CELTA: Interview Stage | TEFL Jobs London

CELTA: Interview Stage

By Donna Hutchinson
Newly-qualified TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

I loved doing my CELTA. I worked my last shift in a bar on the Saturday and by the following Monday morning I was told that the very next day I would be meeting my first set of students. An ACTUAL class were supposed to be learning from me. Crazy! But first, let’s journey back just a smidge…

interview prepWe must first get through the rigmarole of online forms and interviews. Aside from the usual requirements: education, past employment and the fact you have a strong individual initiative as well as being able to work well as part of a team, there are a couple of extras. For instance there are a few language awareness questions, and for mine, I also had to write 500 words on my best language learning experience. I must admit, the first time I was faced with this online form, I closed the window and had to return to it at a later date. However, I did manage to re-group and was called for an interview.

All interviews are somewhat anxiety-inducing, and this one started off with a 30 minute language awareness test in the library of the school.  I distinctly remember it because another interviewee who came in 15 minutes after me didn’t have a pen so I lent her one. Throughout, I was thinking, I’m never going to get that pen back. Moral of this story: take a pen! In fact, take at least two… or three! That aside, though, here’s the kicker – your personality. It may sound a little obvious, because of course one wants to appear as pleasant, polite, and perfect as possible in an interview; being personable is a key prerequisite of the interview set-up. However, it has only really occurred to me since I’ve been teaching regularly just how essential it is for students to find their teachers likable. When I think back to the teachers I liked, I always wanted to work harder for them, i.e. their likability was central to my motivation. What I’m saying is, while language awareness is indeed important don’t let it take too much of a priority over that winning smile and endless charm.

So, as I was saying, that very next Tuesday I was to meet my first class of students, but I wouldn’t be alone. You survive your CELTA with your teaching group, and between you, you teach in slots. But, as always, more on that next time.

Example of a language awareness question:

Identify the different elements (past, present, modal, perfect, progressive, passive) underlined in the following verb phrases.

  1. I was hoping to see you.
  2. They might have got home now.
  3. We have tried to help.
  4. They were being questioned at length.
  5. I saw it coming,
  6. This time next week you will be lying on a beach.


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