How to best prepare for a teaching assistant interview in six easy steps

28/02/2022 | All

If you’ve been invited for a teaching assistant interview, you’ve already got one foot in the door of your dream role! You’re well on your way to becoming a teaching assistant. As with most job interviews, the process will vary from school to school. However, there are several ways that you can prepare for your interview to give yourself the best possible chance of success! Read on to find out our 6 easy steps on how to prepare for a teaching assistant interview!

1. What kind of questions will I be asked during my TA interview?

It goes without saying that all schools will have their own process of interviewing for teaching assistant roles. Questions and the formality of interviews will vary from school to school. However, most interviews will normally consist of two parts: getting to know you better and watching how you perform. The latter will be focused on later in this blog, but for now – what kind of questions could I expect to be asked?

Common teaching assistant interview questions:

  • Why do you want to be a teaching assistant?
  • Why do you think you would make a good teaching assistant?
  • Why do you want to work at this school?
  • What do you think makes a good lesson?
  • How would you deal with disruptive behaviour?
  • Tell us about your experience of working in classrooms/with children?
  • How do you ensure the safety of children in the classroom environment?

2. How can I prepare for the formal interview?

The formal part of the interview is aimed at getting to know you a bit better and is likely to be a traditional-style interview with a panel asking you questions. The best way to prepare is to practice, practice, practice! We would recommend coming up with as many teaching assistant questions (such as the ones above) and constructing answers to them. Memorise these answers and practice in a role play situation – ask a family or friend to be your interviewer! This will help you to more effortlessly answer questions and be better prepared for your teaching assistant interview.

3. What type of activity might I be asked to do?

Not all schools will ask you to work with children as part of the interview process, however it is becoming increasingly common practice. If they do ask you to do so, you will likely be asked to work with a small group of students in a classroom environment while being observed. 

The amount of guidance you get will likely depend on your experience. If you have little or no experience, then you will probably be given some guidance on exactly what to do. If you’re more experienced, you may be given more leeway and even asked ahead of the day to prepare for the task. 

In terms of preparing for the activity, the best preparation you can get is by getting used to working with children of the appropriate age. You may already be confident but, if you haven’t worked with that age group before, try to get some voluntary experience before your interview. If you’re given a task to prepare ahead of time, make sure you work out what you’re hoping to do in plenty of time and try to get some feedback. 

4. What should I wear and what should I take with me?

In terms of dress code, it’s important to dress smart but feel comfortable – first impressions count for a lot! Although it’s not expected attire for a teaching assistant, you’ll never go wrong with a suit, smart skirt, dress or trousers!

It’s always a good idea to take the following items with you to your interview:

  • Identification
  • A copy of your CV/application
  • DBS check if required
  • Notepad and paper
  • Lesson plan if you have prepared one!

5. What questions should I ask?

Preparing relevant, thoughtful questions to ask your interviewer can help you appear calm and confident during your interview. Asking questions can help to communicate your passion for teaching, your interest in the school and your commitment to the role. If you are asking questions, it is important to make sure that you avoid asking anything obvious or irrelevant. Here are some examples of good questions to ask at your teaching assistant interview:

  • What is a typical day like for a teaching assistant at this school?
  • What extracurricular activities are available for participation?
  • What are your expectations of me?
  • What is the culture of the school?
  • What opportunities does this school offer for professional development and growth?

6. How can I calm my nerves?

As the day of your interview approaches, it’s natural to feel nervous or anxious! But, as the following tips show, by preparing well and adopting the right attitude you can learn to control your pre-interview nerves and channel them into something positive! Here’s some tips on how to prepare for your teaching assistant interview:

  • Do your research: A lot of the anxiety surrounding interviews is based on not knowing what to expect! You’ll feel much more confident if you know you’re as prepared as possible.
  • Practice makes perfect: Research is vital, but what really helps is running through your answers to potential interview questions aloud a few times. The more familiar you are with the materia, the less nervous you will feel on the day!
  • Know the way: Find out all you can about exactly where your interview will take place and plan your travel well in advance so you don’t have to worry about it on the day!
  • Embrace positive self-talk: Reframe any unhelpful thoughts into more constructive ones. Rather than thinking about how nervous you are for the interview, remind yourself how excited you are that you’re one step closer to your dream role!

How can i-teachers help?

Are you interested in becoming a teaching assistant? At i-teachers we have a wide variety of teaching assistant roles available! From Primary TA roles, secondary subject specific roles to SEN roles – we may have the perfect opportunity for you. If you’re a graduate looking to gain some classroom experience and learn first hand what makes a good teaching assistant, take a look into our unique ‘Step into Teaching’ programme! We are the UKs highest rated education recruitment consultancy and our team is dedicated to making a positive difference to education through placing high quality candidates. Contact us for more information!