Please help with this job interview(8 Posts)
I have a job interview next week for a TA role in a small, rural school. It is just for 10 or so hours a week and a TA qualification is not required. It seems to be mainly working one on one or in small groups, but some classroom support and admin type stuff too. I have no teaching experience, but for the last year I have been going into the DS's school (not the school in question) as a parent helper and taking children on a one on one basis for reading, spelling, creative writing and maths. I have also helped out in the classroom a couple of times on D&T projects (chaos!).
I applied on the spur of the moment really - DD doesn't start school for another year but has some increased nursery hours from September, and I have been feeling a bit frustrated for a while about the fact that I no longer work. I know I should be taking advantage of the fact that I am not working but after 4+ years I am yearning for a job, something else to talk about/be involved in; and I'm really interested in education. Hence the volunteering at DS's school and elsewhere. I've been looking up TA roles for a while - actually becoming a teacher would not work for us a family right now. I have lots of varied experience, a degree etc, but my background is not in teaching/education and I haven't worked for 4.5 years!
So I found out today that I have been offered an interview next week and am now hugely nervous and feel very unprepared. It will involve being in the classroom with the teacher and children for a while and then an interview with some governors and teachers, argh! I feel panicky just thinking about it, and perhaps I shouldn't have applied at all! Surely they will give the job to someone with teaching experience? I wonder if I have been invited for numbers?
Any tips on this sort of interview would be very welcome. Thank you.
With your qualifications and enthusiasm, you certainly aren't there to make up the numbers. Here's my advice as a Deputy Head who has interviewed tonnes of TAs:
In the classroom- they want to see if you're nice with the kids, interact well with them and if they respond to you. However, you also need to show a bit of backbone. Be firm but nice- if they shout out say 'please put your hand up' or 'remember we don't shout out.' Basically the stuff you will have seen and probably done brilliantly while volunteering. If you are involved in a learning activity, make sure you are clear what the teacher wants the kids in your group to LEARN, not just what they have to do. Ask the kids questions, or support them to develop this skill. The finished product is less important. Don't over help or take over, just gently prod and support where needed.
The interview: just think about your experience to date. You'll already know the importance of talking with the teacher before working with children so you know what you need to do and what they are learning. You might also have had a chance to feed back how children have achieved. Your role is pastoral- support the kids, listen to them, be there for them, but also academic- help kids to achieve learning targets, practise skills etc. whatever they ask you, this is the kind of stuff they're looking for so get it in your answers!
It's not about having all the experience, it's about being thoughtful and articulate and showing you've got potential.
Let me know how you'll get on- you sound a cracking candidate!
Thank you for your kind words. Your advice is so helpful!
If they ask what your biggest weakness is, say honesty. When they say they don't think that's a weakness, tell them you don't give a shit what they think.
Good luck, marking place as I have applied for similar roles under similar circumstances
Derbydolly - I thought I would let you know that I got the job and they gave me such lovely feedback from my interview that I felt on top of the world afterwards! I start in Sept, and am very excited. It is a really lovely school too. Thanks for your help!
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