PSU College of Education students gathered in the Weede Physical Education Building’s John Lance Arena for Teacher Interview Day in search of potential teaching positions.
On Tuesday, Feb. 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m, students were interviewed by school administrators from Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma looking to fill vacancies. With student teaching duties preventing attendance to regular career fairs, Teacher Interview Day acts as an avenue for prospective teachers to find employment before they graduate.
“Our hope is that students will walk out of here with a job in hand, which is actually happening,” said Mindy Cloninger, director of Career Services. “We’ve had a couple of students actually sign contracts today. We have others that have agreed to a verbal contract. It’s really exciting.”
While the joint effort between the PSU Office of Career Services and College of Education places the focus on supporting students, Teacher Interview Day provides opportunity for school districts in the region as well.
“I was just visiting in the hall with one of the school district representatives, and they feel the same way,” Cloninger said. “When they walk out of here and they’ve got a couple of verbal acceptances or signed contracts, they have had a very good day. They’ve definitely met their goal for attending this kind of event.”
With roughly 200 students and administrators in attendance, interviews are done in shifts to ensure the event runs smoothly. However, while the majority of interviews are prearranged, the event format allows students and administrators to explore and find what best suits them.
“The school districts love it because it gets all the candidates in the room all at once,” Cloninger said. “So not only do they interview those on their schedule, but they can come over to the waiting area and they can ask questions like, ‘Is anybody interested in teaching math? Is anybody certified for Special Ed?’… It’s just a great opportunity for both the districts and the students to do some networking and start putting together some bona fide opportunities.”
Participating the entire event, Pitt State students Carter Stolbert and Michael Lawson felt “energized”, and that the event provided “a very fulfilling day.”
“I loved it,” Stolbert said. “I actually had the opportunity to come here as a junior, so I knew what was going on. I’ve been here all day doing interviews and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.”
With so many opportunities available, Cloninger believes Teacher Interview Day provides advantages to students beyond early access to employers.
“It’s one of our favorite events to coordinate because students do walk out of here with actual offers in hand, so that’s really exciting,” Cloninger said. “And it’s really nice because the students spend the entire day here, and so they get a lot of encouragement from their faculty and Career Services staff and from each other. They get the experience of interviewing with multiple school districts, and so it’s a neat opportunity to watch their confidence grow from this morning to this afternoon. There’s a lot of great benefits that come out of a day like this.”