Published 29th October 2015
While you may feel a bit intimidated by the thought of teaching your first class, don’t forget that you have to get through the interview first! Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, but if you do your research and know what to expect, you’ll be prepared to deal with them as best as you can. There are a few things that you can do for any TEFL interview situation that you may encounter, so if you deal with these steps you should be fine.
Firstly, do your research. Just as with any other job interview, look up the school or the company beforehand. This will let you find out the kind of employer you will be working for and perhaps give you an idea of what they expect in a teacher. This should also bring up a few questions that you can ask at the end of the interview regarding working conditions, visa concerns and accommodation issues, among other things.
In fact, don’t be shy to ask questions. If you have done your homework and are able to come up with some relevant and appropriate questions, the interviewer will appreciate the fact that you have spent some time preparing for the interview. Asking good questions also shows that you know what you are doing. Good questions that can be asked in any interview (if they haven’t given you the information already) are:
- How big are the classes?
- How many contact hours do I teach?
- What course books are used?
- What is expected of me outside of contact hours?
- How many foreign teachers are employed?
- What is included in the contract?
During the interview there are certain questions that you can expect them to ask you too. They will undoubtedly ask about your teaching experience so be sure to have that at hand during the interview. They don’t need to know every detail of every job as long as you are able to talk about the different kinds of students you’ve had and the different teaching situations. For each teaching position you have held, there will be something that sets it apart from other teaching posts, and this is what will show the diversity of your experience.
If you don’t yet have any formal teaching experience, think about other work you may have done which incorporated teaching in some way, or working with children or teens. Even volunteering is valid experience. Don’t forget about the teaching practicals you may have done during your TEFL course – they provide you with genuine classroom practice.
Finally, prepare yourself for the idea that you might need to give a demonstration lesson. This is the worst case scenario as it is never easy to come up with a lesson under pressure, but it has been known to happen. They may let you know about it before the interview to give you time to prepare, but sometimes you won’t get that luxury. At the very least, they will come up with some hypothetical classroom situations and you will be asked how you would deal with them or how you would teach a certain structure or language point.
So if you are looking for a TEFL job, don’t freak out when you get an interview. Prepare yourself beforehand and give it some thought and you’ll be fine. And remember: every failed interview is practice for the next one!