Assistant Teacher or Teaching Assistant Interview Questions- How to answer

How to Answer the Common Interview Questions of Assistant Teacher or Teaching Assistant

Before applying for any type of job, one needs to understand why the demand for new employees was there in the first place. An institution will have a demand for Teaching Assistants mostly due to the rough scheduling and overbearing curriculum of most modern schools. We live in an age of rapid education, with most schools competing with each other over the number of annual graduates, or admissions. In this mad rush, the permanent staffs usually are highly overworked. Thus, creating demand for new employees or even temporary teachers. Here is the article- How to Answer the Common Interview Questions of Assistant Teacher or Teaching Assistant.

Assistant Teacher or Teaching Assistant Interview Questions

Two Types of Demand

With that being said, the demand can be categorized into two types, and according to those types, a certain type of interview may occur. 

  • FIRST TYPE of demand takes place when a permanent member retires or leaves the school/college, in such a case the institution will look for a replacement and will likely expect a similar level of expertise from the interview candidates. Since the expectations will be higher, the interview questions will be harder and rougher. But at the same time, the rewards are greater, as any who get selected will have a higher chance of swift promotion as permanent staff, with much higher pay grade. These types of jobs are recommended to those trying to climb a quick career ladder.

  • SECOND TYPE of demand takes place when an institution is in a rush of competition, as mentioned before. As the number of admissions increase, the number of students and classes increases, and the workload becomes too much for the current teaching staff to bear. In such a situation, the interview questions will be lighter and easier, and it is highly likely that more than one or possibly even more than five interview candidates will be given a job. Of course, the drawback will be that, it is highly unlikely to achieve a promotion in such a setting, the institute needs temporary members thus the treatment will also be such. The pay will likely be low, with a slight possibility of an increase. This type of job is recommended for those who are trying to get some teaching experience. 

Common Assistant Teacher or Teaching Assistant Interview Questions

Questions About You

Most interviewers will already have basic information about you from the documents you have provided them, so when asking something like, “Tell us about yourself?” They are not asking you, your name, your address, your academic qualifications, etc. It’s basically a trick question, they are not asking for information about you per se, but they are asking about what you think about yourself, your self-opinion.

It is basically a personality test, to check whether you are egotistical, or shy, or maybe gentle or cunning. Of course, it is impossible to understand a person completely in such a short time, but our reactions to these initial questions give off the vibe of the kind of person we are. In this scenario, there are two things that can be done:

  1. Be Generic: 

For example, “Hello, My name is ….., I am from ….., I am an honest person and a hard worker. I am also a quick learner….”

This is the generic, common route. It is a low-risk tactic, you can display all your features at once and you don’t run the risk of being thought of as overconfident or arrogant but on the flip side, it has been used so much that the interviewers have become bored of it. If you are feeling particularly tensed or nervous it is better to stick to this generic route, no need to try anything fancy, it might just make it worse. It can be looked at as boring but there are many interviewers who prefer this kind of answer.

  1. Take a Risk:

For example… no example can be given; it is basically being comfortable with yourself, in your own skin, and not trying to appear as someone else. Most people pretend to be a good boy or good girl, an academic. An experienced interviewer will see right through that charade and will not be impressed. Instead, being comfortable, while being humble and gentle at the same time will get you plus points. To give a sample, be the way you are with your friends or in any informal outings, be as comfortable as you are in a restaurant but not as you are on your sofa. Talk like you are talking to friends but keep the honorifics and respect.  

Calm, comfort, and confidence during an interview give off a vibe of the ability to handle oneself under pressure. Attempt this only when you are feeling a little calm, or confidence. If you force it or act it, it will have a reverse effect. Beware not to be overconfident though. This tactic has a higher chance of working as it displays your ability to withstand mental pressure. But since it is only natural to be nervous before interviews it is tricky to pull off, plus the stuck-up types of interviewers may consider it arrogance. So, it is also a bit risky. I advise learning confidence maintaining psychological tricks for this to work, one can easily learn some from Google or YouTube.

Questions About Your Higher Education

Again, the basic info is in your documents, so any questions regarding your higher education are meant to extract your opinions on your higher education and the concept of higher education. 

“How was your experience there?” is a commonly asked question regarding your higher academic experiences. Being humble about your answers is a good idea, better to slightly praise the educators of your past; it makes your interviewer indirectly feel a sense of praise, so that’s a plus point. Do not blatantly lie, if you don’t have many nice things to say about the matter then just keep it short.

Most people of present generations have a high contempt for higher education, especially due to their own experiences. But it is wise to avoid talking ill about your college or higher education in general. Otherwise, to them, you may come off as ill-suited for the job. And not to mention the possibility of an interviewer being an alumnus, who may not like your critique of his old college, it may seem impossible but it actually happens quite a lot. Comments with sarcasm are a good idea if you are confident you can pull it off, but avoid direct ill speech about the topic. That being said, avoid over-praising, keep it balanced, otherwise it will come off as fake.

Questions About the Job– Assistant Teacher or Teaching Assistant Interview Questions

Now comes the type of questions you will find in most blogs, like “Why do you want to be a teacher?”, “Why did you choose this school?” Why should we give you the job?” etc. While these questions are just as important in the process of the interview, once the criteria of knowing you as a person and your character are fulfilled, in the mind of the interviewer the rest is just extra boxes to tick. 

