TEFL Telephone Interviews

Interviewing Over the Telephone or Skype for that Job Teaching English Overseas

TEFL interviews are like interviews for just about any other type of job, except they aren’t!

Particularly if you are a beginning teacher, don’t expect trick grammar questions – or really difficult questions of any sort.

Usually, the employer is just trying to get a feel if you are a friendly and pleasant person. Both of these issues are important to the employer, who is typically a business person, running a school where it would be nice if the customers (students) like their teachers enough to keep signing up for more classes and earning him/her a profit.

Professional Interviews

It would be unusual to have what you might consider a really professional interview. I’ve had precisely two – in fifteen years. And I have interviewed a lot as I like to “fish” for jobs – and often apply for something if it sounds interesting to me even if I don’t have any interest in taking it.

The notions, mentioned above, of friendliness and pleasantness, are generally what interviewers are looking for. If you are applying for a job that requires some experience or training, then you might expect a simple grammar question – or a question about your teaching philosophy, teaching methods – or how to deal with a discipline problem. Of course, think about these things before the interview.

The Usual Interview

A typical interview almost doesn’t exist. So really, you probably can’t do much to prepare, except to put yourself in a good mood, smile a lot, dress appropriately – and go for it.

Odd Questions

Most teachers, at one time or another, have been asked such oddities as, “Do you like kimchee?” or “How do you feel about hitting your students?” Answer honestly – you might as well hit the issues before you get there!

Speak Clearly

One thing almost all interviews are looking for, is your ability to speak clearly and understandably. Do that purposefully during the interview. Don’t try to “WoW” them with your use of the language. You are probably already light years ahead of their English language skills. That’s why they want and need a teacher. They want to know that you can communicate well with their students.

Telephone Interviews

Telephone Interviews interviews are fairly common, for obvious reasons. Try to speak clearly – some connections won’t be good. Be polite if you can’t understand what is being asked (which will sometimes be the case!).

The Role of the Teacher in Society

Know that in many cultures the teacher is considered a surrogate parent and that even experienced teachers in some countries will tell you the most important thing about any teacher is that they “Love their students.” While this would seem an odd thing in the West, it is a bit refreshing really. There is a nice old-fashioned-ness about such thinking. From times before pedophilia became such a fear. Before a teacher needed two witnesses before talking to a student about a problem.

It’s okay to tell an interviewer that you enjoy teaching, enjoy students, and have a strong interest in their success. And, I hope you do!

TED’s Tips™ #1: Relax and enjoy yourself! Consider your interview the rough equivalent of meeting a new friend.

The BEST EFL Teaching Jobs in China: Government Colleges, Universities and Secondary Schools offer the most reliable and worry-free jobs in China. Click on the Link if you would like to Teach English in China

How do I Find my First TEFL Job?

Landing that First Job Teaching English Overseas

The TEFL Job Search

This is, for me, the fun part. You’ll find hunting for a job teaching English overseas much less humiliating that the job hunt back home. In fact, not humiliating at all.

Schools and companies overseas actually NEED and WANT you! WoW! Kind of a nice self-esteem thing . . . and the first dramatic change that this life can bring to you.

This is a short page as I want you to get to work on this dream of yours – that can be a reality in just a few weeks!

Now that you have made the decision, I will allow myself, just for a brief moment, to be a salesman for the TEFL Career. Preaching to the choir, so to speak.

A Short Personal Story

My wife and I sometimes look at each other and say, “Would you ever have imagined, a year before we left (almost 20 years ago!), that we could have done all the things we have done? That we would have worked and lived in so many countries? That we would have been able to travel to so many different countries? That we could have learned and experienced so much?” Our answer is always, “Nope, could never have imagined it!” It still surprises us!

This life can be real for you!

One of the very best places to look for information is over at TEFLDaddy.com, a website I wrote some years ago to help answer all the questions people were asking me. The TEFL Job Search section there is better than anything you will find elsewhere on the Web.

Go ahead, fantasize a bit – cruise the jobs boards at: Dave’s ESL Cafe, ESL Jobs Now and even at TEFL.com.

TED’s Tips™ #1: This is the time to branch out and check every jobs website you can find. Contact employers. You’ll be amazed at how easy it really is.

The BEST EFL Teaching Jobs in China: Government Colleges, Universities and Secondary Schools offer the most reliable and worry-free jobs in China. Click on the Link if you would like to Teach English in China

Is Living and Working Abroad Appropriate for Me?

Am I Cut Out for Life Overseas?

You might be. Only you can decide if a career in TEFL – teaching English overseas – is the right path for your life at this time.

What are the things to consider?

Do you have a family that you are responsible for? How would they feel about moving overseas and living in a foreign land?

Do you have a spouse? How would s/he feel about giving up their job? Will she be able to find work overseas? Is she interested in teaching English also?

Do you have children? How will you educate them while overseas? How might they feel about giving up their friends?

Do you have debts that must be paid while you are overseas?

Are there special medical issues for you or your family that must be considered?

Do you have the financial reserves to return to your home country and re-establish yourself if things don’t work out?

Have you ever taught before? Do you have any reason to believe that you might enjoy teaching English?

Have you ever traveled or lived overseas before? Did you enjoy it?

Would you find the daily problems of living and working overseas frustrating or a refreshing challenge?

This list is only a beginning. As individual as each person is so are the questions that need to be answered in making this decision.

What qualities are needed to succeed?

