Alumni Profile: Marion Singleton '11 '12

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February 19, 2013

Marion Singleton, who completed her undergraduate education in 2011 and is currently finishing up in the master's program, recently obtained a job as a Special Education Teacher at Grand Island High School. Despite the fact that it was her first interview, she landed the job! Here's what she had to say about it.

Q: In today's tough job market, what set you apart from the other candidates for the position?

A: In today's tough job market, there are a lot of teachers who have been in the profession for several years. So what set me apart from other candidates was the fact that I was very young and fresh out of college with some of the latest techniques, and knowledge, of what is happening in education today. Although I have 1 year of substitute teaching under my belt, and 2 years of head coaching, it is so minor in comparison to teachers who have been in this profession for many years. I was able to stand out for the position because I brought such a fresh, new perspective to the field of education, which the selection committee was looking for.

Q: How did Medaille prepare you for the interview process, and ultimately, for the job?

A: Medaille was able to prepare me for the interview process, and ultimately, for the job, in so many different ways. Most of the professors that teach in my Masters program are currently teaching in schools, which allows us to get up-to-date knowledge of the books, resources, programs, and techniques that are working, and not working, for the students. We deal with real-life situations, parents, and students, so I was able to gain practical experience, which was key. Through Medaille, we've also learned to understand what our philosophy of education is, our management skills, and to be the best teacher we can be for the students. Having that genuine love for education and learning how to let it come through in conversation really worked for me, and helped me land the job.

Q: What attracted you to Medaille's master of education program?

A: What attracted me to Medaille's Master of Education program was the length of the program, the comfort of the cohort, and having similar professors that I had at the undergraduate level. I was excited to stay with Medaille for graduate school because I knew what to expect; the familiarity of the school allowed me to be better prepared for the high expectations that are set at the graduate level.

Q: How did you prepare for the interview personally?

A: I personally prepared for the interview by researching the interview process and many interview questions. I took a lot of notes and brushed up on the skills that I was least comfortable with. My best friend, Talor, is the Human Resources Assistant at Evergreen Health, and she was able to coach me on different scenarios so I knew what to expect. If it hadn't been for that preparation, my first interview in front of a panel of six people, which included 2 principals, would have been much more frightening. I did my best to be honest, genuine, and to just be myself.

Q: What advice would you give to current students about maintaining their portfolio?

A: My best advice to current students about maintaining their portfolio would be to start now. If you are not in the student teaching process yet, begin by starting a resume and gathering letters of recommendation from your most highly respected educators. Once you start student teaching, keep copies of your lessons and student work samples that can be included in your portfolio. It gives a great view of what type of teacher you are and the progress your students have made with you. Make sure everything is up-to-date, including your philosophies and beliefs, and include photographs of you with your students (and athletes, if you happen to be a coach as well). Always remember that your portfolio should be able to tell even more about yourself that you may not be able to cover during an interview.

Q: What advice would you give to graduates who are currently looking for employment in the education field?

A: My best advice to give graduates who are currently looking for employment in the education field is to stay in the classroom. Make sure you are substitute teaching in at least one district and gaining as much hands-on experience as possible. Be open-minded to working with different agencies in the Buffalo area, and do not limit yourself to the traditional school setting. There is nothing more helpful than making yourself a part of the profession that you want to be in. Also, do not get discouraged, and stay positive. Be sure to apply to jobs when they are posted, and always make sure you are prepared for the interview, because you will get a call back.

I'm grateful for the education I've received.

The instructors were knowledgeable and welcomed class discussions, with
respect for each student's contribution. I've learned how to be a more
effective leader. My capstone class gave insight on how to combine all
the education learned to operate a business. That's when I realized how
much I had sharpened my knowledge.

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