Posted in Odds and ends

Things you shouldn’t say in an interview for a TEFL job

Job interviews

Over the years, I’ve interviewed about 50 TEFL teachers. Some people walked through the door and I automatically knew they weren’t appropriate for the job: body odour, 3 hours late with no explanation, tattoos all over their face…..little things like that.

Other applicants seemed fairly normal and then made certain comments which convinced me not to employ them.

Here are some things you should never say in job interviews for TEFL positions.

I don’t like teaching grammar. I like my students to chat and play lots of games

Does this comment suggest a professional approach to teaching?

My favourite coursebook. Well, that would be Face2Head, no, I mean Facehead, wait, I meant to say Faceway, Cutting Head, Cutting Face, New English Face, way, head…..

Does this teacher have a memory ravaged by heavy drug use  or alcohol abuse?

How would I describe myself as a teacher? I like to be their friend, go out to bars with them, maybe date some of the cute ones. Ha ha, only joking! I don’t do that much now.

This teacher clearly has an ulterior motive!

Did you just say that?

Well, I don’t want to stay in teaching very long. Is it a problem if I sometimes miss classes or arrive late? I have a lot of interviews to go to. TEFL teaching’s not a proper job, is it?
This teacher will disappear very soon.

I believe in correcting every single tiny mistake my students make. It’s the only way they learn.

This teacher is going to scare students off.

Sometimes, I tell my students to sit cross-legged on the floor and close their eyes. Then, I put on some Bach and then I read them some of my poetry.

For every student who loves this approach, 10 others will go straight to the boss and complain.

I prefer to teach Beginners. Higher level students ask some really difficult questions.

This person has no idea about the difference between a noun and a verb.

I prefer to teach Advanced levels. Lower level classes are boring.

This person has no patience.

Most days, I show my students a movie. For homework, I get them to write reviews of the films. Then on Friday, I get them to vote for their favourite and we watch it again.

Do the students do anything else? Practise speaking or learn grammar for example.

Welcome to TEFL
Welcome to TEFL

WHAT KIND OF TEFL TEACHERS DO WELL IN JOB INTERVIEWS?

  • Trained teachers who can actually remember what they did on the TEFL course
  • New teachers are fine if they show they are willing to learn and develop their skills
  • Friendly and enthusiastic personalities
  • Professional teachers who will be reliable and flexible

If you enjoyed reading this blog, why not have a look at my new e-book: A Short Guide to TEFL by D P Gates. Available on Amazon (for Kindle) or Smashwords (many formats, including pdf).

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Author:

I'm a teacher trainer doing lots of different things in Granada, Spain and back in the UK. I've been a Course Director on Trinity TESOL programmes, worked as an EAP tutor at universities in the UK, spent a couple of years as a DoS at a wonderful school in London, and have also dabbled in online teaching, course creation, blogging and materials development.

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