Job interviews can be nerve-racking experiences, but they don't have to be! The best way to reduce your nerves and make sure that you nail the interview is by being well prepared. Read on to find a list of the most likely interview questions for ESL/TEFL positions and how to answer them correctly.
How has your education and/or experience helped to prepare you for this position?
Think about the skills necessary to be a good teacher and highlight how your education/experience has helped to improve those skills. If you have taken a teaching course, explain in detail what the course has helped you to understand and how you are able to apply it to the classroom.
How would you deal with a badly behaved child?
Every teacher has their own way of dealing with disobedience in the classroom. Draw on your experience and explain the most effective ways that you have managed badly behaving children. Highlight the fact that every child is different, so no single approach will be effective for everyone. You should mention the importance of finding the root of their behavior and/or controlling the class from the beginning to reduce the need to punish your students.
What is your greatest strength (as a teacher)?
Your interviewer could ask you about your greatest strength in general or your greatest strength as a teacher. Regardless, you should pick a strength that is related to teaching (e.g. time management) and explain why that particular strength will help you to be a better teacher. Make sure to be honest with this.
What do you know about (city/country)?
Show the school/recruiter that you are serious about the job by reading up on the country and city that the position is in. Impress them with some facts about the city and show that you know something about the school that you could be teaching in.
Why are you interested in teaching in (city/country)?
As above, explain to the interviewer why you would like to live there and what about the place excites you personally and professionally. Good places to look include Wikipedia and travel websites. Don't talk too much about wanting to travel as they might think that you are not serious about teaching.
Why did you leave your last job?
Make sure you are honest in your answer but try not to mention anything that could cause your new employer to worry. Explain that you have learned from your past experiences and any issues that you might have had before will no longer be a problem for you or your new employer.
What are the most important qualities of an ESL/EFL teacher?
There is a myriad of qualities to choose from. A few examples include communication skills, patience, sense of humor, time management, caring, and creativity. Explain why these qualities are important in the classroom.
What do you expect to be the biggest challenge you face as a foreign teacher abroad?
Be honest and tell the interviewer about the thing you expect to find most challenging about the position. You should try to put a positive spin on your answer by explaining what you will do to tackle the problem and why it will make you a better teacher because of it.
How do you foster good student-teacher relationships in your classes?
Remember that focusing on the student is vital. Explain that your students will appreciate you going above and beyond what the textbook offers to them. Being consistent and supportive will nurture your student-teacher relationships regardless of the age or goals of the students. You could tell the interviewer that if the students can tell that you genuinely want to see them succeed, they will try their best in turn.
Tell me how you have motivated a class/student to excel at a task/project. What did you do to inspire them?
This is dependent on experience. Explain what exactly you did to improve your student's performance and what the result of that was. If you don't have any teaching experience, you could explain how a teacher motivated you to do well and how you can apply that to your own teaching philosophy.
What is your favorite age range to teach? Why?
Explain what it is about your chosen age range that excites you as a teacher. Why do you feel that this particular age range is more fulfilling to teach? Don't forget to mention that you are not against teaching other age ranges, just that this one, in particular, is your favorite.
How would your previous professors/supervisors describe you?
Try to think about the qualities that make a good teacher and describe them relative to your own personality. For example, you might say that they'd describe you as a caring person, or that you are skilled at handling a wide variety of problems and situations.
What is your biggest concern about moving to and working in (country)?
This will vary depending on the teacher and the location. Make sure to explain that although you might have some concerns, you have thought of ways that you can overcome these challenges and enjoy the time you spend there.
What do you hope to gain from your first/next year of teaching?
This is another personal question that depends on your own motivation. Remember that they are probably not interested in your love of travel or exotic food. The interviewer wants to hear how you aim to develop yourself professionally and what skills you want to improve.
What areas of yourself do you want to improve? / What is your biggest weakness?
This is another question you will need to answer honestly. Again, frame the answer in a positive light. Highlight the steps you have taken to improve your weaknesses and how you expect to overcome them in your new teaching position.
Tell me how you would teach a class about (language/grammar point).
Explain the different aspects needed to teach the specific language point. Examples include grammar, pronunciation, speaking, and motivation tactics.
What experience do you have to help you excel in this position?
Explain in detail any experience that you have that makes you a great teacher. Examples include making lesson plans, classroom management, time management, leadership and many others. If you don't have any classroom experience, you can draw from experiences from other jobs or from your education.
Do you have any questions?
This is your opportunity to find out if this position is the perfect fit for you! Make sure to ask about teaching resources, school/classroom size, testing, control of the curriculum, working environment, and what responsibilities you will have. You could also ask about what professional development opportunities are available and how you can best prepare for the job.
When preparing for an interview, it would be a good idea to have a mini lesson prepared, just in case they ask for one. If you are having a Skype interview, make sure that your Internet connection, audio, and video are all working well.
How do you prepare for job interviews? Tell us in the comments below!