Your Teacher Talent Pipeline: Screening, Interviewing, and Hiring Student Teachers

Joey Vasser | January 4, 2024

Student teaching is an essential experience for education majors. It adds the necessary experience to applicants’ resumes, opens an opportunity for them to receive real-world feedback they can implement in classrooms, and provides a chance to test the waters of what teacher life is like before they graduate.

But it’s also an incredible opportunity for schools to hire student teachers for their classrooms. Bringing student teachers into your school can help infuse your classrooms with new techniques and insights, build a talent pipeline for future permanent educators, and offer your current teachers fulfilling leadership and mentorship opportunities to improve their own careers and skill sets.

Of course, deciding to bring in a student teacher is the easy part. Learning where to find them and how to keep them engaged can be a little trickier.


Sourcing Teaching Candidates at Hiring Fairs

Fortunately, student teachers are eager to get out into real classrooms—so they’re just waiting for you to find them. That isn’t too difficult; whether you’re partnering with specific schools or simply casting a net for local students who want to apply, excellent candidates are certainly out there.

One crucial way to get to know them is at hiring fairs. These events are popular on and near college campuses and are often well-attended by upperclassmen students eager to find work via internships, student teaching, and other entry-level opportunities with upward mobility.

The only downside here is the possibility that you’ll meet a lot of new faces and need to figure out a good system for keeping them organized and moving them through your talent pipeline. But don’t worry too much about that—it’s a good problem to have, and recruiting software like interviewstream is ready to help.

There are two basic ways you can use this tech to make your next hiring fair as fruitful as possible:

  • Source potential applicants, with the help of the hosting organization or school, in advance of the fair and prompt the promising ones to complete one way video interviews in advance of the event. This way, you can easily get screening accomplished and use the fair as a chance for a second-pass interview with great candidates.
  • Capture contact information for applicants you meet onsite and quickly put them into your recruiting software. Then, you can quickly send out those screening links after the event and make sure you follow up with the most promising students.

Learn more about the specifics of these tactics here.


Screening Student Teacher Applicants Effectively

Student teachers make excellent resources for bringing new ideas and energy into your district and making your schools more receptive to the latest and greatest teaching techniques. Still, finding the right fit for your teams might be harder than you expect. Without a teaching resume to highlight your applicants’ skills and strategies, it can be challenging to know how to screen effectively and find the right person for your school.

On demand video interviews are especially helpful here because they invite applicants to show more of their personalities than can be conveyed over the phone (without bogging down your recruiters and administrators with a lot of in-person screening conversations). You’ll want to make sure your questions help uncover their values and strengths, as well as their grasp of what they’ve learned so far in school.

For example, Doug Allison, the Assistant Superintendent for Personnel at Tippecanoe School Corporation, is an interviewstream customer whose team has built a solid process around screening teacher applicants with one way video interviews. Their team noticed an inconsistency in how far candidates would make it into their hiring process across their district, with some schools quickly rejecting candidates who were later hired by neighboring schools who found them to be a great fit. Doug and his team implemented video interviewing to help their schools save time and get better insight into their applicants early on in the recruiting process.

After making this change, they ended up hiring many more applicants. Doug believes that applicants may have been intimidated during live screening interviews with principals, and as a result, didn’t make confident, accurate first impressions. With on-demand video interviews, Doug’s team is able to ask five basic questions of each candidate, screen many more applicants over the same period of time, and select the best fit for each school’s culture, along with reducing the stress of live interview nerves for younger applicants to his district.


Develop Student Teachers into Great Teachers for Your Students

Once you’ve brought on board the top teaching talent you can find, it’s your privilege—and responsibility—to help them grow their skills, engage with students, and earn the experience that will set the stage for a long, happy, and impactful career in education. So where do you start?

First, there are some techniques that you can follow as their mentor. The most straightforward advice is to work closely not just with the student, but with their education program (if you can) to ensure you’re aligned with what they’re learning in their own coursework and ready to answer any questions they have. Additionally, student teachers tend to be most successful with supportive and hands-on co-teachers and mentors that help them gradually lead in the classroom; with consistent, honest, and constructive feedback; and in school environments where the best behaviors and techniques are modeled effectively.

But it’s not all on you! You should be prepared to empower your student teachers to learn and advocate for themselves; that’s how they’ll earn the confidence to go forth and teach after graduation. Hint: You absolutely can aid in that self-empowerment by using the same on demand interviews that they were hired with to survey them during onboarding to check in on how they are doing, what they need to succeed, and what ideas they might have for your district.


Ensure New Teacher Success with a Mentoring Program

Setting student teachers up for success requires thoughtful onboarding, just as it does with a permanent hire. For this reason, introducing these team members to your team should be done as intentionally and compassionately as it does with anyone else.

One crucial part of any student-teacher program is mentorship. Ensuring your student teachers have engaged, friendly, and effective mentor teachers will help improve their experience and increase the likelihood that they’ll want to stay in your district for work after graduation.

There are lots of ways to go about this, and you could spend hours browsing the internet for ideas and tips on how to set up a positive mentorship relationship for your teachers. One of our favorite examples comes from another member of the interviewstream community: Tigard-Tualatin School District.

TTSD’s tiered mentor program welcomes in new teachers (including student teachers) while providing a number of development opportunities for experienced educators. The program ensures that every new teacher in the district has a go-to contact for all their questions, from “how do I get in touch with district admins?” to “how can I improve the way my curriculum resonates with my students?”

More specifically, the tiers in TTSD’s program look like this:

  • Tier A | The Big-Picture Mentor: These mentors are compensated for the time they spend meeting with educators after hours throughout the school year. They offer a high-level check-in with new teachers and are there to provide developmental, professional, and emotional support.
  • Tier B | Instructional Coaches: These coaches help new teachers create lesson plans, engage students, or provide observational education opportunities to see how another professional might run their classroom. They are there to help teach specific techniques or topics to guide new educators.
  • Tier C | Day-to-Day Mentors: Day-to-day mentors are colleagues who pair up new teachers—possibly those in the same grade level or subject that the new employee is teaching—as a friendly, regular resource for feedback and support. These pairs share the same planning periods, may be co-teachers, and will generally help with all day-to-day issues.

This sort of structure also helps education teams share the load when it comes to supporting and coaching new hires. Spreading out these responsibilities can help new teachers build more meaningful relationships, and prevent burnout for busy educators who want to be the best they can be for their students and colleagues.


Is It All Worth It?

However you go about finding, screening, hiring, onboarding, and coaching your student teachers, rest assured that these programs are well worth the investment! Between the new and creative ideas and strategies they can infuse into your schools, and the pipeline for exceptional talent they can help build to fill those open roles down the road, student teachers are a win-win for aspiring educators and school admins.

If you’d like to learn more about how technology can aid your district in sourcing, screening, onboarding, and mentoring your next student teacher, reach out to our team here.

About The Author

Joey is a Client Success Account Manager at interviewstream. Before joining our team, he worked for Baylor Football and the Dallas Cowboys, solidifying his love for sports. When not watching a big game, Joey spends his time adventuring outdoors with his friends and family.


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