5 Top TEFL Interview Questions

You’ve finished your TEFL course, applied for your dream job and are just starting to hear back from all those great schools you’ve contacted.  It could be a matter of weeks before you’re on that plane heading for your new life teaching abroad – but first you’ve got to ace that TEFL job interview!  But is the thought of having questions fired at you filling you with dread?  Stop panicking – it won’t be as bad as you think it will, and with over 20 years of TEFL experience, we know a thing or two when it comes to interviews.  In fact, we’ve found that there a lot of employers tend to ask similar questions: all you need to know is which questions they are and you can start preparing.  As we’re so nice at i-to-i, we’ve decided to share with you the Top 5 TEFL interview questions… start researching your answers now, and you can thank us later!

1.  What previous teaching experience do you have?

You’ll be hard pressed to find an interviewer who doesn’t ask you this question.  If you’ve got a load of experience then great, but if not then now is the time to sell yourself with your TEFL course.  If your course includes classroom experience like our 140 hour course, make sure you mention that – including that you taught two lessons. If you have taught before, then don’t forget to tailor your answer to the position you’re applying for – if the job is at a kindergarten, employers will be much more interested in your young learner teaching skills than your business English certificates.

2. How would you deal with a child that broke the rules?

Your employer is looking to check two things here; firstly that you’re not about to lose the plot the first time a child disobeys the rules, and secondly, that you have good classroom management skills.  So, how do you answer?  Make employers aware how you would set out rules for your class, with the consequences in place for those who break them.  It’s equally important to show that you’d try to identify the reason behind your student’s disruptive behaviour – are they bored, not challenged, or is the work too difficult?

3. Why do you enjoy teaching English abroad?

Now is not the time to mention your love of travel, exotic holidays and cheap street food.  Your new employer wants to hear that you care about their students and are passionate about teaching them English (which of course, you are).  Make your answer come to life by talking about the time that you helped a child or adult learner to achieve something.  This is another great time to bring up your TEFL course to show that you have already committed over 100 hours of your life to becoming a great teacher!

4. What do you know about (insert country)?

Not the typical interview question for the 9-5 in the UK: here, the interviewer wants to know that you are culturally prepared for life in their country.  If you can show a little knowledge of their customs and culture then you’ll be on to a winner.  Avoid any controversial, political or cultural hot topics and remember that in this instance, flattery will get you everywhere.

5. Do you have any questions for us?

Remember that the TEFL interview is also the opportunity for you to ask any questions about the job before accepting it.  What will the students be like, what kind of level of English can you expect to find?  Will you have co-teachers who will help to manage the class?  Does the school operate split shifts?  As with any other job interview it’s best to avoid questions about holiday entitlements and pay – these can be negotiated at contract stage.

Weirdest interview questions ever…

From… ‘Do you like Kimchi?’ to ‘Which superhero do you base your teaching style on? (that’s a pretty good one actually….)’ If you’re working abroad in your dream TEFL job, let us know the strangest interview question you’ve ever been asked.


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