Since it’s Halloween and all, I thought I’d share a spoooooky story with you… The story of my INTERVIEW! (Ah! Gasp! Eek!) Because there’s nothing scarier than an interview, am I right?!
But no, really, it wasn’t all that bad. I just have a tendency to blow things up and out of proportion in my head, and get all nervous and stuff before I get to actually start talking. Then, it’s not so bad.
So I’m sure you guys remember that I’ve been applying to teach English in South Korea? Well, this was my SECOND interview–the first was to be accepted by my recruiter, and this one was with the actual English Program in Korea–aka, the people who would actually find me a job. Luckily, the interview must have gone well–I was accepted! Now it’s just gathering all the paperwork together and getting everything sent in. (Still nerve-wracking, but a bit less than an interview, ha ha.)
Just in case anyone wanted to know, or someone stumbles across this blog and is in the same boat as me and wants to know what to expect, here is a general run-down of my interview! (Just so you know–my interview was about 30 minutes, mostly because I talk a lot, and I think because I had already interviewed with CanConx. If you apply THROUGH EPIK, I would imagine your interview will probably be a bit longer.)
Anyway! So the interview was conducted over Skype at about 11PM. I logged on and was greeted by a nice-looking young guy named Jae Young who said he’d be talking to me. (I wasn’t disappointed.) First he just asked me to confirm some of the information on my application–you know, name, date of birth, etc. It was recommended that I have a copy of my application on hand to make notes on, since they might want me to change things. It was a good idea, because although I only had a couple changes to make, I never trust myself to remember that kind of thing!
Then we got started. Luckily, CanConx had given me links to a couple other blogs on the subject, and all the questions he asked me were ones other people had mentioned–so I had answers prepared already, just in case. The only thing he asked me that didn’t really follow that was asking me to talk about my relationship to the people who wrote my recommendation letters. (And it’s not like that was hard to talk about!)
He also mentioned my strange choice of Sejong as where I wanted to teach. (It’s a new city without much there, ha ha.) He also reminded me that it’s not a guarantee, but that ‘not many people request to go there’, lol. I bet! But hey, I like a challenge. 😛
First he asked me about myself, which was probably the hardest question, TBH. I hate talking about myself! As my mother will attest, I’m not great at talking myself up or ‘spinning things in my favor’ during interviews–I tend to be on just this side of frank, and I tell the truth. (Or omit things altogether, just so I can say I didn’t lie.) This bit led to a conversation about horses in Korea–I said I enjoyed horses. He asked if I liked to ride them or bet on them. I said ride, of course, and that I wasn’t sure if there were a lot of horse stables in Korea. (Totally forgetting that in like every rich-kid drama EVER they ride horses. Duh.) So, you know. Probably a memorable beginning, if nothing else.
Then there were questions like ‘Why Korea?’ and ‘What do you know about Korea?’ In those, I just tried to get across my interest in traveling and the country itself, as well as the fact that I have watched like a billion Korean dramas–which, while I understand not everything in those is 100% factual, have definitely given me at least a vague idea of the differences between Korean and American cultures.
He also wanted to know about my teaching philosophy, and why I wanted to teach. Since in all honesty I had never given any thought to teaching prior to this venture, I focused on the fact that SINCE deciding to do this and taking my TEFL course, I have become much more interested in being a teacher–really, that class has taught me a lot, and I find myself thinking of things in terms of ‘how could I teach this?’, which is really weird for me. I told him that as for my teaching philosophy, since I’ve never taught before, I’m going into it hoping to be enthusiastic for English, as well as hoping to teach the kids in a natural and conversational way–not just prepping them for exams. (Because we all know how much you remember of stuff you learn just for an exam… Not much!)
Then there were to sort of ‘scenarios’ he gave me. After a question about how I would feel co-teaching (much more comfortable, honestly,) he asked what I would do if my co-teacher made a mistake in front of the class. (I said it would depend on the situation–if it wasn’t important I would just let it go or mention it at the end of class in the wrap-up, or ask the teacher how they preferred I handle it.) Then a question about how I would discipline rowdy kids. (Establish rules from the get-go and hope that I can make interesting lessons so that kids don’t get bored, but if they do, I would consult other teachers on what works, because nobody learns anything from the hallway!) Also, what do I do to help beginners as well as advanced kids? (Give basic lessons that I can add things to for the more advanced students to keep it interesting.)
They want to hear your enthusiasm, and they want to know that you are flexible–those are the keys. I also read that sometimes they ask you about ways you deal with stress, how you think you will do in a foreign country, etc. (But I mentioned in my essay that I have been abroad twice, once to live, and how I think I will deal with the culture shock–so they already had my answers to that!)
Afterwards, of course, there is a period where you can ask THEM any questions–unfortunately I can never think of any when I have the chance, so I recommend writing them down beforehand. (Although I can always e-mail my recruiters and ask them questions when I think of them, so it’s no big deal.) I did ask about the position numbers versus applicants–a few more than I had thought! And also about the orientation, which I’m REALLY glad they have in this program! Nothing like being plunked down and expected to just START, ha ha. Apparently we’re not all having orientation in Seoul–there are different orientations throughout the country, depending on where you’re stationed. Plus, it will be a great chance to meet and talk to other teachers, and hopefully meet new friends!
So that’s it! They got back within about a week to let me know I had been accepted. 🙂 Hopefully this will be helpful to someone in the future. Good luck! Fighting!
And for blog readers, I hope you have a nice Halloween, and that you’re all doing well as we venture into November. We might not see much of each other for awhile, but think of me occasionally!