Top Paraprofessional Interview Questions and Answers

a picture of business professionals interviewing for a Paraprofessional role and conducting an interview

In an integrated classroom context, a paraprofessional is a special needs educator who collaborates with a lead teacher to assist special-needs pupils. If you're interviewing for a paraprofessional position, employers will examine your planning and teaching approaches, classroom management strategies, and interpersonal skills.

Consider preparing your responses ahead of time to increase your chances of establishing a good first impression and succeeding in your interview.

paraprofessional interview questions

Qualifying questions for paraprofessionals

Prepare to answer questions about your interests, ambitions, talents, and general professional attributes at the start of the interview, which will assist the interviewer get to know you and judge your fit for their school culture.

The following are some general questions to think about:

  • Tell me about your background.
  • Why are you interested in working for our district?
  • What are your impressions of our special needs program?
  • What are your classroom management techniques?
  • How did you hear about this employment opportunity?
  • What qualifications do you have to work at our school?
  • What do you think your most significant assets are?
  • What is a current flaw you're working on?
  • How do you go about collaborating with a group?
  • What are the values that you hold as a professional?
  • What are your objectives?

Background and experience questions

Employers want to hear about your teaching experience, qualifications, and expertise assisting lead teachers with special needs classroom management.

Here are some scenarios you can encounter during your interview:

  • What is your educational background?
  • Do you intend to pursue a teaching degree?
  • What credentials do you have?
  • How do you deal with classroom management?
  • Could you explain how you use differentiation methods for pupils with specific needs?
  • In your previous work, what were some of the things you assisted your supervising instructor with?
  • How do you assist ESE instructors in putting instructional concepts into practice?
  • Have you ever had a discussion over teaching techniques with a lead teacher? How did you come up with a solution?
  • Do you have any previous experience working with ABA therapists?
  • In previous capacities, what kind of tests have you given to students?

paraprofessional interview questions

In-depth questions

The interviewer will most likely ask detailed questions to assess your work performance, approaches to specific instructional methods, and capacity to meet employment needs. To obtain a sense of what to expect, consider the following sample questions:

  • How can you tell the difference between purposeful and disability-driven behavior?
  • How do you deal with pupils with impairments who exhibit problematic behaviors?
  • Can you tell me about an instance when you applied a plan or solution that helped students achieve better results?
  • What do you do to encourage your pupils to communicate openly?
  • Do you have any experience working with pupils who use communication devices?
  • What would you say to a nonverbal pupil to start a conversation?
  • Can you explain how you teach children with learning disabilities vs. children with behavioral disorders?
  • What have you done to assist classroom instructors in assessing and evaluating kids with special needs?
  • What requirements must students complete to get considered for an individualized learning plan?
  • How do you go about tracking your progress?

Interview questions and answers for paraprofessionals

The following paraprofessional interview questions and examples of responses can help you prepare for your interview and create a solid first impression:

How do you make sure you're communicating effectively with parents and families?

Employers are interested in learning how you intend to develop relationships with students' families and ensuring that everyone is informed about school and class events and activities.

Give instances of how you communicate with parents and guardians, answer questions, arrange conferences, and develop community with children and families in your answer to demonstrate your communication abilities.

Example

"I always utilize a variety of communication methods, including email and updates via our school's mobile app. I occasionally make personal phone calls to parents and families, especially if I need to provide a last-minute update to a parent.

Another way I keep parents and families informed about what's going on in the classroom is to send a weekly newsletter home with children every Monday.

In our communication app, I also add links to online papers and resources that parents may access.

Because one of my principles is to foster a sense of community between schools and families, I make every effort to ensure that kids and families may speak openly with teachers and staff."

How would you approach the scenario if you ran across parents or relatives of kids while out in public and wanted to express their worries or discuss a classroom issue?

This question can assist interviewers in understanding how you maintain professional behavior and adhere to professional ethics when out in public.

Describe a time when you showed professionalism, communicated well, and assisted in resolving an issue.

