Teacher Assistant position – What to expect in a job interview?

The hiring committee will ask you a variety of questions, while they will try to understand whether you have the right personality for this job, whether you understand what will be expected from you in work.

They will also try to assess your attitude to special needs students, and to various situations that happen in a work of a teacher assistant on a daily basis.

Screening, behavioral, and technical questions (all of them related to the position) will help them to create a good picture about you, and to decide whether it makes sense to hire you, or to prefer someone else to take the vacancy. Let’s have a look at the questions.


List of common questions

  • Why teacher assistant, and not a teacher? (You can refer to shorter education program, your preference to individual work with students, or your desire to work with special needs students. You can also say that you consider the position as your first step on the teaching journey.)
  • Why do you want to work at our school, and not at another one? (Focus on their reputation, goals and values they have, study programs they offer, or the location of the building of the school. One way or another, they should feel that you genuinely want to work for them, and did not apply by a chance.)
  • Why this grade, and not another one? (Tell them that you believe that you have the right personality to work with elementary/secondary/other grade students, that you understand their emotions and challenges they face. Alternatively you can say that you feel ready to work with any grade, and simply applied for the available position.)
  • What teaching methods do you prefer and why? (You can say that you prefer individual approach to each student, because that is mostly what you will do as a teacher assistant–helping individual students during the classes, or students with special needs. You can also emphasize that you have a knowledge of various teaching methods, and will try to always choose the most appropriate method for the lesson and the situation in the classroom.)
  • What do you consider the main duties of a teacher assistant at our school? (Job description should help you to find a good answer. Mention many duties, demonstrating your proactive approach to work. You can also approach the question from a different angle, saying that you plan to help the main teacher with anything they may need during the lessons.)
  • How do you feel about special needs students? Do you have any experience working with them? (In many cases, you will work primarily with children with special education needs. Tell the interviewers that you feel for them, that try to understand how to work with them in a best possible way, and actually look forward to working with special needs students.)
  • Is there any subject you do not like to teach? (Each of us has their most favorite and their least favorite subject, and you can definitely say it in an interview. But you should emphasize that you understand the importance of the entire curriculum, and will try your best in every lesson–regardless of the subject you’d teach.)
  • Describe a conflict you had with one of your colleagues (students). How did you solve the conflict?
  • Describe a time when you didn’t know what to do in the classroom (problems with discipline, or another situation). (Problems with discipline happen in every single classroom, and in some cases they will be your daily bread. The key is to show the interviewers that you are not afraid of the situation, and have an idea about how to address the most common problems. You can also emphasize the lessons you learned while facing the problems, and how they helped you to become a better teacher/teacher assistant).
  • Why should we hire you, and not one of the other applicants for this job?
  • Can you name the main problems teachers face nowadays? How would you address them?
  • What do you expect from the administrators and from the principal?


Answers, presence, connection

Success in an interview does not depend only on your answers to their questions. What you do, and how they feel with you in an interview, is equally important.

People at schools are not professional interviewers–at least most of them are not.

They won’t analyze your interview answers in depth, they won’t use score sheets or personality testing in an interview with you.

More often than not, their personal preferences will play an important role in the interview. If they feel good with you, if they can imagine sharing the staff-room with you, and if you give them as least decent interview answers, they will hire you.


Great eBook with answers to all difficult teacher interview questions

If you struggle with the interview answers, or feel  anxiety before this important meeting, I recommend you to have a look at Teacher Interview Guide, an eBook from Glen Hughins, a reputable interview coach who specializes in helping job seekers to get jobs in teaching and education administration field.

Glen will show you how to answer every question you can possibly get, and how to make a great impression on your interviewers.

If you apply for a your very first job, or have experienced some setbacks in your past interviews, this eBook is basically a must read. It will just make everything much easier for you in the interviews… You can get it for the best price here: eBook, discounted copy.

Thank you, we at Interview Penguin wish you good luck in your interview!

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