How did you cope with stress at school?


Interviewers do not want to hear your philosophy of dealing with pressure. They want to hear about the stress you experienced.

Let’s face it. School can be a stressful environment (whether it is or not depends largely on the management and administration). To work with people can be stressful, and to work with children can even become nerve racking. However,  a good applicant for assistant principal position should have an ability to deal with the pressure.


Do not hesitate to admit the pressure

We are human beings. While some of us may avoid stressful situations most of the time, it is impossible to avoid them completely, especially at school. You should admit that you experienced pressure in the past. What is more, you can even mention the pressure the students felt, and how you helped them to deal with it. To the most stressful days and situations belong:

  • First day at school, or other special days (stressful for everyone)
  • Introducing new teacher to students  (stressful for teacher)
  • Giving a test or an important exam (stressful for students)
  • Solving a conflict, or a difficult situation between student and teacher (stressful for assistant principal)
  • Giving a speech in front of other people (stressful for assistant principal)

Man is experiencing headache, as a result of pressure. He's a young teacher and struggles in the job. The pain is illustrated by his painfull grimace

Ability to handle the pressure

A leading figure at school, you should cope with the pressure better than the others. Try to talk about the situation when you successfully coped with pressure, or managed to eventually overcome the stress you felt, or helped other people to overcome the stress they felt. Let me help you with a few sample answers.

I often had to speak in front of a big group of people and I did not feel good about that. However, I always spent a lot of time preparing, and I practiced my speech a couple of times beforehand, which helped me to get rid of stress. Most of the time I delivered a good speech at the end.

As a teacher I had to cope with the stress the students felt, especially before an important exam. I always tried to motivate and encourage them. I also tried to ease the situation with a joke, or with a short story, to help them to relax.

To work with children from different social groups was stressful. However, I found a way to understand each group and to talk to them in their own language, which helped me tremendously to cope with expectations.

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