35 Interview Questions for Non-Professionals (With Example Answers)
A paraprofessional is a teacher for students with special needs who works with a lead teacher to help students with special needs who are in a classroom with other students. When you go in for an interview to be a paraprofessional, employers will look at how you plan and teach, how you handle the classroom, and how well you get along with others. You might want to practice your answers before your interview if you want to make a good impression and do well. This article goes over 35 interview questions for paraprofessionals and gives you some sample answers to help you get ready for your interview. Questions for Non-Professionals
Be ready to talk about your interests, goals, skills, and general professional traits at the start of the interview. This helps the interviewer learn more about you and see if you would fit in with the culture of their school. Here are some examples of common types of questions:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you want to work at one of our schools?
- What do you know about the special needs program we have?
- How did you find out about the job?
- Why do you think you should work at our school?
- What do you think are your best qualities?
- What is a weakness you are trying to improve?
- How do you work with other people?
- As a worker, what do you believe in?
- What are your plans?
Questions about your past and present
Schools want to know about your experience as a teacher, your credentials, and any time you helped lead teachers in a class for students with special needs. Here are some things that might happen at your interview:
- How far away was your school?
- Do you want a degree so you can teach?
- What are your licenses?
- How do you take care of things in class?
- Can you tell me how you use strategies for differentiating between students with different needs?
- What were some things you helped your supervising teacher with at your last job?
- How do you help ESE teachers put their teaching plans into action?
- Have you ever disagreed with a lead teacher about how to teach? How did you make it better?
- Do you know how to work with people who specialize in ABA?
- What kinds of tests have you given to students before?
The person interviewing you will probably ask you detailed questions to find out how you do at work, how you handle certain classroom situations, and if you can do the job. Look at the sample questions below to get an idea of what to expect:
- How can you tell the difference between a behavior that is planned and one that is caused by a disability?
- How do you handle students with disabilities who behave badly?
- Can you tell me about a time when you came up with a plan or solution that helped your students?
- What do you do so that your students feel comfortable talking to you?
- Have you ever worked with students who talked to each other through devices?
- How would you start a conversation with a quiet student?
- Can you tell me how teaching kids with learning disorders is different from teaching kids with behavioral disorders?
- What have you done to help teachers figure out how to test and grade kids with special needs?
- How can a student get a plan for his or her own learning? What should they do?
- How do you set up progress monitoring?
Interview questions and answers for a job as a paraprofessional
The following paraprofessional interview questions and sample answers will help you get ready for your interview so you can make a good impression:
How do you make sure you can communicate well with parents and families?
Employers want to know how you plan to get to know your students’ families and make sure everyone knows what’s going on at school and in your class. Use your answer to show off your communication skills by giving examples of how you talk to parents and guardians, answer questions, set up meetings, and create a sense of community with students and their families.
Example: “I always use more than one way to talk to people, like emails and our school’s mobile app. I sometimes call parents and families on the phone, especially when I need to tell a parent something quickly. I also send a weekly newsletter home with each student every Monday to keep parents and families informed about what’s going on in the classroom.
I also put links in our communication app that parents can use to find online documents and resources. Since one of my values is building community between schools and families, I always make sure that students, their families, and teachers and staff can talk freely with each other.”
How would you handle a parent or family member of a student who wanted to talk to you while you were out in public about a problem in the classroom?
This question can help the interviewer figure out how you keep your professional behavior and ethics in check when you are out in public. Give an example of a time when you were professional, how you communicated well, and how you helped solve a problem.
Example: “At my last job, I went shopping on a weekend to get some last-minute classroom supplies. I ran into a student and their family while I was there. One parent worried about a few things and asked questions right away about upcoming tests. I stayed calm and friendly and told the parent that I would be happy to meet with them and our lead teacher the next morning to talk about their worries and answer their questions. This told the family that I was happy to help during school hours, but I wouldn’t tell them anything about tests.”
How do you help teachers reach their goals for students with special needs and for students in regular classes?
The interviewer might ask you this kind of question to find out how you deal with the needs of students with disabilities who are in classrooms with other students. Give some examples of how you worked with general education teachers and special education teachers to help them combine different learning goals and assessment methods to help students in both types of classes do well.
Example: “Some of the general education teachers at my last school set learning goals that didn’t work for some of the special needs students who were in their classes. My lead teacher often had to change our learning goals to match what general education teachers were doing in their classes. This took time away from planning activities with fabric, touch, and other senses.
To solve this problem and create a better balance between general education goals and special education goals, my lead teacher and I met with general education teachers to talk about ways to combine our sensory-based approaches to achieving modified learning goals. This integration led to better results and bigger gains in general education classrooms, but only a little bit more engagement among special education students.”
What do you do when your lead teacher isn’t there to help substitute teachers take care of the special needs classroom?
Employers want to know that you could take over as the lead teacher in an emergency and help substitute teachers who may not have experience in a classroom with special needs. Give examples of how you make sure that substitute teachers can use classroom resources, talk to other teachers and staff, and use management techniques.
Example: “If the main teacher isn’t there, I do a few things to make sure the sub has everything they need to interact with the students and make learning fun. Most mornings, I make sure that the teacher’s lesson plans and activities are ready for the day. I also get together any important school forms or attendance sheets that the sub might need at the last minute.
When the sub comes, I show them around quickly so they can find the supplies and other important things. During the day, I like to have substitute teachers co-teach with me to show the students who is in charge and to keep our regular classroom structure.”
Can you tell me about a time when there was no one else to be the lead teacher and you had to? How did you handle the situation?
The person who is interviewing you might want to know how you deal with stress and how you lead in an emergency. Use a real-world example to show that you can run a classroom for students with special needs on your own, that you know how to run a classroom, and that you can solve problems.
Example: “I worked with a lead teacher last year who had a baby in the middle of the school year. We had just started class the day she went into labor, so my principal couldn’t find a replacement in time. I went ahead and took over for my lead teacher, and I worked with my students’ general education teachers to make plans for emergency subs.
Even though it was stressful, my lead teacher, general education teachers, and I worked as a team, so I was ready for the day’s lessons and activities. The seven students in my class’s general education teachers helped them change their schedules to make the class smaller. This made it easier for me to handle on my own.”