Creative Partnerships Lead to Successful Event
During the era of COVID-19, it is collaboration and creativity that have enabled the College of Education and Human Services (CEHS) Career Services to provide job recruitment opportunities to student teachers and school districts. As current restrictions prohibit typical large-scale career services events, Linda Flynn, Director of CEHS Career Services, and Joseph Bavazzano, Director of the ADP Center for Learning Technologies, teamed up to reimagine a smaller scale event that would provide the same opportunity for introductory interviews and “meet and greets” within a socially distanced environment. This hybrid interview event was also supported by the Center of Pedagogy, linking teacher candidates with school districts who are part of the Montclair State University Network for Educational Renewal (MSUNER).
The Teacher Education Interview Event was held over a six-day period between April 12th and May 4th in the ADP Center for Learning Technologies. Seventeen MSUNER districts signed up to participate in this event, interviewing candidates remotely via Zoom. Meanwhile, the teacher candidates came to campus for their interviews, utilizing the five classrooms within the ADP Center for brief individual virtual meetings with the districts. By collaborating with the ADP Center team, CEHS Career Services was able to provide equitable access to a technologically secure and distraction-free interview environment for candidates: this helped candidates avoid common hurdles for virtual interviews such as technological glitches and the challenge of finding a quiet professional space to participate in a Zoom meeting. Two hundred and eighty-one interviews took place over the course of the six-day event.
The opportunity for students to come to campus and participate in several mini interviews aided their professional development, providing them with practice on speaking with employers, answering common interview questions, and ultimately building confidence. Several students have already scheduled follow-up interviews with one or more districts, and the districts were pleased with the candidates they met. Tya Marsh, Human Resource Specialist with Orange Public Schools, commented, “The interview day itself was thoroughly planned, ran smoothly and the staff members were very accommodating/flexible when working with participants (both employers and students). In addition, the candidates with whom I met were enthusiastic and passionate about the field of teaching and could not wait to embark on their new journey as an Educator.”
During a time when educators are being challenged to engage in creative problem-solving to reimagine new ways to deliver traditional instruction and services, this event can serve as a model for our future teachers.