Common Teaching Assistant Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're seeking a teaching assistant position, the interview portion of the hiring process is critical. It's important for teaching assistants to have strong communication and interpersonal skills, which are best evaluated in an in-person setting. Reviewing a list of teacher assistant interview questions can help you feel prepared for the types of questions the hiring manager may ask you during the interview. In this article, we share several teaching assistant interview questions, along with guidance on how to respond effectively and sample answers to help you craft your own responses.

General teaching assistant interview questions

These questions can help the hiring manager understand your educational background, personality and interests:

  • Walk me through your CV.

  • Why do you want to become a teaching assistant?

  • What do you think are the most important qualities for a teaching assistant?

  • Where do you see yourself in the next three to five years?

  • What's your favourite part about working with children?

  • What do you think are the greatest challenges in this role?

  • What's the greatest strength that you think you can bring to this position?

  • What's your greatest weakness?

  • Describe how you see the role of a teaching assistant?

  • Why do you think a teaching assistant position is important?

  • Tell me about what you're doing to improve your skills as a teaching assistant.

  • Tell me what you know about our school and our teaching philosophies.

  • Why are you interested in teaching at this school?

  • Do you find the job of a teaching assistant fulfilling? Why or why not?

Related: How To Succeed in a Virtual Interview

Questions about experience and background

These questions can help the hiring manager fully understand whether your experience and background align with the qualifications they're looking for in a candidate:

  • Describe a time that you were successful when working with children.

  • Tell me about the experience you have working with children.

  • Do you believe that learning has to be fun and engaging? Why or why not?

  • Was there a time that you saw a student bullying another student? What steps did you take to address the situation? Is there anything you would've done differently?

  • Tell me about a lesson or topic that you successfully taught a student. What teaching strategies did you use?

  • Tell me about a time that you need to discipline a child. What strategy did you use?

  • Describe your organisation skills? Tell me about the strategies you used to keep yourself and the students organised.

  • What strategies do you use when communicating with children? Do you tailor your communication style based on the child? If so, how?

  • Tell me about a time that you worked well as part of a team.

Related: Interview Question: “What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?”

In-depth questions

These in-depth questions evaluate your critical thinking and problem-solving skills and can help the hiring manager better understand your teaching philosophy:

  • What do you think makes a lesson good?

  • How would you handle a student if they were being disruptive in class?

  • How can you contribute to creating a safe environment for children? Please give me a few specific examples.

  • Do you have any tips or techniques for communicating with parents? Tell me about them.

  • What would you do if a child complained to you that they feel bored?

  • What ideas do you have for helping a child who is struggling in their class?

  • What steps would you take to help a child who was a reluctant reader?

  • How would you help a child who was struggling with a specific task?

  • Tell me about a time that a child or teenager behaved in a manner that caused you to become concerned. What caught your attention? How do you address it? Who else did you involve?

  • Tell me about a time that you disagreed with the approach that the teacher took. How did you handle the situation?

  • How would you handle a child who was hitting a classmate?

  • What strategies do you use to manage your time on the job effectively?

Related: Job Interview Tips: How To Make a Great Impression

5 interview questions with sample answers

Here are some interview questions along with guidance on what makes a good response and samples answers to help you develop your own responses to these questions:

1. Tell me about a time that you encountered a student who didn't want to participate in a classroom activity.

Sometimes, students refuse to take part in activities in the classroom. The hiring manager asks this question to better understand your strategies for encouraging students. To answer this question effectively, talk about how you can positively motivate a student instead of just focusing on negative consequences. Include steps such as finding out why the student is reluctant to participate, helping the student understand the value behind the activity and offering support where it's needed. Here's a sample response to this interview question:

Example: "I would start by having a one-on-one conversation with the child to determine if there was a specific reason they didn't want to participate in the classroom activity. Then, I would explain the primary purpose behind the activity and find ways to overcome their objections and make it fun. If they refuse, I won't force them. I would just offer another alternative that would help them with the same lesson, one that they could enjoy and do independently. I understand that sometimes students learn in different ways. My ultimate goal is to help them develop a love for learning."

2. Why do you think you would be the best candidate for this role?

The hiring manager may ask this interview question to determine what makes you unique as a candidate. To answer this interview question effectively, highlight your skills and experience. Make sure to highlight the ones that the job advertisement emphasised was most important. Here's a good response to this question:

Example: "I think I am the best candidate for this position, as I have proven experience working with kids of different backgrounds and ages. That experience has helped me improve my teaching skills and develop my ability to apply various instructional methods. Also, I have proven classroom management skills and can tailor my instructional style to meet the needs of each student."

3. What makes a good lesson?

To answer this interview question effectively, consider thinking about everything that goes into a lesson. For instance, the activities, seating arrangements, materials and classroom management all contribute to the success of the delivery of the lesson. Then, draw from your previous experience of either studying or working in a school. Discuss lessons that you believe worked and those that didn't. Here's a good answer to this interview question:

Example: "A good lesson varies depending on several factors. One day, some can work and the next day it may not. I think one of the most important factors to consider is preparation. If the teacher and his or her assistant prepare well in advance, they're likely to deliver the lesson successfully. One of my favourite lessons at school was when we're learning about the parts of the human body. The teacher came up with a game called "body part bingo", which was really well prepared and engaging. Every student managed to memorise the specialised vocabulary that day."

Related: Common Job Interview Questions and Answers for Freshers and Experienced Professionals

4. Why do you want to work at this school?

Employers usually ask this interview question to find out if you're serious about the school. To answer this question effectively, research the school and learn about its values and future goals. For instance, if the school has excelled at something, it's important to mention that in your response. Consider searching the name of the school online and look for details of any achievements, programmes or fundraising activities they have conducted in the past. Then, incorporate this information into your response. Here's a good response:

Example: "I'm particularly interested in working at this school due to its relentless commitment to performances, crafts and extracurricular activities. I think creative subjects are equally important as academic ones. It's important that students have fun while they learn. Because of the school's positive reviews, I also think there are plenty of opportunities here for me to grow professionally."

5. What would you do if a student was disruptive in class?

As a teaching assistant, it's important to work with the teacher to diffuse disruptions. While it's important to have a level of discipline, there are several more effective ways you can resolve these issues. You can suggest some ulterior, more positive methods you might employ to address the situation. Here's a good answer to this interview question:

Example: "As a teaching assistant, it's important to work together with the teacher to calm down a disruptive student. In most cases, I would adhere to the agreed disciplinary method that the teacher laid out. This may involve talking to the student privately or separating them. If the student keeps on disrupting the class, I may recommend to the teacher that we come up with another solution to address the issue. For instance, we could try to reward the student for good behaviour."

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