How to interview a preschool teaching assistant

Updated July 20, 2017

Interviewing for the position of preschool teacher assistant is an essential part of determining if an applicant possesses the personal and professional characteristics that will best match your preschool programme. Factors such as experience, education, teaching philosophies, and leadership and communication skills are just a few of the areas that should be explored in the interview process before choosing the best candidate to fill the position.

The interview process

Begin the interview by asking a series of questions relating to the applicant's personal qualities. Ask the applicant to tell you about herself, educational background, what brought her to the field of early childhood education and her experiences working with young children. Take notes so you can review the applicant's answers after the interview.

Ask questions that explore the applicant's teaching philosophies and practices. Answers to questions regarding teaching strategies, developmentally appropriate activities, lesson planning and curriculum are important indicators of the applicant's compatibility with your programme. Ask the applicant for an example of an activity, such as art or science, that she would use in the classroom.

Gain an understanding of the applicant's discipline philosophies by asking how she would handle a difficult situation in the classroom. For example, ask how she would respond to two children who are fighting over a toy.

Discuss the importance of teamwork and communication in and out of the classroom. Ask the applicant to describe how teamwork helps a classroom run smoothly. Ask her to describe how she would handle a difficult situation with a co-worker or parent.

Find out about the applicant's leadership qualities. Ask if she would be comfortable assuming the duties of the lead teacher if needed and to give an example of a time when she had to step into a leadership role in the classroom.

To gain a clear understanding of the candidate's commitment to your school and the field of early childhood education, inquire about the applicant's plans for the future by asking what her short- and long-term goals are.

Give the applicant a copy of your programme's Preschool Teaching Assistant job description. This should list all of the responsibilities of the position so the applicant has a clear idea of your expectations. Be prepared to answer questions the applicant may have regarding hours, salary and benefits.

After the interview, review the applicant's answers. Take time to reflect on whether this candidate will best fit the needs of the preschool.

Things You'll Need

  • Preschool teacher assistant job description
  • Pad of paper
  • Pen
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About the Author

As an early childhood educator, Robin Littell has many years' experience writing informative articles, newsletters and curriculum tools for families and colleagues. She also just recently earned her master's degree in English from National University and is venturing into the field of freelance writing. Littell has written several published articles for eHow and Answerbag.