn’t feel like it was appropriate to interview for positions I didn’t intend to take,” Paquette said.

Paquette said that if he wasn’t planning on attending graduate school he would’ve attended.

“I feel like [it’s] an excellent opportunity for [future] educators at Washburn to interview with people across the state,” Paquette said. “To those students who go I wish them the best of luck.”

Aeschliman believes that this event is just one of the many great things Washburn’s education department does.

“The education program is a really great program,” Aeschliman said. “They do everything they can to help you succeed.”