I have my first interview for a TA position this week. I have experience but it's voluntary. I also have a teaching assistant qualification. They are going to let us mix with small groups of pupils to assess us before shortlisting. That scares me! Also, any tips for the interview itself?
I had an interview for secondary TA, was successul and started this term. The main things they seemed to want to know at the interview were: How would you motivate children (answer, by positive praise, taking a real interest in their progress)
Do you expect the teacher to do all the planning? (answer this one by implying that you are prepared to do background reading in order to gain subject knowledge etc, that you would be happy to help prepare resources, that you would be prepared to do any planning/work the teacher requires if they have notified you of this before the lesson but, equally, you understand that teachers are very busy people so you would be just as adept at thinking on your feet and supporting in a lesson where you haven't had any prior instructions)
What do you see as your main role in the lesson? (to support - make it clear that, though capable of using your intiative, you understand the real expert is the teacher and you would not be an uppity bossy-boots or undermine the teacher in any way)
Do you understand the importance of child protection issues? (make sure you mention the importance of never promising a child to keep things secret and of reporting any disclosures children might make to you to the child protection officer).
Oh dear, didn't even get selected for interview. 3 out of 5 of us did but not me. Selection was based on an observation of us with a small group of 3 Y9 each. We were each given a book and a choice of 3 worksheets to use. I chose 'design your own band' and to look at a page on marketing. They were really engaged with this idea, maybe a bit easy (for me)? They were chatty about it, but not OTT. The next table was deadly quiet but she also failed to get through! . I thought the other worksheet options looked too easy or about spelling and my choice looked more creative. No feedback yet as she rang the wrong number - not the one I asked them to call and haven't been able to speak to them during half term... The other candidates were all 10 years younger than me.
You've gained heaps of experience just going through the process so don't despair...and you know you can write an effective application because you got the chance to interview. I think the observed activity was less about the choice of worksheet and more about them seeing how you interact with the pupils: did you give them a chance to be independent, was the way you spoke to them appropriate, did you let them show what they know etc.
Oh sorry to hear that! Yes, well done for getting as far as you did, it's such a nerve wracking experience. They are looking to see how you interact with kids - which is so difficult in an interview situation with children that you have never met before. The only thing you can do in that situation is to be extremely positive and always challenge them further with open questions etc. Don't worry about how old you are as I am no spring chicken and my school has also just employed an ex-teacher to be a TA who is in her early 60s.