Like any other job interview, a teaching assistant interview requires careful preparation, thorough research and the ability to persuade the interview panel that you are the right candidate for the job.
During the interview, members of the panel will be asking questions similar to the teaching assistant interview questions below to assess your personality, skills and abilities, and although there are no word for word answers to fit every question, there are some general tips and tricks you could use to help improve your chances of answering them appropriately.
15 Teaching Assistant Interview Questions
1. Question: Can you describe anything you have done recently to develop your TA skills?
This question encourages you to promote your professional development. Reference any recent courses, training or volunteer work. Your interviewer will expect to see evidence that you are engaged and looking to further your knowledge.
2. Question: Can you give details of how you have helped a child progress?
This should relate to a specific context and detail how your support was personalised to meet the needs of a particular child.
For example, this could mean helping a child to understand a concept by framing it in relation to one of their hobbies or interests.
3. Question: What action would you take if you disagreed with an activity planned by your teacher?
Fully support your colleague. Sensitively raise the matter at the right time and place – asking to learn more about the details would be a good start.
Where the teacher is responsible for the work, you must never challenge or intervene. If you have real concerns, share these in confidence with your line manager.
4. Question: What strategies would you use to help with learning?
In a TA classroom context, this may include using questions to check if individuals understand the concepts being taught, or monitoring children's work to check learning is being applied.
Another context might be reformulating a knowledge explanation for the benefit of individual learners.
Ensure they have an accurate, easy-access timetable. Focus on their ability to find their way around the school site.
Make sure all staff were aware of the child's needs. Discreetly check that friendships were developing satisfactorily, e.g. without bullying.
6. Question: What kind of relationships would you make with parents/pupils/staff?
Staff relationships relate to team attributes; appropriate parental relationships should be friendly, open and supportive – but note the need to observe confidentiality; pupil relationships should be friendly, open, trust-building and supportive too – but also appropriately professional at all times.
7. Question: What are your views about parental involvement in a child's learning?
Acknowledge the primary role of parents as carers and educators. Value parental enquiries and positive advantages of two-way home/school communication.
The best practice is to keep parents well informed in a manner appropriate to the age and stage of learners. Some parents with special skills may wish to take more active voluntary roles.
8. Question: Describe a time when you used a creative approach to solve a problem.
Think of something novel, such as employing a popular aspect of children's media culture to effectively support a child to overcome a learning difficulty.
9. Question: How would you react if two students were talking and playing constantly during a class?
The role of a teaching assistant would be to get them back on task. First, by moving closer to that area of the class, then by quietly reminding them they should be working/paying attention etc., before reporting the matter to the classroom teacher if the students persist in their behaviour.
10. Question: Describe an occasion when you provided excellent teaching support.
This is your opportunity to show you can translate theory into practice, by relating how the teacher/support assistant relationship works in the classroom to deliver a quality learning experience.
11. What have you done recently to improve your teacher assistant skills?
Many teaching assistant interview questions will give you the chance to promote yourself, and this one is the perfect opportunity to mention any short courses, extra training or volunteer work that you have done in the last year or two.
They will want to see your engagement with the industry and any specialised areas that you may be interested in.
12. How would you deal with conflict in the workplace?
The interviewer will want to learn about your conflict resolution skills, as well as understanding your personality in regards to social interaction. A happy workplace is a productive workplace, and the interviewer will be looking for a confident, well-adjusted individual.
13. Question: What would you do if the teacher failed to turn up for a lesson?
Prior to allowing children to enter the classroom, inform the teacher next door. Ask if a TA for that class could report the matter to the office.
Have temporary classroom routines to hand out (register/setting up equipment/revision topics etc.). Never leave a class unattended.
14. Question: In what circumstances would you discipline disobedient students?
Discipline sanctions should only be initiated and applied by the classroom teacher in accordance with the school's behaviour policy. You should only assist the teacher in this when required.
15. Question: Do you have any special abilities, such as art or music skills, which could be useful in the classroom?
Any such abilities or interests can sometimes help to ‘reach' certain pupils, and also offer some different teaching and learning approaches if you feel confident in your abilities. (A potential interview “tie-breaker”.)
Although this is not an exhaustive list of all the questions asked at a teaching assistant interview, it will give you a good idea of the general types of topics that usually crop up during the questioning phase of the interview.
Remember, preparation is the key to success and if you can formulate a few of your own responses to these sample teaching assistant interview questions it will boost your confidence and help to eliminate any nerves that you may feel in front of the panel, so do your homework and ace that interview!