In general, one should just give genuine answers to these questions and not try to act or fake them. Even if the truth is, “I need extra money” it will be appreciated. But if we are to go into details, some samples are provided below, with hints in brackets:

  1. Why do you want to be a teacher?

I have always been good at explaining things, or at least that is what people around me have said. And I enjoy being someone kids can depend on. {You can also bring a personal connection} I have recently started teaching tuitions to kids in my neighborhood, so I understand the responsibility and also the satisfaction of teaching. {But don’t get cocky} I know the level of workload will be on a different level, but I am prepared to learn and am willing to adapt.

{Questions like these are a must in the list of questions on the interviewer’s desk. An obvious short answer seems sufficient in such a situation, but “because I want to be” is something that makes the interviewers think of you as having low resolve for the job. So, it’s best to have a back story attached to your reasoning like the one displayed above. Make sure not to make your story too long though, as it would probably bore them. A short story for your reason of wanting the job makes them empathize with your situation, maybe even relate a little, which in turn makes you a viable candidate in their eyes.}   

  1. Why do you want to work here?

This school is well known for giving more importance to the students’ practical experience over the text-only method. I consider it an ideal of education and wish to be part of this endeavor.

{A little bit of research before the interview goes a long way. Finding out what you can, what you legitimately can, about the institution you are trying to join gives you an idea about what to expect during the interview, also what kind of people to expect to be in it. The interviewer would probably also be a prideful member of the institution, so a bit of flattery is always useful, don’t overdo it though. Most importantly, knowing tits and bits about the institute also give you the option of giving an answer like the one above, it shows your willingness to work for the institute, and also helps to advertise your eminent adaptability to the workplace, as you already know about most of it.}   

  1. Why should we hire you?

I am a hard worker and I have been told I am a quick learner. {Be humble} I am aware that I lack experience, but I am willing to learn on the go. I have a bit of know-how regarding the new technology uses in education, perhaps I can provide required assistance wherever needed. {State some of your accomplishments} I tried using audio lectures and YouTube videos for my tuition students and was able to get a positive effect. Perhaps I can try some things here as well. 

{In case you are asked such a question, it is important to understand, they don’t mean for you to list out your qualities or qualifications. As mentioned before they are already aware of all that from your CV or resume. When they ask, “Why should we hire you?” they are actually asking, how you, you specifically, can help them, what makes you more useful to them, over the other candidates. Of course, it is impossible for you to understand how capable the other candidates may be, so in such a situation it is better to point out how your qualities may be helpful in case they hire you, as displayed above.}  

  1. How would you teach?

I personally believe in free communication between students and teachers, so I would try to explain certain points and discuss with the students their own opinion on these points. I am aware that this process can cause indiscipline, but such students are very few and are easily quelled with a bit of attention. In my view, children are actually always eager to learn, it is just a matter of how interested we can make them be.

{This is actually quite an unusual question, as most teachers have their own individual style of teaching, and criticizing the style of the other is considered quite rude. But if such questions do come up, it is mainly meant for you to give a sample of how you would act in certain situations. Instead of this question being asked they may even tell you to give them a sample of how you would teach, right there in front of them.

It is best to prepare for a specific topic that you are confident about and practicing lectures on that topic in front of someone, days before the interview. Most interviewers give you the choice of picking a topic to lecture, but in case they give their own topic. It is better to tell them that you don’t know much about it and ask to pick your own topic, instead of attempting a topic that you don’t know. Of course, if you know it, all the more impressive, but if you don’t, an improper sample lecture will drastically decrease your chances.}

  1. How would you behave with the students?

I personally believe in a friendly informal relationship between student and teacher. I understand the importance of formalities between the students and teachers, but in the name of formalities sometimes some voices often can get muffled. I have noticed many children who wished to be better in their studies but are too shy to approach a teacher or too afraid. I wish to be able to communicate with even the most introverted of students and bring out their potentials. I understand that sometimes informal relationships may turn into indiscipline as students start taking the teacher for granted, so I would have to maintain that fine balance in every situation.

{This is another rare question asked in interviews, but when asked usually the candidates start to think that they need to simply start to sweet talk about their passion for teaching, and say how well they will treat the students, the children, and how much they love teaching and hanging out with children. That is a mistake. This question genuinely asks how you would treat the students in the position of a teacher, remember your ultimate goal is not to make friends but teach. That being said a person who says, “I would slap every child who disobeys me”, would probably and rightfully not be given the job. So, the ultimate aim is to find that balance, there are those who prefer a strict regimen, and there are those who like to be friendly with the kids, both ways are good, so you need to specify how you would find that balance to the interviewers.}     

To Conclude

When all is said and done, it’s actually just you and the interviewer or interviewers, in the situation. You could make a hundred plans and watch it go down the drain because the situation was not as you expected. It is like an examination that can happen at any time. So, how do you deal with that? Well, treat it like an examination that can come at any time. Instead of preparing for the interview right before it, work on certain points that you can depend on at any time. Job demands, especially these days come in random waves; you could be sitting idle for a whole year, with no ads on the papers, and then suddenly get hit by 20 ads on the same week.

But just in case you can use a three rule formula for better performance in interviews;   

  1. Be comfortable with yourself, do not have unnecessary insecurities, be confident, you are at the interview because there is a demand for services that you can provide.

  2. Be humble, no matter how great your grades, no matter the standard of the certificates you have, the interviewer decides whether to hire you or not. So the interviewer should not feel intimidated by your academic success or your arrogance. Do not give people a reason to be petty. 

  3. And most importantly, access the situation, every interview is different in its own way, and so is every interviewer. These kinds of articles can provide you with information based on patterns and trends. But ultimately, you are the one in there. So use the knowledge that you have gained and use it according to the situation, as you see fit, and everything will be alright.    

Be comfortable, be humble and be aware, and best of luck. 

Assistant Teacher or Teaching Assistant Interview Questions- How to answer

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