A paraprofessional is a specially trained worker who performs a variety of duties in modern-day professions though they are not usually out rightly qualified for the main profession. They mainly serve as aides or assistants in different professions. A good example is a health paraprofessional and an education paraprofessional. A paralegal is another example of a paraprofessional who helps lawyers work on cases but cannot practice law themselves. The focus would be on the education paraprofessional.
1. Why Are You Interested In This Role?
This interview question is designed to understand your desire and intent in taking this particular job. Briefly explain how prepared you are to assume these duties.
“As a child, my dream was to be a teacher. However, I could not muster the required grades to pursue a degree in teaching hence I took up a course in college to enable me to work as a teaching aide. I was able to excel in my college studies and obtained my first role as a teaching aide with Valentine’s nursery School. Honestly, I have gathered worthwhile experiences along the way. I always had an interest in educating and adding knowledge to children. It is my dream job.”
2. What Are The Roles Of A Paraprofessional?
The interviewer wants to test your understanding of this particular career, what it entails, and the responsibilities associated with this role. Explain clearly the duties and responsibilities of a paraprofessional.
“As a paraprofessional, I perform a number of duties in a school setup including, communicating with teachers and parents. I also support students in their day-to-day development including discipline, monitoring, and evaluation. I am also involved as a paraprofessional in the curriculum development process. I am also involved in the monitoring of student’s behavior and discipline. I also write progress reports as well as grade student’s assignments and homework.”
3. What Are The Qualities That A Paraprofessional Need To Be Successful?
The interviewer expects you to briefly detail the skills that are critical for a successful career as a paraprofessional. A detail of these skills and why they are necessary would be a good answer.
“The key skills a paraprofessional requires include excellent communication and interpersonal skills. This is because you are required to interact with teachers, parents, and students in a positive manner. Good knowledge of classroom subjects is vital in order to offer substantial assistance to students with their classwork. Finally, being courteous to children is essential since it creates affection towards you amongst the kids. Time consciousness is also an essential quality of any paraprofessional since the teacher ought to lead by example and punctuality is necessary. The other key quality is being submissive and letting the lead teacher be in control of the class to prevent any misunderstanding.”
4. What Major Challenges Did You Face In Your Last Role? How Did You Manage Them?
Challenges are an aspect of any profession and are to be dealt with amicably since most require solving. Highlight any challenging situations that you faced in your role and how you were able to overcome them.
“In my last role, there was a stretch of time where the lead teacher took compassionate leave and I had to step in as no replacement was in line. It was difficult but due to coordination with my general education teachers, I was ready and prepared with the week’s lessons and activities. Therefore, the challenge was overcome however stressful it was.”
5. Describe Your Daily Routine As A Paraprofessional.
As a paraprofessional, you ought to understand the daily routines undertaken in this role. A brief on your daily work schedule and obtaining additional information from other paraprofessionals could prove handy.
“As a paraprofessional, I usually perform my duties in line with the plan and schedule we set with the lead teacher. In the morning, I normally make sure the teacher’s lesson plans and activity materials are ready for the day and organize any last-minute papers the lead teacher may need. During the day my role is to maintain a co-teaching approach with the lead teacher for the students’ benefit”
6. Describe Briefly About Your Experience
This question helps interviewers understand how you feel about your job and also your qualifications and professional credentials. List your job experiences including professional and academic qualifications.
“I hold a high school diploma from St. James high school and completed my post-secondary education at Raeburn where I attained 48 credits. I sat for my ParaPro assessments and passed with flying colors. I got my first job as a teaching aide at blubbery school where I mainly assisted with the English language and mathematics. It is during my time here that I heard of an opening in your institution and applied for the job.”
7. What Kind Of Mindset And Strategies Is Required For This Role?
The interviewer seeks to understand in detail your approach to teaching and the techniques you mostly employ to obtain desired results. Clearly outline what you believe is the best approach and mentality to derive maximum output from the students.
“As a Para educator my main tool is patience since I am required to help class teachers enforce rules and students do not always respond well to this. Patience is also required when relaying information to students as you may be required to repeat it more than once. The other key tool is communication, whereas a Para educator should a good listener as well as conveying information clearly. Another strategy I utilize mostly is keen observation to ensure students don’t engage in illegal activities.”
8. What Is The Biggest Challenge You Foresee On This Job?
The interviewer asks this question to test if the respondent understands the challenges associated with this role and how they manage to get along with them. Candidly explain the difficulties associated with the job and how you get along with them.
“I have come across a number of challenges in the job, but the biggest one has been the issue of parent involvement and follows up on their child performance and behavior. Some parents are difficult to work with and always consider the poor performance of their children is down to their teachers only. They don’t understand that it’s phenomenon that involves coordination between teachers and parents to provide guidance to students. The other challenge is ensuring that I act as a sub and not get in the way of the lead teacher. This can be achieved by taking guidance from the lead teacher and accepting the roles designated to me in class.”
9. How Do You Stay Motivated In Your Job?
Staying motivated is important in this role as dealing with students can really be frustrating. Briefly highlight the elements in your role that ensure you always stay motivated.
“Staying motivated is key in my profession, hence to ensure this we set certain approaches such as teacher-student day outs to lift spirits. We also introduce certain aspects in our teaching schedule such as the use of technological devices as teaching materials to beat boredom. The other issue involves setting realistic targets and achieving them. The other cause of motivation is getting positive recommendations from the head teacher at the end of the academic year.”
