What's the best thing to say during teacher associate interview?
July 27, 2011 11:35 AM   Subscribe

Hi, I will be going to a teacher associate job interview next week. This is where I will be sort of like a teacher's aide. Do any of you have great comments or responses that will impress the interviewer?

For example, if I'm asked what my philosophy is for disciplining students, I thought I'd say (what I really think) which is, I would re-direct the student away from the bad behavior and toward something new.

I thought I'd also explain that I think every student should be treated as an individual.

Any help or thoughts from you guys would be great!
posted by lynnie-the-pooh to Education (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Where possible, have concrete strategies and examples to back up your philosophies.
posted by canine epigram at 11:37 AM on July 27, 2011

Emphasize consistency and the idea that it's the teacher's classroom. If, say, the teacher feels that students who hit someone get a consequence, note that you'd be willing to follow that protocol. I've worked in a lot of classrooms and I can tell you that teachers appreciate someone who is willing to work as part of a cohesive team.

What age range is this for? If you're being interviewed by a school district, know that you may be interviewed by multiple people at once (something I wish I had known going in) and that there is a set of questions they have to ask each candidate.

Good luck.
posted by corey flood at 11:43 AM on July 27, 2011

I would develop answers to the following questions...

What's your background in education? Do you have X years of experience working in classrooms, Y years studying education in college or grad school? How will your teaching philosophies coexist with those of your host teacher? What teaching philosophies do you subscribe to, and how do you plan to execute them in the classroom?

Have you done research about the host school you've applied to? What's the demographic there? What's the district's overall socio-economic level? Will you be working with students who are bilingual or English Language Learners? Do you have strategies for working with students who have special needs or different abilities?
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:47 AM on July 27, 2011

I would echo corey flood's recommendation that you present yourself as open-minded and willing (and eager) to learn from the teacher. They are going to hire the person the teacher feels is most compatible - not someone who is gunning for her job, second-guessing or, especially, talking from theory/book learning rather than experience.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 12:05 PM on July 27, 2011

I'm trying to remember what questions I've been asked when going on these interviews. There's the typical interview questions, of course, like tell me about yourself, what's your experience in education, what are your strongest characteristic, what is your weakness, etc... They will likely also ask you what you will do when a child is making a poor choice (this is the language we use in my school, but they may not use it in this school), to which I echo the suggestion that you reply that you will follow the teacher's classroom management plan for consequences or however you want to phrase it.

They may also ask you if there was a time you found a child frustrating and if so, to tell them about that time and how you handled it. Here I think they mostly just want to know that you realize kids can be super frustrating at times and your usual response to this isn't to flip your lid.

In general, be as friendly as you can while nervous at a job interview, and not to be a downer, but if you don't get the job don't beat yourself up about it too much. I've found that schools often already have somebody in mind that they already know, but of course that isn't always the case!

Good luck! I work as a teaching assistant now, and it can be a really fun job. I'll post back later if I can think of anything else I've been asked!
posted by rosethorn at 1:31 PM on July 27, 2011

Lots of great advice here!

Again, knowing the age we're talking about would help. I've only had aides twice. Once was awesome and one less so. What made the awesome one a rockstar:
- She asked what texts we'd be reading so that she could read them ahead of time. (This was for an English class, btw. Seriously, that was amazing and awesome and really helped integrate her more solidly into the classes, making her a real adult authority, even if she didn't have full mastery of the associated literary devices, grammar lesson, etc.)
- She was always alert and monitoring the class at large when not working one-on-one with a student.
- She was AMAZING at working with kids one-on-one. As I mentioned above, she may not have been able to rattle off the definition of, metaphor, for example, but she would model the thinking process behind whatever question or task the struggling kid was working on. Being an "expert learner."
- She always had my back on behavior issues (i.e. keeping expectations on acceptable/not acceptable, consequences, etc. consistent)
- She took initiative to correct off-task or distracting behaviors as they happened, which allowed me to keep on teaching instead of stopping, addressing the behavior, and then having to get the class back.

