The TEFL Job Hunt: Questions You Should Ask During Your Interview

You’ve got your TEFL certificate, you know where you want to be, and what you want to do,  so the time has come for the dreaded interview process. We’ve all had to go through it countless times, but it never feels any less stressful each time. It’s the make or break of it all. But while you freak out trying to figure out what makes you such an invaluable asset, it’s important to realize that the school has to be a good fit for you too. That’s why it’s important to ask questions! It shows that you’re interested in more than just clocking in and out for the paycheck, but that you know what you want from them. Here are some specific questions for your TEFL interview to take into consideration:
Know The Classroom Dynamics
  • What is the average class size?
  • What types of resources and teaching aids are available?
  • What textbooks does the district use?
  • What technology resources will be available to me in my classroom?
    What discipline procedures does the district use?
New Expectations: How The School Works
  • What type of anti-bullying measures are you taking in the school?
  • What do you think are the school’s greatest strengths?
  • Do you feel that there are areas in your school that need improvement?
  • What are some of the goals you have and challenges you are facing for the school year?
  • May I have a tour of the school?
Administration Is The Real Boss
  • What administrative/other tasks are required outside of teaching hours?
  • Are teachers observed?
  • Do you have cameras in the halls or classrooms?
  • What are the prospects for future growth in this community and its schools?
  • How does the administration and teachers work together to respond to student needs?
  • As a new teacher, how will I be supported and evaluated?
Know Your Audience: The Students and The Parents
  • What is the student demographic at your school?
  • What percentage of them go on to college?
  • How would you describe the student population?
  • What types of activities do you have that promote parent-teacher-student interaction?
  • Do you find a lot of support coming from the community?
  • Do you have an active PTA group?
About the Actual Teaching Part: Curriculum
  • Is there a set curriculum?
  • Are there any required extracurricular activities?
  • What teaching methods do you use?
  • What kinds of materials are available to teachers?
  • Do teachers participate in curriculum review and change? How frequently does this happen?
Fellow Teachers and Staff
  • Does the school hold regular staff meetings?
  • Can you describe the teacher turnover at this school?
  • Have you had any conflicts or arguments with teachers?
  • How are conflicts handled?
  • May I contact a few teachers that currently work there?
A Day in the Life
  • How many hours will I be in the classroom per week?
  • What will my schedule be like?
  • How many classes will I be teaching?
  • Will there be any orientation or training period?
  • What are some of the qualities you need for this position?
The Elephant in the Room: Payment
  • What is the payment schedule?
  • What benefits does the company offer?
  • How much will I be getting paid?
  • How often are there raises?
  • How long is the contract you’re expecting?
The interview process is more than just a formal version of speed dating, where there’s a rapid-fire exchange of questions seeking compatibility. It’s an opportunity to engage in a meaningful conversation that will begin a new chapter of your life. As long as you remember that, then the nerves will fade away. Do you have any tips for interviews to share? Drop a few for us!

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