10. Describe A Time You Failed In This Role And Role And The Lesson You Learnt?
Failure is usually disheartening but can also provide the springboard for improvement from the lessons learnt. Indicate a situation where you failed and the positives you took from this occurrence.
“As a professional failure is a major setback and unacceptable but how you bounce back from such situations is of key importance. I was once faced with parents who had little regard for their child’s progress. On numerous occasions, we summoned them for meetings to discuss the child’s progress but they never showed up citing a hectic work schedule. We had no option but to try and do our best, unfortunately, the child failed their examinations. I was deeply hurt and thought we should have taken more drastic actions against the parents before it was too late. In future, I pledged never to let such a scenario play out again.”
11. Why Do You Feel You Are The Most Suitable For This Role?
This is a common interview question and the interviewer seeks to determine what you feel are the key attributes that make you stand out from the rest of the candidates. A brief description of your key skills and any special attributes would be good enough.
“I possess significant skills that make me highly competitive in this field. I am attentive to detail and a keen listener. This has enabled me to address student issues even of a personal nature. My good communication skills enable students to grasp easily and communicate efficiently. My qualifications ensure that I teach efficiently and provide students with the necessary knowledge to ensure they excel in their studies. The interpersonal skills I have made it easier to get along with lead teachers in classes.
12. Share With Us Your Greatest Achievement.
The interviewer seeks to understand if the interviewee has been able to accomplish any milestones in their career that they consider a huge success. Briefly detail an achievement that stands out in your career.
“My greatest achievement came from working with students with low self-esteem. I’ve had a couple over the years who were too shy and timid and this affected their classroom interaction as well as performance. I’ve managed to assist a number over the years thanks to a teaching approach based on boosting student self-belief and confidence, through showing them compassion and lead roles in-class activities hence yielding positive outcomes.”
13. What Is Your Expected Salary?
The interviewer in this regard is trying to gauge the interviewee’s expected remuneration from this role. However different institutions offer different pay based on a number of factors, thus this is a very tricky question and must be answered with caution. A good reply will be not to quote an exact figure.
“I have not given much thought to this since my main focus is on securing the job. However, I believe a package in line with the current market standards is expected.”
14. How Do You Relate To Young Children In Class To Ensure They Stay Keen And Motivated?
This question seeks to understand the methods you employ with young children who as we understand often have low levels of concentration and can easily get bored. Briefly describe the techniques you utilize on these young ones.
“I experience a lot of issues with young children since they are prone to disruptions. I came up with a solution with my lead teacher to employ charts and incorporate singing in their studies which keeps them focused and involved at all times. The use of electronic gadgets on the other hand has had a positive impact in improving student focus as they really appreciate these gadgets.”
15. How Do You Approach Cooperation And Team Work In You Role?
The interviewer is seeking to understand whether you prefer being involved with others and how well you coordinate activities with your fellow workers. Describe if you prefer teamwork or working as an individual and the reasons behind it.
“As a professional, it is important that I work as a team since we serve as assistants to lead teachers. We as a team come up with schedules and plan lessons together to ensure efficiency and obtaining the maximum possible output. Cooperation is also key with parents in order to properly assess a student’s progress and behavior both in school and at home.”
16. What Are Your Professional Values?
Here the interviewer is keen to understand your perception not only of this role but professionalism as a whole. Providing an overview of professionalism from your point of view is good enough.
“I have always sought to upheld integrity in my line of work and I believe it is a key part of any profession. Staying focused and hardworking is another integral part in the life of any profession. Importantly as a teaching aide I stand as a role model to my students and therefore whatever I do should have a positive impact on the children”
17. What Do You Consider Your Weaknesses?
Every individual carries a weak spot, therefore the interviewer is seeking to understand from the interviewee what they consider their weaknesses and how they counter these weaknesses. Highlight any of your shortcomings and how you get along with them.
“I have always had a weak spot when it comes to meting out punishment to students. This has been taken advantage of by some unruly children previously but over time I have toughened up and have been able to act tough, though it is merely a façade it has served me well on numerous occasions.”
18. Do you Plan To Earn Your Teaching Degree?
The Interviewer is wittingly trying to gauge your ambition. It is expected in your role to always harbor ambitions of working as a full-time teacher at some point. A candid answer is expected in this instance.
“I have pondered about this issue for a couple of years and always yearned to pursue my education degree whenever the circumstances prove suitable. A major setback has been the financial outlay required to enroll at the university but with savings, I believe this can be solved. Therefore, yes I plan to earn my teaching degree in the near future.”
19. Have You Ever Had A Disagreement With A Lead Teacher And How Was It Resolved?
Disagreements are a common occurrence in work areas, however, the process of resolving these rifts is what is key in ensuring a healthy working environment. Here the interviewer seeks to understand how you react to indifference and the measures you took to solve these issues.
“I once differed with the lead teacher on the criteria to be met for a student to be eligible for an individualized learning plan. After a couple of discussions, we all agreed that it should be based upon performance from a set of assessments. Key to this was the ability to deliberate on these issues and come up with solutions.”
20. What Are Your Hobbies?
This is a very common question as the interviewer seeks to understand what you cherish doing in your free time. A brief explanation of your hobbies is a desirable response.
“I love swimming and surfing in my free time as I get to exercise my muscles and clear up my mind after a stressful work schedule. On occasion, I visit the park and enjoy that beautiful scenery. Lastly, I am a huge fan of country and pop music.”
These are just some of the questions expected, however their other questions that are not on this list. It is therefore recommended that you prepare extensively for your interview to boost your confidence. This is through consulting with other individuals on the role and also reading materials related to this particular role.