So the date for your teach abroad interview is set - it’s time to make your mark!
While competition can be fierce, there’s no need to stress. Here are a few of my tried-and-tested tips to make sure that you stand out from the crowd during your teaching job interview.
Psst: Before you can ace your interview, you actually have to get the interview.
Check out these posts for tips on getting your application in top shape:
1) Research the school and position you're applying for.
This doesn’t mean that you need to be a subject matter expert, but a familiarity with the hiring school or program will smooth out the process. Check out the school website or profile on Teach Away, as well as any social media accounts they might have.
This will give you a good idea of their mission and values, which will help you figure out the type of teacher they’re looking for. It will also help you narrow down the themes you might be asked about - popular topics you might be asked include a lesson plan, how you communicate with parents, your classroom management style, are all likely to crop up over the course of your interview.
You can also avoid embarrassment by looking up how to pronounce the country name ahead of time. Knowing which continent is on is also a must!
Also know what topics to avoid - the last thing you want is to unwittingly offend your interviewer.
For example: Discussing a Christmas lesson would be inappropriate for a school in the Middle East.
2) Talk about what you do, not what you’ve studied.
What makes your class your class? It’s easy to rattle off some education buzzwords, but being able to confidently and concretely explain how you use those practices in your classroom is interview gold.
Expect teacher interview questions that explore your experience with classroom management and differentiated instruction as well ESL and subject-specific teaching strategies and be ready to answer confidently, drawing on specific examples.
3) Tell brief, but personal, anecdotes.
It’s worth keeping a mental folder full of past anecdotes and teaching experiences that show your strengths as an educator.
Don’t be afraid to make these personal. Share something you’re proud of or a funny (but appropriate) classroom incident, to stand out in the interviewer’s mind and let them get to know you.
While they want to get to know your teaching history, they also want to get to know you as a person. You might get asked to tell them more about a teacher who personally inspired you or what made you decide to become a teacher in the first place.
Not only is this an opportunity for you to shine - emphasizing your shared passion for education will also also forge a stronger connection with the interviewer on the other side of the table.
4) Don’t shy away from a little self-reflection.
There’s nothing wrong with admitting you don’t have experience in a certain area, especially if you can logically follow up with why it wouldn’t hold you back. Turn that negative into a positive!
If you get thrown by a question, it’s perfectly fine to ask for a moment to consider your answer. And if you find yourself really stuck, be honest rather than try to ramble your way through an answer.
Speaking of rambling...
5) More isn’t always better.
It’s a good idea to practice some self-editing before your interview.
Succinct and concise answers are easier for an interviewer to process. You’ll want to tie your answers back to your skills and accomplishments by providing examples of results you’ve achieved in the classroom.
Try to limit answers to only a few sentences, though - unless you are prompted for more, or the topic is more involved.
6) Be willing to accept feedback.
As teach abroad recruiters, we want our applicants to succeed and will work with you to help your chances.
Hiring schools abroad are looking for best fit and want to be sure that they hire the candidates most likely to succeed and stay at their school for the longer term.
If you’ve followed these job interview tips, you’re in great shape to nail your next interview and get that dream teaching job offer.
If you receive coaching or notes on your responses from us before the interview, it is not meant as personal criticism of you as an educator, but rather an opportunity for you to refine your application.
This might seem like a lot to absorb, but that’s what practice interviews are for. Sit down with a trusted friend or colleague and work through the above tips.
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Try not to memorize your answers, but get comfortable speaking candidly - your interviews might try to throw you curveballs to see how you react. Wowing them with your knowledge and poise will get you that much closer to your dream teaching adventure abroad. Best of luck with your application!