How Did You Solve Conflicts at School?


Principal is sad after having a conflict

Conflicts break out everywhere. And it happens quite often at schools. Whether we talk about a conflict of two students, or a conflict between a teacher and a student, it’s not easy to solve the situation.

A good candidate for this job, however, should deal with both scenarios.

Stay on the side of the truth

Children are very sensitive. If you punish someone for something they did not do, it will create problems for you. What’s more, if there’s a conflict and you decide it without thinking and talking to both conflicting parties, you can lose the trust of the students. It’s tough to gain it back once you lost it. . . .

That’s why you should always approach conflicts carefully, and individually. Try to listen to both parties and just then decide. Many assistant principals have the tendency to say that they would always stand on the side of a teacher. However, I would not suggest this answer. Teachers also make mistakes, they’re human.

Standard way of solving conflicts

Both students and teachers should know what to expect from you. That’s why you should have some standards, the way you punish people, the way you solve the conflict. If you solved situation “A” in some way, you should solve the same situation in the same way every time. You should be predictable, in a good sense of word.

Most importantly, do not forget that this is a behavioral question. You should speak about your past experience, and not about “what you would do” in a conflict situation.

Try to think about conflicts you solved successfully. You should prepare your answer in advance. If you want to gain some extra points, you can even speak about the conflict you failed to solve, emphasizing the lessons you learned in that situation, and how failing helped you to become a better teacher/assistant principal.

Do not forget on your own conflicts

Working as an assistant principal, or a teacher, you can also get involved in a conflict with a student, or with one of your colleagues. If you have this experience, feel free to talk about it in the interview.

To conclude it, you should always stress that you try to avoid conflicts. But when they break out, you look at it from all perspectives and try to solve them responsibly.

If you like our analysis of this question, you may consider checking my eBook, Assistant Principal Interview Guide, in which you’ll find similar analysis and answers to more than twenty most common interview questions for assistant principals.

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