Success in any job interview relies on careful preparation and a teaching assistant interview is no exception. Trying to predict teaching assistant interview questions can be difficult but some simple research can go a long way.
Prior to the interview it is important to find out as much as possible about the school, its pupils and staff. Looking at the school's website and recent Ofsted report can help you to understand the aims of the school and give information about the kind of activities its pupils are involved in.
Teaching assistant interview questions and answers will vary greatly depending on the school and post, however, some areas will always be covered.
Safeguarding children, confidentiality and dealing with unacceptable behaviour are integral to a teaching assistant's role so preparing to talk about these areas is sensible.
Example teaching assistant interview questions and answers
Question: Why do you want to be a teaching assistant?
Answer: This is an opportunity to talk about your previous experiences of working or volunteering with children and what you enjoyed and learned. Even if your experience is limited to babysitting or volunteering try and bring out pertinent information a positive way:
I volunteered in my local school and listened to the children there read. I enjoyed working one to one with the children, helping them with new words and found watching them gain confidence very satisfying.
I was a helper at a local Brownie group and enjoyed helping prepare the games and craft activities every week and helping the children carry out the planned tasks.
I have spent some time working at an after school club and had to supervise children of all different ages making sure everyone had age appropriate toys and games to play with, stepping in if things became rowdy and making sure everyone behaved and was safe.
This involved setting up the play equipment before the children arrived, giving them a drink and a snack and clearing and tidying the room afterwards. I particularly enjoyed interacting with the children and would love to work alongside the class teacher to help them learn.
Question: Why do you want to work at this school?
Answer: Having looked at the school's website I was impressed by the positive outlook and the initiatives used (anti-bullying/anti-racism/healthy eating) to make the school a happy and safe place for its pupils and staff.
Question: If a child tells you that he or she is being harmed by someone outside school what would you do?
Answer: I would follow the safeguarding procedure of the school and report the incident to the named senior member of staff responsible but not disclose this to anyone else. I would try to reassure the child and keep them updated on what's happening.
Question: How would you deal with a child who persistently misbehaves in the classroom?
Answer: I would work closely with the class teacher to deal with the child in a consistent way. I would use positive encouragement and praise good behaviour when possible and follow the school's behaviour policy if things don't improve.
Question: What would you do if a parent asked you a question about their child in the playground after school?
Answer: I would explain that I am not allowed to talk to parents about individual children for reasons of confidentiality and would direct the parent to arrange to speak to the class teacher.
Question: How would you motivate a child with special education needs who doesn't want to take part in classroom activities?
Answer: I would try and be as positive as possible with the child and encourage them to join in using stickers, reward charts etc. and possibly a special mention in assembly for consistently hard work.
Question: Why did you leave your last job?
Answer: I left my last job because I wanted to pursue a new opportunity. I felt that I had learned what I could from my previous position and while very grateful for that experience, I'm ready for an opportunity to make a difference. Working as a teaching assistant would let me use some of my strengths and skills while also challenging me in new ways.
Question: What are your weaknesses as a teaching assistant?
Answer: My greatest weakness as a teaching assistant is that I don't have much experience. I'm not as familiar with the way things are typically done. Being inexperienced, though, also means that I'm not locked into doing things in a certain way.
I believe that I am adaptable and very open to instruction. I am eager to learn all that I can and look forward to working with a teacher who can offer important feedback. I believe that my job is to best support the teacher or teachers I'll be working with while learning everything I can from them about education.
Teaching assistant interview questions and answers will often be based around the subjects above with variations in the scenarios used.