Interview processes for a teaching assistant position differ from employer to employer.
Some like to keep it casual while others are hell-bent on making the process cumbersome so that the mettle of the candidate can be tested.
Whether it is a casual interview or one that takes the mickey out of you, preparation is the baseline for success. The better prepared you are, the higher chances you have of winning this round.
A teaching assistant interview is basically a chance provided to an applicant to show the employer what he is capable of. It is usually the last step before an offer is made – or a rejection letter is sent.
So one has to take this step very seriously. Under no circumstances should we take the process lightly as so much depends on it – it is not merely a process; it is the deciding point of your job future.
Depending on the employer’s needs, interview questions range from very difficult to extremely simple.
But sometimes, even the simplest of questions are aimed at finding out how well you conduct yourself, so it is important to make sure that you understand why you are being asked a certain question before you attempt to answer it.
Answers to interview questions should flow smoothly – if you are being interviewed for a teacher assistant position, you will have to make sure that whatever answers you provide, are targeted in the students’ best interest.
See also: Teaching Assistant Resume
Here is a set of interview questions and answers for a teaching assistant position.
Teaching Assistant Interview Questions and Answers
1. Have you ever faced a situation when you had to perform some of the duties of a lead teacher? How well did you handle it?
Yes. I had to teach a class as a lead teacher for three weeks because the teacher that I was assisting fell ill and could not report back to work. I believe I handled it quite well. Since I am a keen observer, I knew exactly how to introduce a concept, build upon it and test students. There were 22 students in the class and with the help of a substitute paraprofessional, I managed to lead the class quite well.
2. As a teacher assistant, what have been your prime duties?
Apart from assisting the lead teacher in imparting instruction, my responsibilities included monitoring students, assisting with evaluations, handling behavioral issues, performing research for teaching and learning materials, and overseeing students during class and extracurricular activities.
3. Would you be comfortable working with a child who has Autism?
Absolutely. I have worked with children who have Autism, and I know the tricks to keep them involved and bring the best out of them.
4. What is your way of reprimanding students?
As a teacher assistant, I have to ask a lead teacher to intervene if there is a need for reprimanding a student. However, with the authority that I possess, I try not to reprimand a student when he or she does something wrong. Instead, I try explaining to them why their behavior is unacceptable and how I can help them to improve it.
5. What has been the most challenging part of working as a teaching assistant until now?
I had to work with a student whom I discovered was physically and emotionally abused by his parents. The fact that he was assigned to me for one on one sessions made it more difficult, as I could see his pain closely.
6. What did you do to make things better for this student?
As a teacher assistant, it was my duty to report my suspicions as soon as I found them to be true. I told the lead teacher, and this led to a meeting with the school management. Eventually, authorities were brought in, and the parents were challenged. The child is now in good foster care.
7. How do you handle the emotional attachment associated with this work?
I understand that a certain amount of compassion is required to work as a teacher assistant. However, I try to keep emotionally detached as much as possible so that I can think clearly, and make decisions properly.
8. As a teaching assistant, what are some of the skills that you offer?
I am highly skilled in many areas. Some of them are:
• Knowledge of assisting lead teachers in imparting education
• Ability to work with student groups and in a one on one capacity
• Expertise in handling behavioral problems
• Familiarity with creating and using teaching resources
• Unmatched ability to handle in-class and ground emergencies
• Effectively able to stand in as lead teacher during leaves
9. What do you love most about working as a teaching assistant?
There are many tangents of working as a teaching assistant, and I love them all. The one that I love the most is working in a position where I get to meet so many children. Also, it makes me very happy that I get to make a difference in children’s lives. Children don’t remember lessons. They remember teachers.
10. What do you hate about this work? What do you do to stop feeling this way?
I dislike it when I am rotated to another class, while I am working with a student who needs my help most. However, I have learned that this is all part of the work. If one dwells too much on it, it can become a problem.
My mantra is simple – when I am asked to be rotated, I take it as a newer challenge and I look forward to making my role a success.