It’s vitally important that you have a list of questions that you want to ask in the English teaching interview. You will want to find out as much information as possible to enable you to make an informed decision about where you work. If you’re anything like me, your mind will go blank precisely the time before the interview that you want to prepare, so here are some ideas.
How much freedom will I have to plan classes?
Question number one for me. I’ve always had and enjoyed a reasonable amount of discretion on what I decide to teach and I really feel that being able to react to student’s needs is important.
Will there be a course book?
This can really have an impact on your planning time. A coursebook takes care of the wider course plan for you. Without one, you arguably have more freedom, but you may find yourself going in circles. The coursebook can be the slacker teacher’s best friend but beware that only teaching from the coursebook can be mind-numbingly boring for your students.
How many hours can I expect to get?
You will never get a full timetable in Berlin immediately, or even quickly. You will want to know how many hours this school can give you eventually and how quickly you can expect to get classes
How many teachers do you have?
It may not matter, but it’s interesting to know how many potential colleagues you will have (even if, as frequently happens, you never meet them). It’ll also give you an idea how big the school is and the potential for future work.
Is there a teacher’s room/preparation area? Is there a photocopier?
Some schools have no teacher’s room. This can really kill your chances of meeting your colleagues along with forcing all your lesson prep to your bedroom. One school I went to had no photocopier and wanted me to go to a copy shop, make copies for the class and then invoice them at the end of the month. No joke.
What resources are available?
Some schools have their own resources such as textbooks and prepared lesson plans whilst others have a full array of text books and materials for you to plan your exciting, individually tailored lessons from.
What’s your teaching methodology?
Related to the above question. Some have their own method, most broadly follow the CELTA school of thought.
Is there any training or career development available?
This depends very much on your long-term plans. However, it’s nice to know how seriously your school takes it’s teachers and hence, how positive an experience it’ll be to work there.
How much administration or paperwork will I have to do?
This is almost never paid. Lots of paperwork means your poor old hourly wage will need to stretch even further.
How much is the pay? Is travel pay included?
Probably the most important question you can ask, but funnily the one I always forget about til the last minute. Travel pay is certainly a vital question (but usually a futile one) to ask as some of your classes may be an hour or more by public transport.