Ever wondered what you might be asked in a TEFL interview?

So you’ve got your shiny new TEFL Diploma and are looking forward to an exciting TEFL career. But what about that job interview? Here are a few examples of what to expect... 

The specifics of how an interview is conducted can, of course, vary greatly depending on the culture of the country or region, the ethos of the school, or even just the personality of the particular interviewer/s, but the vast majority of TEFL interviews will usually cover the following in one way or another:
  • Your past: qualifications, previous jobs and other relevant experience

  • Your present: current situation, motivations for teaching abroad, opinions and knowledge about current ESL issues/news

  • Your future: short, medium and long-term ambitions – not just professional, but also more personal, in terms of how long you envisage yourself living abroad, how you might deal with being away from friends and family etc.

  • There is also usually a practical section where, for example, you might be given a class scenario and asked how you would handle it ( e.g. motivating a new class or teaching a mixed ability class). You may also be expected to produce or analyse a lesson plan, or perhaps be asked to show how you would go about assessing whether a lesson has been successful or not.

Typical questions you may be asked:

1. Why do you want to teach English abroad? / in this school/city/country in particular?

2. What do you think are your strengths/weaknesses as a teacher? How would you motivate your students?

3. What do you think are the strengths/weaknesses of a teacher you had in the past? How has this influenced your own teaching?

4. What would you do in the first ten minutes of your first lesson with a new class?

5. What course books or materials have you used in the past?
    - What did you think of them?
    - Did you supplement/adapt them?

6. Have you ever taught a class of different abilities/age groups? An English for Specific Purposes (ESP) class - (eg. a financial English class)?
    - How did/would you deal with this?

7. Have you ever been in a class of different abilities? How did the teacher deal with this? What did you think of that way of handling it? 

8. Have you worked with people of a different culture to your own? What did you think of this?

9. How do you deal with deadlines? 

10. Questions about hobbies and interests (always try to relate these to how it helps your teaching – eg. performing music or drama can help with confidence and communication, reading can help with empathy and understanding alternative viewpoints etc).

Two key points:

  • Make sure you do your research about the job/school/country – not only will this boost your confidence, and make you seem more knowledgeable/enthusiastic, it will also help you judge from the interview whether the school right for you or not.

  • REMEMBER: Interviews are a two way process, and you should never be afraid to ask your own questions. When moving across the world to teach, you need to have confidence that the school is right for you, and just because you are offered a job does not mean that you should necessarily accept it.

Oh - and above all, relax...