In addition to getting a degree and having hands-on experiences inside of the classroom, student teachers need a lesson in interviewing. The “Chalk to Chalkboard” event, which took place on November 1 at Lyle Hall, gave Millersville University student teachers a chance to engage in mock interviews with elementary school representatives.
Margo Sassaman, associate director of career management, helped coordinate the “Chalk to Chalkboard” event. In order to set up the event, Career Services identified and contacted employers for the mock interviews. They also worked with the school of education to advertise the event to graduating seniors, who are currently student teachers.
Some of the benefits of the event included becoming familiar with an interview setting, especially if the interviewer is considering the students for positions. Errors could be made throughout the experience and the elementary school representatives critiqued each student teacher’s interviewing skills.
Sassaman stated, “Their presentations are not only in what they say, but how they present themselves to the interviewer. So it really gives them that good practice with someone who really is in a position to make some hiring decisions. While the program isn’t designed for the recruiter to hire the students, it certainly gives the students exposure to that school district and to that potential employer.”
Another benefit of having this event was to allow the employers, who are frequently Millersville alumni, to give back to the University.
Dr. Joan Checchia, assistant principal at Landis Run Intermediate School of the Manheim Township school district, interviewed students at the event.
“I think it’s a great practice for the kids. I enjoy this so much! It also gives me a chance to see the new teachers that are coming into Lancaster, so it’s kind of twofold. Not only do I enjoy helping them get ready for their interviews, but I’m also scoping out what’s out there,” said Checchia.
When asked why the “Chalk to Chalkboard” event was important for students Checchia said, “Everybody’s nervous at an interview. Even I’m nervous with them. I think the more practice you have, the better you get at it. So I just think it’s great, and I’m really honest with everybody. I’ll tell them if I don’t think they’re dressed professionally enough.”
Alysha Wilt, student teacher and a senior at Millersville, attended the “Chalk to Chalkboard” event. Wilt currently works as a student teacher at York Learning Center, which is a public school facility that assists students with special needs.
Wilt worked with students who had cerebral palsy, autism and Down syndrome. She focused on life skills, which refers to ordinary tasks that students will need in order to function on a daily basis. These skills include managing money, maintaining personal hygiene and shopping for groceries. She had previously worked with children who needed emotional support, which focused on the students’ behavior.
“The reason why they were in special education was because they weren’t able to keep their behaviors under control to learn, whereas in life skills it was focused more on intellectual disabilities,” said Wilt.
After Wilt’s interview with Sue Senter, director of special education, Wilt said, “It went well. She said that I gave very good answers and I have enthusiasm for teaching. She said that I was very well-dressed and I was very well-spoken. My eye-contact was good and I exuberated enthusiasm for teaching.”
Another “Chalk to Chalkboard” event is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28 with the Penn Manor School District personnel. This event will take place at Manor Middle School, which is located on 2950 Charlestown Road.
In order to sign up for this event students must contact the Career Services office located on the third floor of Lyle Hall.
Only seniors who are in the process of becoming student teachers or who have completed all of their student teaching requirements may sign up for this event.