Whether we talk about a conflict of two students, or about a conflict between a teacher and a student, addressing the situation is not easy. Interviewers try to understand your attitude to conflicts, and if you follow any standard way of addressing them.
Try to find the truth
Children are sensitive. If you punished someone for something they did not do, it would create a lot of problems for you. What is more, if there was a conflict and you decided the outcome without thinking and talking to both conflicting parties, you would lose the trust of the students. And it is not easy to gain it back once you have lost it.
Tell the interviewers that you approach conflicts individually, that you listen to both conflict parties and decide according to your best conscience. Many job candidates 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 are not impeccable.
Standard way of addressing conflicts
Both students and teachers should know what they can expect from you. That is why you should have a standard way of punishing people, solving conflicts, of rewarding people. You should be predictable, in a good meaning.
Do not forget that this is a behavioral interview question. You should speak about your past experience with conflicts, not about “what you would do” if you had to address a conflict.
Lessons you learned
You should prepare your answer in advance. If you want to stand out, you can even speak about the conflict you failed to solve, emphasizing the lessons you learned along the way, and how failing helped you to become a better teacher/assistant principal.
To conclude my analysis, I want to emphasize that you should always say that you try to avoid conflicts, and solve any eventual conflict in a responsible and unbiased manner.
Special tip: If you want to see sample answers to this question, as well as to all other tough interview questions, consider checking my Assistant Principal Interview Guide. One eBook is all you need to stand out in your interview, and get a job.
- Why do you think you are suitable to work with young people?
- Why do you think you can be a good assistant principal?