Becoming a teaching assistant promises a rewarding and varied career. Tasked with supporting young people who need extra help, the work is fulfilling and engaging, and no two days are the same.
If you’ve recently completed a teaching assistant qualification, it’s safe to assume that the next task on your to-do list is finding a position within your chosen field. But with hundreds of other applicants to contend with, it’s crucial that you take a proactive approach to landing your coveted role.
To boost your chances of success, we’ve put together a guide on common teaching assistant interview questions and how best to answer them. Offering practical guidance and insight, it’s a great resource that can help you nail that interview and showcase your attributes.
Let’s begin by taking a look at four typical questions you may be asked during a teaching assistant interview. These are used to assess your character, drive and motivation for applying for a specific role, so positivity and enthusiasm are key.
Often, the simplest interview questions are the hardest to answer, which is why preparation is so important. Think carefully about what motivated you to pursue a career as a teaching assistant; perhaps you received additional tutorage at school? Or you’ve always wanted to work with children who need extra guidance and support?
Among the trickiest interview questions to get right; you need to strike a balance between showing awareness for the school’s reputation and achievements, without pandering. Before the interview, find out as much as you can about the school from their website. Not only does this demonstrate your passion and proactive approach, but it allows you to schmooze based on fact.
Talking about ourselves can be challenging. Before the interview, identify your attributes and strengths, and align these with what the school is looking for. Think about the qualities that a teaching assistant should possess; patience, empathy, approachability and a caring nature are all attributes that you should be looking to showcase within your answer.
Here, interviewers are looking to assess your understanding of a TA’s function, and how they can have a positive impact within the classroom. Lean on your knowledge and training here; what is the primary reason for teaching assistants to be present in schools? Think about the value they bring, and the support they can offer to students with greater needs than others.
As part of a TA interview, school leaders will be keen to assess your skills and knowledge. Given you’ll be working closely alongside children from all walks of life, they’ll want to see that you have plenty of skills and aptitude to bring to the table.
Here, school leaders are looking to assess your knowledge of safeguarding, which will undoubtedly be a significant part of your day-to-day role. Ahead of the interview, research the current trends in effective safeguarding, and demonstrate your skills by giving an example of how you would leverage the latest tactics to help protect children in and out of the classroom.
The short answer here is, of course, to a great extent, but you’ll need to go deeper than that. A TA’s role is to ensure that all children, regardless of background, gain a positive experience in the classroom, so come up with an example situation whereby you can demonstrate your understanding of this important issue.
This is an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and training, so be sure to revise course material ahead of the interview. Resolving poor behaviour is a principal duty for any TA, requiring a deft hand and an empathetic, patient approach. Come up with simple strategies you can use to curb disruption, such as separating children and investigating root-cause issues.
Here, interviewers are looking to determine that you understand the responsibility of being a teaching assistant, so be honest and forthcoming in your response. Recognising that the role will bring challenges and upsets shows maturity and understanding, and that you’re aware of the gravity of the position. Set out a small handful of situations and demonstrate how you would approach them.
Scenario questions are very common in teaching assistant interviews, because it’s hard to gauge a person’s aptitude without putting them in a room full of children. Be prepared to lean heavily on your training and knowledge here and revise heavily ahead of the interview to deal with any curve-ball situations thrown your way.
Here are a few examples of some typical scenario-based competency questions which you may be asked as part of your interview:
These are just a few examples of the types of competency-based questions you may be asked in a teaching assistant interview. Remember, preparation is key if you want to ace these types of questions, so go back to your course material and remain mindful of best-practice advice before you face the interview panel.
Fulfilling, challenging and worthwhile; a career as a teaching assistant is an invaluable profession. If you aspire to work with children and have the patience and knowledge needed for the job, Oxbridge can help you achieve your TA ambitions with a range of teaching assistant courses and training programmes.
For more information on our teaching assistant qualifications and distance-learning courses, visit the Oxbridge homepage today or give our team a call on 0121 630 6000. We’re here to help whenever you’re ready to take the next step.