When you are preparing for your teaching assistant interview, it’s a great idea to have a practice run or two. Try answering a wide range of questions that you might be asked at the interview.
This will help you to get used to drawing on your previous experience to explain why you might be good at the role. It will also help to remove some of the nerves you might be feeling about the interview itself.
Answering your teaching assistant interview questions
It’s OK to wait a moment to consider your answer. Your interviewers will prefer a pause than an answer that isn’t thought through.
Try to draw on practical examples wherever possible. Your answers will mean a whole lot more when they’re backed up with previous experience.
Use the SAR technique to answer questions
S – Situation: Describe the situation you were in – this should be a specific example and can either involve work with children or can draw on other aspects of your experience.
A – Action: Describe what you did in the situation. You should be very specific in outlining exactly what you did, not what you might do, or what a team as a whole did, but what you did.
R – Result: Describe the results you achieved. What was the effect of your action, why was it successful, what might you do differently next time, if anything?
You will be given an opportunity to ask any questions you might have at the end of the interview. Use this opportunity to explore areas you are unclear on. It is a good idea to think up a question or two beforehand that you can ask at this point to show that you are interested in the school and the role.
Question bank for teaching assistants
Practise answering these questions with a friend and ask for feedback. Remember that the aim is to demonstrate your skills and experience, and to help your interviewers get to know you and understand why you’d make a great teaching assistant.
The role of the teaching assistant
- Why do you want to be a teaching assistant?
- Why do you think you would be a good TA?
- What do you think the role of a TA is?
- Why do you think the role is important?
- Do you think you would find a TA role fulfilling? Why?
- What do you think would be the challenges you would face in this role?
- Why do you want to work at this school?
- Are you familiar with this school? What do you think makes it special?
- Would you be proud to be part of this school? Why?
Your experience, skills and personality
- What’s your experience of working with children?
- Why do you enjoy working with children?
- Can you tell us about a time you successfully worked with a group of children?
- What experience could you bring from previous posts to your work at this school?
- Do you find it easy to communicate with children?
- Can you tell us about a time when you effectively worked as part of a team?
- Are you good at organising yourself and other people?
Communication and managing difficult situations
- Do you think you would be able to effectively communicate with parents?
- How would you manage conflict with colleagues or parents?
- What would you do if a pupil was disruptive in class?
- Tell us about a time when you were with a group of children and something went wrong: how did you remedy the situation?
- What would you do if a child complained that they were bored?
- Some pupils are angry and upset following a playground dispute. It’s affecting the lesson: what would you do?
- Tell us about a time you had to use your initiative to rescue a difficult situation.
Teaching and supporting teaching
- How could you support pupils’ reading?
- How can you tell whether children have learnt something during the task they’ve just completed?
- Does learning have to be fun?
- How can we try to engage a demotivated pupil?
- What ideas can we try to help a pupil who is struggling compared with their peers?
- Do you have specific knowledge in any area, for example, a second language or a love of maths? If so, how could you use it in the classroom?
- How can we assess what pupils have learnt?
- Is it important to assess learning? Why?
- What makes a good lesson?
- How can we stretch our most gifted and talented learners?
- How can you encourage reluctant readers?
- Do you have any creative ideas for helping pupils who are struggling with numeracy?
- How would you support a pupil who was struggling with a specific task?
Child protection and safeguarding
- Have you ever felt uncomfortable about a colleague’s behaviour towards children in a previous job?
- What were your concerns, what did you do and how was the issue resolved?
- Safeguarding children is an important part of our work. Can you give me same examples of how you would contribute to making the organisation a safer environment for children?
- Tell me about a time when a child or young person behaved in a way that caused you concern. How did you deal with that? Who else did you involve?
Read our teaching assistant job interview advice for more tips on how to ace your interview.