What Questions Do They Ask in a Teaching Assistant Interview?

1-2 minutes

Teaching Assistants (or TA’s for short) play a crucial part in a child’s education and supporting the curriculum. Being on hand to support a young person’s learning and shape their future is a big responsibility and the number of people applying for such roles is on the increase. 

In our latest insights piece, we answer the question, what questions do they ask in a Teaching Assistant interview? 

Teaching Assistant interview questions

Teaching Assistant jobs can be hard to come by so impressing in an interview is more important than ever. When it comes to interviews, practice really does make perfect. You should consider conducting a mock interview to help you predict potential questions and rehearse your answers.

If you’re in the process of applying for a Teaching Assistant position, these are five most common questions which you can expect to be asked:

  • Why do you want to be a Teaching Assistant?
  • Can you tell us about your experience working with children?
  • Which of your personal attributes make you a good Teaching Assistant?
  • How would you deal with a challenging situation in the classroom?
  • Why do you want to work at our school?

Why do you want to be a Teaching Assistant?

It might seem like an obvious question, but this is probably one of the first things a hiring manager will ask you. They will want to know the motivation behind your career choice to assess what you will bring to the table. When answering this question, you should aim to be honest, personal and memorable.

A hiring manager might ask many people this question throughout their recruitment process, so we advise avoiding cliches and stereotypes. For example, saying ‘I want to be a Teaching Assistant because I like working with children’ is unlikely to blow their socks off.

Instead, you should say something along the lines of ‘I aspire to be a Teaching Assistant as I want to make a positive impact on a child’s education and help to shape their future.’ To ensure your answer is unique, think back to the Teaching Assistants who supported you throughout your childhood and the positive impact they had on your education. Explain how they inspired you to move into this industry and which attributes of theirs you’d like to carry forward throughout your career.

Can you tell us about your experience working with children?

Schools will generally hire a Teaching Assistant who has experience working with children. If you’re only at the start of your career and your experience is limited, don’t panic. Experience working with children doesn’t solely need to come from the classroom.

Think back to a situation where you supported a young person in some capacity. Even if the only experience you have is helping a sibling with homework or babysitting, elaborate on these real-life examples when asked by a hiring manager.

Of course, if you’ve previously worked in a school, there should be plenty of situations you can draw upon. Think back to specific moments in your career where you went above and beyond to help a child or where they particularly benefited from your support. Maybe you gave a pupil one-to-one support with their reading, or you were there to help them deal with a challenging situation.

If the role specifies that you must have classroom experience, and you don’t have any, consider contacting a local school or nursery and enquire about volunteering. Having a valid and up to date DBS will make you a desirable applicant who is enthusiastic and keen to progress their career in education.  

Which of your personal attributes make you a good Teaching Assistant?

There are many characteristics which make for a good Teaching Assistant; from compassion to commitment, hiring managers will be looking for a number of attributes from their Teaching Assistants. To give a hiring manager a real insight into who you are, we advise making a list of attributes that will set you apart from other candidates and why these are important personality traits for a Teaching Assistant to possess.

Think outside the box to avoid listing the same attributes as other applicants. Good attributes to list are sensitivity, creativity and good listening skills. You should also try to use real-life examples to highlight how you’ve displayed these characteristics in your career so far. The more evidence you provide to display your personal attributes, the more credible you will be.

How would you deal with a challenging situation in the classroom?

If a challenging situation arises in the classroom, it’s important that the Teacher and Teaching Assistant work together to diffuse the issue. 

To assess your response to this question, a hiring manager might give you a potential classroom challenge and ask how you would respond to this. Whether it’s a disruptive pupil or bullying in the classroom, knowing how to deal with such issues in a calm and effective manner is important.

When answering this question, explain to a hiring manager what methods you would use to avoid the problem occurring again in the future. A hiring manager will want to know you are authoritative enough to handle challenges but compassionate enough to deal with any issues sensitively. Using any past experience in response to this question will go down well too.

Why do you want to work at our school?

A high staff turnover in a school can be disruptive to both staff and pupils, so a hiring manager will want to recruit a Teaching Assistant who is committed to their establishment.

To assess your commitment, a hiring manager might ask why you want to work at their school in particular. We advise researching the school and its culture before your interview in order to make your answer personal to them.

Highlighting what you have learnt about the school and applying this to your reasons for wanting to work there is sure to impress a hiring manager. If the school has excelled at something that aligns with your own morals or achievements, keep this up your sleeve to include when answering the question.

Latest Teaching Assistant jobs at Spencer Clarke Group

If you’re searching for your next Teaching Assistant job, why not take a look at all the Teaching Assistant opportunities available with Spencer Clarke Group now? 

Alternatively, why not speak with one of our specialist consultants who can discuss any upcoming opportunities. We work with hundreds of schools across the UK and can offer a range of opportunities including temporary, permanent and to temp-perm positions. 

Who is Spencer Clarke Group? 

Since 2017, we've been changing the face of recruitment. From our employees, to the way we do business, to the culture within our office, we're determined to make a difference and create a positive impact on everyone around us.

Recruitment to us isn't just about matching candidates and clients; we’re passionate about finding candidates the perfect job which has the ability to boost their salary and standard of living, better their work life balance and improve their mental health. 

Similarly, we understand the impact which an experienced and skilled employee can make to a business and we love seeing clients thrive through the hard work of candidates which we have placed with them. 

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If you’re searching for a new role, why not visit our job page to take a look at the latest opportunities? Alternatively, upload your CV and one of our experienced consultants will contact you when a relevant opportunity becomes available. 

If you’re struggling to fill a role, why don’t you give us a call on 01772 954200 to see how we can help? One of our consultants will be happy to listen to the challenges which you are facing and advise on the best possible solution for you. 

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