Obtaining a special needs teaching assistant position requires one to appear for an interview, post resume and cover letter review.
During this process, the interviewer will ask questions aimed at finding out the applicant’s suitability for the position.
This set of interview questions and answers for this position can be looked through to prepare for the process.:
Special Needs Teaching Assistant Interview Questions and Answers
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I have worked as a special needs teaching assistant for 3 years now. My interest in this work stemmed from a voluntary teaching position that I held before I decided to train in this field. Since then, I have contributed to many students’ lives in a positive way by helping them academically, and emotionally.
2. How did you learn about the opening?
I was informed of this opportunity when I inquired about a possible opening by a friend who works at your institute.
3. What duties have you performed in this role before?
I have worked as a special needs teaching assistant for 3 years, during which I performed a huge array of duties. These include assisting lead teachers in developing curriculums, imparting lessons, adapting classroom activities and materials, and monitoring student progress. In addition, I have been busy planning and organizing activities for specially-abled students, based on their individual requirements. Also, providing emotional and physical support has been part of my work.
4. What is your biggest weakness?
I always go the extra mile to do things, even when I know that my efforts won’t be appreciated. I believe that is this something that I need to work on. Whether it’s the effort that I should work on or the way in which I perceive this problem is another issue altogether.
5. What is biggest strength?
I am a great communicator, and an extremely easy individual to get along with. I believe that this is my biggest strength, as it helps me reach specially-abled students in a profound way.
6. Out of all the other candidates, why should we hire you?
I am confident that I am the right person to hire because of how well-aligned my teaching skills are with your requirements. Specifically, I possess the right skill set, including the ability to remain compassionate, and provide one on one and group instruction equally well. I am also professionally trained in this area which makes me an excellent choice to hire.
7. How do you feel about working in an environment where one is emotionally exhausted quite often?
I love my work. Initially, it was difficult to hold my emotions, but over the years, I have managed to cork my feelings, and focus on assigned students’ wellbeing instead.
8. Tell us of a time when you achieved something big.
2 years ago, I was assigned to a class where I was providing one on one coaching to a girl with ADHD. Since I had already worked for some time with ADHD students, I couldn’t place what was wrong with the situation. The girl didn’t seem to have many such traits.
After focusing on her core issues, I was able to place her in a regular education stream, as she was quite responsive. It was later determined that the girl was not full spectrum ADHD, but had a mild form of it. The parents had put her in a rigorous session anyway. However, placing her in mainstream education was a great achievement for me.
9. Why do you want this job?
I am sure that I am perfect for the job for many reasons. The main reason is that I feel that what I have learnt in special education can help many students. This will to make a difference and contribute is what makes me want this job.
10. Describe your dream job.
My dream job is what I am doing right now. Honestly, the kind of fulfilment that I get when I work in this capacity is all that I need.
11. Tell me about the last time a co-worker got angry with you. What happened?
The lead teacher that I was working with got angry at me because of a misunderstanding. I had done my job in accordance with her instructions, but she got upset because according to her, the work was not done well enough. It became a problem when she began yelling. I stayed calm, and tried to calm her down as well, as we had students who got very scared because of our altercation. Finally, I managed to get her to stop yelling, and listen to reason.
12. Why do you want to leave your current job?
I feel saturated in my present place of work. I feel that I am not contributing as much as I should, because I am not learning enough. I need a more stimulating work environment, which is why I would like to change jobs.
13. What kind of work environment do you like best?
I thrive in a challenging environment, as one gets to learn and contribute more.
14. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with a decision. What did you do?
Not too long ago, I found myself in a situation where I was being forced to sign the decision to oust a student based on his “nonconformity”. My take on the matter was that specially-abled students never conform and that is what we are here for. It became a huge debate. I felt as if the lead teacher was being unfair to the student. So, I took the matter to the school management, and it was ruled in my favor.
15. Tell me how you think other people will describe you.
I am quite positive that other people would say that I am compassionate, patient, kind, and fair. They would also comment on my teaching and mentoring style as being “exemplary”.
16. What can we expect from you in the first three months at work?
I would ask you to give me your most difficult cases, and see me work wonders for them. I am sure that I can make a huge difference in students’ lives, almost immediately.
17. In your opinion, what really drives results in this job?
I believe that perseverance, compassion, and understanding are three main things that drive results in this job.
18. How do you keep yourself motivated to do this work?
I am constantly motivated as I look at the end-result that is only possible with my efforts. When I see that I have made a difference in a student’s life, it gives me immense happiness, and encouragement to move on.
19. On a scale of 1 to 10, where do you rate your skills as a special needs teaching assistant?
I deem myself an 8, as I feel that I know a lot about the work, but still have a long way to go.
20. Tell us about the toughest decision that you had to make in the last 2 years?
I had no choice but to leave a facility for special needs students, when I found out about their nefarious practices. Not only did I move out, I reported them to the authorities as children’s futures and emotional and physical wellbeing were at risk.
21. How do you make students comfortable with yourself?
I work on their terms initially. I perform a few ice breaking exercises which helps them gain confidence to talk to me. Eventually, they get comfortable with me.
22. In your opinion, how important is students’ emotional wellbeing?
I feel that students’ emotional wellbeing is of utmost importance, which is why I make a conscious effort to preserve it.
23. Do you intend to take up any trainings in the future?
As a matter of fact, yes. I want to keep myself in the loop about new investigations and techniques in special needs, which I why I keep opting for training programs.
24. What is your take on inclusion?
Inclusion is a very important part of special needs. I believe that all teachers should work on the inclusion method to ensure that their students are given the best.
25. What special equipment and materials have you used to help in imparting education?
I have made good use of audiovisual materials and computers to increase the efficacy of lesson plans in the past.
26. Apart from lead teachers, which other professionals have you liaised with?
During the time that I have worked as a special needs teaching assistant, I have worked with may professionals, including social workers, speech and language therapists, and psychologists.
27. How much of a contribution do you feel that these professional make in a special needs student’s life?
A special needs student needs coordinated care. None of these professionals can work alone. We all work together to make sure that each individual student’s IEP is followed properly.
28. Do you find working as special needs teaching assistant challenging? How do you deal with the stress?
The work is challenging for sure. There is so much responsibility as you are accountable for the future of children who may have limited chances at life. The stress is immense as well. Whenever I feel the pressure, I simply think of how much help I am providing to an individual who may not have another chance with someone else, and the stress somehow converts into a sense of achievement.
29. What is the one main skill that one needs to work successfully at this position?
I would say it is patience. The work is repetitive and can get quite cumbersome since you are explaining the same things over and over again. With a little patience, you can rise above this triviality.
30. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Ideally, I would like to work in a trainer capacity, with many aspiring special needs teachers under my wing.
31. Do you have any questions for me?
I would love to know more about your institute. What motivated you to start this service? What are your long-term goals?