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Teaching Assistant

Best interview questions for your hiring process

Teaching Assistant Interview questions

Teaching Assistants are education experts who will be present in the classroom during lessons and after-school clubs. They help to provide a class of students with an extra layer of support, to ensure they meet their learning targets and feel comfortable with the level of care they receive.

These are the most important qualities to look for in a Teaching Assistant:

  • Patience and caring personality 
  • Passion for education
  • Understanding of syllabus 
  • Ability to communicate difficult subjects or concepts
  • Highly organised and punctual
  • Understanding different children’s personalities and needs

Interviewing a Teaching Assistant

A great Teaching Assistant can make a world of difference in a child’s learning career. Therefore, hiring the right individual for the role is absolutely essential. To ensure you do this your interview process for this role needs to test the relevant skill sets for this role.

To help with this, we’ve put together these example Teaching Assistant questions. These questions are designed to be asked at the start of your hiring process, to quickly decipher whether to move the candidate forward to later stages.

How to open the job interview

The best way to start your Teaching Assistant interview is by putting the candidate at ease and ensuring they feel comfortable. This will help to calm their nerves and ensure you get a more accurate picture of their skills and personality.

You can do this by asking a few lighthearted opening questions to set the tone.

Best interview questions for your hiring process

See our example Teaching Assistant job description here

For the interview

A positive opener to start

What do you enjoy most about being a Teaching Assistant?

Why did you choose a career in education?

Behavioral Questions

Name a time you dedicated some extra time to a student’s learning and it paid off?

A large part of a Teaching Assistant’s role will be to dedicate time to students who need some extra support. Here, a candidate should be able to provide examples of doing this.

Tell me about a time a pupil was having a significantly difficult time with an activity or subject, how did you help them to overcome this?

Some pupils will require extra support in certain areas. Here, you’re looking for a Teaching Assistant who can use a range of teaching methods, from visual prompts to step-by-step explanations, to help overcome roadblocks.

Tell me about a time you weren’t able to help a child complete an activity or understand a concept, what were your next steps?

Sometimes, time constraints or other challenges will mean a Teaching Assistant can’t completely help a child overcome a problem. Here, they should pass as much information on the case as possible to relevant stakeholders. This could be the Teacher themselves, or parents who can help work with the child at home.

Talk me through a time when a pupil has exhibited disruptive behaviour, how did you deal with this?

Here a Teaching Assistant should be able to mention dealing with the disruptive pupil as quickly as possible, to avoid interference with their classmates. The Teaching Assistant should mention calmly warning the child, or speaking with them one-on-one, as this teaches communication skills and leads by example.

Soft Skills

How do you work with your class Teacher to help provide optimal support to those who need it during a lesson?

A huge requirement of a Teaching Assistant is great communication. They should be able to speak about creating a plan in advance with the Teacher, where they discuss what areas they can support with, from preparing the classroom to providing students with extra support.

What steps would you take if you received negative feedback from the teacher?

Here, you’re looking for a candidate who will turn the feedback into actionable improvement areas. 

What skills do you have that are important as a Teaching Assistant?

Here, a candidate will name their relevant educational skills, they may name soft or hard skills!

When working with a group of students, how do you ensure each child receives adequate attention?

Organisation and prioritisation are important for Teaching Assistants. Here, you will find out what techniques a candidate has for dealing with these situations, which is essential for the role.

Hard Skills

What is the largest group of children you have worked with? How did it go?

You may require your teaching assistant to work with large groups or focus on mainly one-to-one work. Here you will get an idea of how their experience lines up with your needs.

Which age group have you worked with previously?

As above, this will let you assess a candidate’s compatibility with your role.

Do you have experience with grading work?

Sometimes, a Teaching Assistant will help with grading and marking a student’s work. Knowing whether your candidate is comfortable with this will help you to assess whether they are the right hire.

Have you taken any specific first aid, or safeguarding training?

If the candidate has extra training, this is a huge bonus.

Are you experienced with working with children who have special educational needs?

This is important to know if this will be part of the candidate’s daily duties.

Operational / Situational Questions

If two children were causing a disruption to the class, how would you deal with this?

The candidate should mention quietly separating the children or moving them away from the rest of the class to settle the dispute. This ensures minimal damage to the other pupil’s schedules.

If you noticed an individual in the class was falling behind with their work, how would you react?

Here, a Teaching Assistant should speak with the pupil to see how they can help, offer extra support, and pass the message along to the Teacher who can further help.

Imagine a student comes to you with a confidential problem or issue. What are your next steps?

It is essential that the Teaching Assistant makes note of this information and passes it along to a safeguarding team member as soon as possible. 

If you were to join our team as a Teaching Assistant, what would your first steps be?

The Teaching Assistant should get to know their pupils, and stakeholders, and familiarise themselves with school rules and procedures.

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