Example

"In my previous position, I went shopping for last-minute school materials one weekend and happened to run into a kid and their family. One parent was instantly concerned about various concerns and began asking questions about impending evaluations.

I maintained a cool and courteous demeanor and informed the parent that I would be pleased to meet with them and our lead teacher the following morning to address their concerns and answer their questions.

This informed the family that I was more than willing to assist during school hours while protecting the confidentiality of test results."

How do you support special education teachers' goals and general education teachers' goals for students in integrated learning settings?

The interviewer may ask this sort of question to learn how you balance the demands of children with disabilities in general education courses. Give instances of how you assisted special education and general education instructors in integrating diverse learning objectives and evaluation methodologies to balance variances between general and special education classrooms for students.

Example

"At my previous school, some general education teachers established learning objectives that were inappropriate for the kids with special needs in their classrooms. My lead teacher frequently changed our learning objectives to accommodate what general education instructors were doing in other courses, detracting from time spent preparing textile, sensory, and hands-on activities.

My lead teacher and I met with general education instructors to explore strategies for merging our sensory-based techniques to accomplish adapted learning objectives to overcome this challenge and better balance general education and special education objectives. In general education classrooms, this integration resulted in improved results and more significant gains, as well as minor increases in student participation in special education classes."

How do you assist replacement teachers in handling the special needs classroom when your primary teacher is absent?

Employers want to know that you can take over as the primary teacher in an emergency and help substitute teachers who may not have prior experience in a special education classroom. Give examples of how you make sure substitutes have access to materials, connect with other professors and staff, and use classroom management strategies.

Example

"In the case that the lead teacher is absent, I execute several activities to ensure that the substitute has all they need to engage kids and provide a pleasant learning environment. I usually make sure the teacher's lesson plans and activity materials are ready for the day in the morning and organize any last-minute paperwork the sub might need, such as attendance sheets and necessary school forms.

I give the substitute a brief tour of the classroom when they come, knowing where to find classroom materials and other requirements. During the day, I encourage substitutes to use a co-teaching strategy to provide temporary control for children while maintaining our usual classroom structure."

Can you recall a moment when you had to fill in for your lead instructor because there was no one else available? What strategy did you use to deal with the situation?

The interviewer may want to know how you deal with difficult situations and how you approach leadership tasks in an emergency. Use a real-life scenario that displays your capacity to run a special needs classroom on your own, demonstrates your classroom management skills, and demonstrates your problem-solving abilities.

Example

"Last school year, I worked with a lead teacher who gave birth in the middle of the school year. My principal couldn't locate a substitute in time for that day because we had just begun class the day she went into labor. I stepped in for my lead teacher and worked with the general education teachers of my pupils to create emergency sub plans.

Although it was difficult, I was already prepared for the day's teachings and activities thanks to the collaboration of my lead teacher, general education instructors, and myself. The public education teachers for the seven kids in my class helped reorganize their schedules so that I could handle on my own."

How do I prepare for a paraprofessional interview?

Here's how to prepare for a paraprofessional interview:

  • Explore the school and understand the community values.
  • Learn about the job through the job description.
  • Examine your soft skills and hard skills.
  • Perform mock interviews.

What are good questions to ask at the end of a paraprofessional interview?

  • How soon are you hiring for this role?
  • Is there anything about the community values I should be aware of?
  • Are there any standards of paraprofessionals that I should be mindful of?

Is my educational level appropriate for the job?

A high school diploma or an associate's degree is usually required for a paraprofessional role. However, make it clear that your concentration is on professional advancement.

How to answer, "Do you believe this work is difficult?"

The task of a paraprofessional is quite difficult. Every child is an individual. Every child's issue is distinct. It takes effort and research to determine the best path forward for a student.

What does the "para" in paraprofessional mean?

"Para" is a prefix that signifies "near." Indeed, according to the National Education Association (NEA), 91% of paraprofessionals interact closely with children to offer complete support in both academic and extracurricular activities.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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