Whether you’re an experienced English language teacher or are soon going to graduate from education studies at your university, you no doubt get a little (or a lot!) nervous about applying for new jobs and trying to land the position of your dreams.
There are many things you can do to make the process go more smoothly, such as create an excellent cover letter and CV, be proactive and network with recruiters and business owners and showcase your expertise online, through social media sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. However, make sure you also commit yourself to getting better in interviews as this is a vital component to landing jobs.
While interviews are important in all industries, EFL teachers must particularly excel in face-to-face meetings to show they have the skills to interact with students in a positive and effective way. To ensure you stay calm and can answer each question with ease, practice common interview questions before the big day. Read on for some key queries you might get in your next interview and some tips for answering them well.
What Would You Like to Tell Us About Yourself?
One of the most common interview questions to prepare for is a general one. “What would you like to tell us about yourself?” is a query that typically arises early in an interview and is designed to see how you talk about yourself, your skills and experience. It sounds deceptively simple, but because of its general nature, many people can get tripped up by this question and are not sure where to start or what information to include.
Remember that this question is a good one because it provides you with the opportunity to sell yourself to the people you’re meeting with. Don’t be too modest or brief here; take the chance to shine by bringing up all those things you think will make you the best fit for the role and help you stand out from your competition. Talk about the contribution you would make and the type of spirit you would bring to the organization.
It pays to mention all the teaching qualifications you have, too. If you’ve just completed a course, like one of the great TESOL master’s programs online that provide you with a higher degree, don’t just mention it in passing. Instead, talk about any particular aspects of your qualification that link to the job at hand and how what you learned can help you to do the role well.
There might be things from either the theory or practical component of your studies that you can chat about. In addition, if you’ve done any specialized training over the years, such as teaching English to students with disabilities or training that you’ve completed overseas etc., this is the time to talk about it.
To answer this question effectively, contribute information about the personal strengths, skills and experience you have that mean you will be able to hit the ground running if you get the job — for example, abilities such as organization, time-management, problem solving, creativity and empathy; and experience such as interacting with people from all sorts of backgrounds and using relevant computer programs.
This is also the time where you might want to mention some of your best strengths as an EFL teacher, ways you have overcome challenges in the past in your career and some of the places you have travelled to over the years, particularly if this involved working as an English teacher.
Why This Role?
In most interviews you’ll be asked at some point about why you want the particular role and/or why you hope to work for the organization offering it. Interviewers ask this question because they want to determine if you will be a good fit for the culture of their educational facility as well as a good fit for the job itself. They are also looking to find out if you have completed research into what’s involved in the position.
To demonstrate this in your meeting, talk about the organization’s point or points of difference. What is it that makes this school or other facility stand out to you and make you want to work there? Why do you think you would fit in easily and be able to handle the job with ease?
Does the school attract the kind of students you have worked with in the past or use particular teaching methods in which you are highly experienced? Perhaps it boasts a certain religious or cultural aspect that aligns well with your beliefs and background? Be as specific as possible here to show people you have thought about the role and feel connected to it in some way.
To give yourself the best chance of success, it pays to speak with past teachers, students, or parents of students at the organization to learn about the ins and outs of how it operates. You may also be able to meet current staff members and pick their brains. The more you understand how the educational provider works, and its particular methods, facilities, values, mission and other factors, the more you will be able to answer this question effectively in your interview.
What Would a Typical Teaching Session or Day Be Like?
When it comes to teaching positions, hiring managers usually like to understand how job candidates would go about their roles if chosen. As such, you’ll probably be asked to explain what a typical teaching session or day looks like in your classroom.
When answering this question, think about what the focus and values of the school are and how you can be sure your lesson plans fit in with this. Mention how you might set up your classroom and how you will handle activities, discussions, visual displays, student behavior and different types of learning styles and levels of students.
Depending on the age you teach, you might also want to talk about how you would communicate with parents or other carers. You could bring up, too, particular strategies that you have picked up over the years from top educators and how you bring these approaches into your lessons.
You’ve done the hard work; you’ve earned your credentials to be an EFL teacher. Now, you need to seal the deal in the applications process. By knowing what to expect in interviews, you can speed up the process of finding your dream job and get down to business of teaching students English.