Being prepared for an interview is one of the best things you can do to land the job you want! If you’re an aspiring ESL teacher applying for a job, then you’re going to want to prepare answers to the most common ESL teacher job interview questions. Below you’ll find 10 questions that you will likely be asked during an ESL teacher interview, together with some useful tips on how to answer them.
“Why do you want to teach ESL?“
This is probably the most common question you’ll be asked in an ESL teaching job interview. While your first instinct might be to give a cookie-cutter answer like “I love working with kids” or “I am passionate about teaching,” those answers won’t really set you apart from the competition. Instead, take this opportunity to share something unique about yourself that will make you memorable to the interviewer.
For example, maybe you have experience working with English language learners in another capacity (like as a tutor or camp counselor), or maybe you have spent time living abroad and have firsthand experience with the challenges of learning a new language. Whatever your answer is, make sure it’s sincere and authentic.
“What do you think are the biggest challenges facing ESL students today?“
This question is designed to test your understanding of the current landscape of ESL education. Some good points to touch on would be the increasing diversity of ESL students (in terms of both language backgrounds and cultural backgrounds), the growing number of English language learners in mainstream classrooms, and the changes in technology that have made it easier for students to access information but also more distractible than ever before.
“What methods do you think are most effective for teaching English as a second language?“
Here, your interviewer is looking to see if your teaching methods are aligned with current best practices. A good answer would be to discuss using a variety of methods in order to cater to different types of learners, including verbal instruction, hands-on activities, ESL games, and technology-based resources. You could also talk about using realia and authentic texts as much as possible in order to help students connect what they learn in class to what they see outside the classroom.
“What do you think are some common mistakes ESL teachers make?“
This question allows you to show off your critical thinking skills by identifying potential problems and offering solutions. Some mistakes that inexperienced ESL teachers often make include underestimating how long it takes for students to learn certain concepts, not providing enough comprehensible input, failing to provide sufficient practice opportunities, and not modifying their instruction enough to meet the needs of individual students.
“How do you deal with disruptive students in your classroom?“
This question will almost certainly come up in your ESL teacher interview. No matter how well-behaved your students are, there will always be at least one who likes to cause mischief from time to time.
A good answer would involve using positive reinforcement whenever possible, diffusing conflict before it has a chance to escalate, and involving parents/guardians early on if necessary. In addition to this, a well-planned lesson can go a long way to preventing misbehavior before it happens in the first place.
“How will you help a struggling student in your class?“
This question is similar to the previous one, but it’s important to emphasize that you’re not just looking for ways to deal with disruptive students; you’re also looking for ways to support students who are struggling.
A good answer would involve differentiating your instruction to meet the needs of all students, providing extra help outside of class, and maintaining open communication with parents/guardians.
“What are your thoughts on standardized testing for English language learners?“
This is a common debate topic about education that applies to the world of ESL, too. If you’re asked this question, your interviewer is likely looking to see what your opinion is and if you can back it up with a rationale. Some teachers believe that standardized testing is an effective way to measure students’ progress, while others believe that it’s not an accurate measure of what students have actually learned. Whichever side you fall on, make sure you have thoughtful reasons for your opinion.
“How will you create an inclusive classroom environment for your English language learners?“
This question allows you to describe how you will build rapport with your students and create a positive classroom culture. A good answer would involve emphasizing the importance of respect, patience, and flexibility in the classroom. You could also talk about how you will find out about individual students’ interests and needs so you can tailor your lessons to them and make each student feel like a valued member of the class.
“What do you think are some challenges that English language learners face?“
This question allows you to show off your knowledge of the ESL field by discussing some of the unique challenges that English language learners face. Some of these challenges include dealing with culture shock, difficulties in making friends due to their limited English language skills, and taking lessons that are taught in a language that they’re still learning. Once you have answered this question, you could also score some extra points with the interviewer by letting them know how you will help learners overcome these challenges.
“Do you have any questions for me?“
This is your opportunity to ask the interviewer any questions you may have about the ESL job or the school you will be teaching in. Some good questions to ask include:
- What are the expectations for this position?
- What kind of support will I have in this role?
- Are there opportunities in this role for teacher development?
- What is the school’s philosophy when it comes to teaching English language learners?
Asking thoughtful questions like these will show that you’re truly interested in the role and that you’re thinking about how you can be a successful ESL teacher.
If you’ve got an ESL job interview lined up, then good luck! Effectively answering these questions will go a long way toward helping you land the ESL teaching job of your dreams. Just remember to be prepared ahead of time, and let your passion for ESL teaching shine through!