I had her at my first teaching assignment (we'd actually worked together while I was student teaching), but she never made me feel like a rookie. We were a team, and boy, I missed her so hard when I got my first full-time gig in the city.

I won't dwell on my less-than-stellar aid except to say that he did very little. He was supposed to be my SPED para to help me with the disproportionate number of special needs kids in my mainstream class, but he didn't offer any real support for the kids, didn't intervene or stop behaviors as they were starting--pretty much, he like having an extra kid in the class. Albeit, a quietly respectful one, but didn't do much for the kids or me.
posted by smirkette at 1:38 PM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]

My mom's general advice for other teachers not to focus on how awesome YOU are, but to show them what you will do for the kids. It's all about the kids.
posted by lizbunny at 2:13 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm a special education teacher and I've had to hire tutors/paras/assistants and these are the big things we look for:

* first and foremost, you need to understand that you're following the teacher's lead and we need consistency in the classroom. So if I have immediate consequences for actions, then I need to know that you will follow those consequences (and not try to "be nice" and give second chances, etc.);

* it helps if you have an understanding of disabilities and developmental theory. Kids present differently because of gigantic range of disabilities, and it helps if you understand that and also, know ways to work with different types of disabilities;

* willingness to pitch in and do whatever the teacher needs;

* acceptance and genuine affection for all the kids (especially the really tough kids). I've had people who mentioned that some kids who got on their nerves; we don't hire those people;

* someone who takes initiative and can always think of something to do.

But in the interview, it comes down to a level of enthusiasm, respect for everyone, genuine kindness, and a lot of intelligence.

I think the fact you're asking shows a lot of all those qualities. Memail me if you have any other questions and good luck!
posted by kinetic at 2:20 PM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]

As to what types of questions you'll be asked, I've asked candidates to talk about how they would handle a situation when one child hits another, when a child curses at you, when a child tells you their father hit them, etc. Because of anti-bullying regulations, we now ask about how you would handle a bullying situation. We ask for examples of situations you've handled well and those you've handled badly. We don't ask vague philosophical questions (you mention treating all kids individually but if you could give an example of that theory in play, that would be great).

One thing we avoid like the plague are moms who are trying to get the position not out of an interest in teaching, but because they want to work in their child's school (this happens a lot).
posted by kinetic at 5:23 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm a HS english teacher and our aides ROCK. Here's why:
-they often followed groups of kids across subjects and for several years (ours were bilingual so were with ELD/sheltered students)
-we had commonly planned curriculum and they took care to know major project expectations and content of novels. They met with our grade level teams during our weekly meetings and asked lots of questions about how to support our kids
-they always deferred to us but also were proactive when they saw issues arise. They would quietly pull kids out to talk about the work or their behaviour and then bring them back in and get them back to work
-they cared about the kids and knew their names and remembered things about them so they can recommend books, movies, etc.
-they pull kids out and call their parents RIGHT THEN AND THERE for pos/neg reasons

So all that to say, emphasise:
1. Care for and interest in kids
2. Organisation and ability to plan ahead
3. Collaboration with teachers in planning, curriculum, day-to-day needs, classroom management, high-needs students, ect.
4. Mentality of being a co-teacher but one who defers to the classroom teacher (regardless of personality/age/experience/etc.)
5. Excitement to be involved with parent calls and counsellor/student/parent/teacher conferences
6. Enthusiasm for the profession and learning and continuing to develop skills/techniques

Also: do research on the school. What do they care about? What are the demographics? How big is class size? How is the leadership distributed? Does the district push an ideology/methods/programs? Does the staff get along?

Memail me if you have questions or want clarification. Good luck!
posted by guster4lovers at 6:56 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Your comments are sooooooo helpful.

To answer some of you...........this would be for 2nd grade.
posted by lynnie-the-pooh at 10:12 PM on July 27, 2011

How do you feel about problem-based learning?

How do you feel about student-oriented learning?
posted by bardic at 1:10 AM on July 28, 2011

« Older Why is the concept of evolution seen as contrary...   |   MacAmp? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.