Top 5 TEFL interview questions

Once you have completed your accredited TEFL Course from TEFL Courses Ireland, you’ll no doubt be anxious to begin your job hunt either through our own TEFL Jobs Centre or other online resources, such as  There will, of course, be nerves when you get word of that first TEFL interview but to help you prepare we asked some of our students already teaching abroad what they were asked at interview – here are the five most popular questions:

Tell me about your teaching experience?

This is a question common to all TEFL interviews. If you have been lucky enough to previously work as a teacher then be prepared to detail your experience and how it’s relevant to the role you are applying for. Similarly if you have gained some volunteer experience teaching English, then be sure to highlight the skills you have gained.

If you haven’t taught previously then don’t panic, this is common amongst over 70% of applicants for TEFL roles. It’s important in this instance to highlight what you do have, make sure your potential employer knows your course is independently accredited and the modules you have covered. Think about tailoring your answers to the role you are applying for, e.g. if you are applying for a role teaching kindergarten kids you could go into detail on the Teaching Young Learners module.

How would you deal with a disobedient child?

What the potential employer is looking for here, especially if you haven’t previously worked as a teacher, is to ensure that you won’t over-react to one of your students breaking the rules and that you understand the fundamentals of classroom management. Outline how you would set out your rules when you begin working with a class and what your procedure would be should a student break those rules.

Remember when you begin teaching it’s important to set out clear guidelines so the class knows what to expect. In addition you need to see if you can get to the root of why a student is being disruptive; are they bored, not challenged/stimulated or are they actually finding the work too hard?

Why do you want to teach English abroad?

An obvious question maybe but don’t think you can just wing it, be prepared. Focus on your passion for travel and discovering new cultures.  Outline your desire to help your students and how this can contribute to the local community – you could highlight that you have received educational opportunities in life and that these have enhanced your prospects, now you feel you would like to provide educational opportunities to others. Also, don’t be afraid to bring up your TEFL course again and show that you have invested 120/140/150-hours of your time in studying TEFL to ensure you have worthwhile skills and knowledge to offer your students.

What do you know about this country?

When you first considered taking a TEFL course you will, no doubt, have had an idea of your preferred destinations and researched them in some detail. During your TEFL interview it’s important to show that you have a basic understanding of the customs and culture of the country in question. This will reassure the interviewer that you will not be completely out of your depth and have trouble acclimatising. Be sure to steer clear of controversial topics such as religion or politics and remember people are always happy to hear positive things about their own country – a little bit of flattery can go a long way.

Do you have any questions for us?

As with all interviews it is important to have a few questions prepared for your interviewer – if not you may give the impression of a lack of interest in the role. For your TEFL interview it’s important to ask about the students you may be teaching; look where possible to confirm their age, ability and class size. Also don’t be afraid to confirm the details of the job on offer, e.g. the salary, when you will be paid, accommodation (if offered), hours of work and holidays, etc. If you are taking a step into the unknown it’s important that you are completely happy with what’s on offer. In addition it’s worth asking if there are other TEFL teachers in the school already, where they are from and perhaps if it was possible to email them should you be successful, so that you can prepare as fully as possible prior to arrival.

Good luck with the job hunt and keep us posted on your TEFL adventures.

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