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Teaching Assistant Interview Questions

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  1. Why do you think you’re qualified to be a teaching assistant? See answer
  2. What role do you think a teaching assistant plays in the classroom? See answer
  3. If a small group of kids is constantly disrupting the class by laughing, talking and passing notes, how would you handle the situation? See answer
  4. Does it matter if kids find school fun and enjoyable? See answer
  5. If the teacher does something you strongly disagree with, how would you handle the situation? See answer
  6. Tell me about a time you effectively convinced a child to complete an assignment they didn’t want to do initially. See answer
  7. How would you respond to a student sleeping at their desk See answer
  8. What would you do if you disagreed with the lead teacher’s methods for dealing with a student?
  9. Are you comfortable writing lesson plans from scratch?
  10. Why are you interested in working with this age group?
  11. How do you build trust with students in the classroom?
  12. What strategies would you use to communicate with an ELL student?
  13. Describe some of the biggest challenges facing teachers today.
  14. What steps would you take to mediate a conflict between students?
  15. How would you stay organized when assisting with multiple different subjects?
  16. Tell me about a time you were able to stay calm under pressure.
  17. What methods do you use to provide feedback and positive reinforcement to students?
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7 Teaching Assistant Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

Why do you think you’re qualified to be a teaching assistant?

A:

A teaching assistant is a subordinate position that requires applicants to work well with their immediate supervisors and children. This question asks applicants if they’ve thought about the reasons they want to be a teaching assistant and what they bring to the position.
What to look for:

  • Applicant’s’ interest in being a teaching assistant
  • What qualities applicants bring to the position
  • Experience dealing with children

Example:


“I previously worked at an after-school program for primary students. As I worked there, I realized I enjoyed working with young kids. I believe that as a teaching assistant I’ll have the ability to play a more hands-on role in a child’s day-to-day learning and transfer some of my enthusiasm for learning to my students, making school a more enjoyable experience for them .”

Q:

What role do you think a teaching assistant plays in the classroom?

A:

An applicant should discuss what role they believe a teaching assistant plays daily in the classroom. This question ensures applicants fully understand the role and responsibilities of a teaching assistant.
What to look for:

  • Whether applicants know the expectations of the position
  • How important they think the teaching assistant role is in the classroom
  • Examples of how the teaching assistant aids the teacher

Example:


“The teaching assistants job is important because it allows the instructor to devote all their efforts to offering as much instruction, attention and assistance as possible to the students. As a TA, I would handle the more repetitive tasks, such as grading documents, supervising tests and arranging documentation, so the teacher can concentrate on the larger role of teaching and ensuring students are learning the information.”

Q:

If a small group of kids is constantly disrupting the class by laughing, talking and passing notes, how would you handle the situation?

A:

As a TA, there might be times where the person will need to discipline a student or deal with behavioral problems. This question shows if applicants are capable of handling a difficult situation on their own.
What to look for:

  • Resourcefulness
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to manage conflict

Example:


“If students were interfering with the class and didn’t appear to be focusing, I would follow whatever disciplinary action the teacher and I had agreed upon previously. In most cases, this would involve separating the disruptive students on opposite sides of the classroom. By separating them, they are still a part of the learning environment without being able to disrupt the rest of the class.”

Q:

Does it matter if kids find school fun and enjoyable?

A:

There is no right or wrong answer to the question. The goal is to get an idea of the applicant’s ability to think critically on the topic of education and teaching and offer an informed opinion on the subject.
What to look for:

  • Their philosophy on education
  • Critical thinking skills
  • If the applicant can succinctly articulate their position

Example:


“While not required, I think having fun is an important part of making children excited about learning. If the students are excited to come to school each day, it makes teaching them easier and, I feel, makes them more likely to engage in the classroom and retain the information being taught.”

Q:

If the teacher does something you strongly disagree with, how would you handle the situation?

A:

Teaching assistants have to interact with many people throughout the day, so conflict will happen from time to time. This question aims to see if applicants understand ways to deal with conflict with their immediate supervisor while still being able to express their concerns.
What to look for:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication skills
  • Understanding role in a hierarchy

Example:


“If the teacher and I were to disagree, I would bear in mind that it is their class, so they have the authority and the last word. With that said, If I were passionate about a topic, I would schedule a time to speak with them either before or after class and argue my position respectfully and clearly.”

Q:

Tell me about a time you effectively convinced a child to complete an assignment they didn’t want to do initially.

A:

Teaching assistants have to know how to work with kids even when they don’t want to do their work. This question allows applicants to demonstrate their ability to work with students when they aren’t cooperative.
What to look for:

  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Interpersonal skills with kids
  • Ability to encourage students

Example:


“In my last position at the after-school program, we regularly completed various arts and crafts projects. In one case, there was an origami project one child was struggling to complete, and she announced, rather loudly, that the project was stupid and she wasn’t going to finish it. Instead of being frustrated with the child, I picked up the pieces, sat her down and explained we could complete the project together. Walking her through it, we completed the project and she couldn’t have been more proud of herself.”

Q:

How would you respond to a student sleeping at their desk

A:

Teaching assistants are responsible for assisting the lead teacher with behavior management, including keeping students on task and encouraging them to pay attention to the lesson. This question addresses a common classroom issue that teaching assistants will likely have to resolve and allows candidates to show empathy, tact and problem-solving skills.

A good answer will include:

  • Gentle redirection of student behavior
  • Empathy and understanding
  • Follow-up with the student

Different schools may have their own policies for addressing off-task behavior like sleeping at a desk, but one example response could include:

Example:

"If I noticed a student sleeping, I would first walk around the classroom and gently tap on their desk or put a hand on their shoulder to give them an opportunity to wake up and re-focus without distracting the rest of the class by calling them out by name. After class or during the next available break, I would pull the student aside privately and make sure they were getting enough rest at home and had access to breakfast and snacks, two common reasons a student may be sleepy at their desk.

If the student was simply bored, I would talk to them about the importance of showi ng respect to their teacher by listening and give them tips for staying alert, such as writing down questions and notes. I would also encourage the lead teacher to use more call-and-response in their lesson to keep them engaged."

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    Last updated: Apr 21, 2021