My observation has been that people who succeed in TEFL overseas have the following characteristics and knowledge:
* They have reasonable expectations about their new occupation and what it can and cannot provide for them
* They understand that their new country is not like their home country. Solutions to problems that work at home often don’t work overseas
* They realize that problems they had at home will probably also exist overseas.
* They know they will have good days and bad days – just like back home
* They know they may experience good bosses, bad bosses, good jobs and bad jobs – just like back home
* They are flexible people who can roll with surprises and “punches”
* They are willing to work under different cultural expectations and are willing to follow different cultural work rules
* They are resilient and can bounce back from a bad situation
* They are not generally moody or depressed
* They view their success as a personal challenge
* They spent a considerable amount of time researching their move, before they moved.

Does that fit you? If so, get on board!

TED’s Tips™ #1: Before you head overseas, do an honest assessment of yourself.

The BEST EFL Teaching Jobs in China: Government Colleges, Universities and Secondary Schools offer the most reliable and worry-free jobs in China. Click on the Link if you would like to Teach English in China

Teaching Private Classes in TEFL

Earning Extra Income when Teaching English Abroad

A reader recently asked me how they might earn extra money while working at a university that was offering them a modest wage, but excellent benefits in terms of free accommodation and many other perks.

My response was:

To be honest I have never taught anywhere that I did not teach additional classes or private classes (illegal most places) or both. Often, but not always, these classes were organized by my school. Even some of the illegal ones!

When you first arrive, your school and the local people will watch you to make sure you are okay and reliable. They want to know that you are not a drunk, a child molester and will not present other problems to them, as many other foreigners have. Once they decide that you are okay, things start to happen.

Examples: A colleague will ask you to tutor her child, the university president will be asked by the corporation her husband works for to provide a Business English teacher, the local police department (and yes even the immigration people who KNOW it is illegal) will ask the university to provide a teacher and on and on. People may even approach you on the street (those I would be more careful of).

So . . . the official answer is maybe you will be able to earn extra income. Most schools, if you tell them you are willing, will schedule you for extra classes – and pay you overtime wages. But also – if they know you are willing – discretely of course . . . they will recommend you for the type of classes I suggest above. Most of which are against your contract, against your visa, yada yada – but I’ve always done it, most other people do.

If done discretely – meaning you aren’t telling everyone you meet about it, no one cares. In fact it is your fellow foreign colleagues you need to be most careful of, not the local people. In Korea I probably tripled my wages. In Taiwan – doubled them. Less in other places but always a significant portion of my income.

The only time I ever had any problems was when fellow foreign teachers became aware of what I was doing. So, if you can, keep them in the dark and pursue your plan!

TED’s Tips™ #1: Play it cool, wait a bit, show your new community that you are a reliable, sober and decent person and more opportunity than you can handle will unfold right in front of you. However, if you are unreliable, never sober and a problem person, they will see that and nothing will come your way.

TED’s Tips™ #2: Be careful of your foreign colleagues. Some will be unbalanced, emotionally unstable or just plain jealous of special opportunities you have created for yourself.

As much as you might want to share information about everything you are doing, resist that temptation until you know someone very well.

The BEST EFL Teaching Jobs in China: Government Colleges, Universities and Secondary Schools offer the most reliable and worry-free jobs in China. Click on the Link if you would like to Teach English in China

Teach Business English: Earn More


Teaching Business English in the EFL Classroom

Teaching Business English, or any kind of ESP (English for Specific Purposes – or sometimes for “Special Purposes”), should be considered once you have a some experience in TEFL.

Business English, or other ESP classes, usually pay better than teaching “conversation” English classes, and some teachers find them more enjoyable.

Obviously, these classes will center around a work environment and utilize business or ESP vocabulary. Early in your TEFL career you should probably NOT teach these type classes unless you have prior work experience in business or other ESP areas or some specialized training. Why? Because businesses usually have a very focused aim as to what they want to accomplish and if you have little experience in the business world, you may have little understanding of what is required.

Business English students are usually quite different from typical language school students. They are often older, more experienced, tired from a long day at work and have a definite idea about what they want to learn. Also, sometimes, they are required to take English classes if they want to progress in their company. If you are seen as being “wet behind the ears” and as having little or no knowledge of their world, you will typically be replaced rather quickly.

Some EFL teachers think that teaching Business English is the same as teaching regular English classes, but having a little business vocabulary thrown in. Some teachers think that all you might need to do is to change The book is on the desk to The report is on the photocopier. No, not good enough.

These older, more skilled business people also need you to have some interest and knowledge of the business world – as you need and are expected to pique their interest and create relevant contexts for your lessons. If you have no awareness of the context of their work, this will be quite difficult to do. However, if you do find yourself in this situation – research the business where you will teach and learn as much as you can about what they do – their products and services – and include as much of that as possible in the lessons.

Using a good Business English course book can help get you started, but even better is a custom designed course tailored specifically to meet the needs of the business people that will be in your class. The best way to design such a course is to first identify the needs and wants of the students that will be in the class or their employer. Don’t forget who your client/customer is! It is the people who are paying you.

There can, sometimes, be some differences between what your client/customer is seeking for the class and what your students are wanting and needing. This is not unusual and can require a bit of a balancing act to make sure everyone is satisfied.

Motivating your students by giving them skills they really want and need is important, but your employer must also be satisfied. If the needs and wants of the two sides are very different, you can often make it clear to the students what is required and spend a portion of the class working on “mandatory” material and once that is conquered, the class moves on to what the students might see as being more relevant.

Check out the Ebook – Teach Business English

TED’s Tips™ #1: Teaching Business English is a great way to improve your income and to escape the younger kids.

The BEST EFL Teaching Jobs in China: Government Colleges, Universities and Secondary Schools offer the most reliable and worry-free jobs in China. Click on the Link if you would like to Teach English in China