My CELTA interview nightmare…

After having completed the CELTA course I can reflect on the most awkward interview I have ever had. You may want to grab some popcorn for this.

I had my skype interview on Wednesday morning mid-June (for September’s intake), just after Auste’s interview. Hers went just great, but mine went like this…

The trainer was not the one I was told it was going to be, but he sounded nice and we exchanged our hellos. He asked me why I wanted to be a teacher and why I chose CELTA and some other questions of similar nature. I had prepared three pages of answers divided into four detailed sections: CELTA, Thailand, Teaching, Chiang Mai. So my answer should have been very organized and professional, right? Basically, in a trembling voice I babbled something like: “All my friends told me it’s very difficult but worth it in the end, and I am looking for a change in career”. What a guy…

Then we went straight into possible teaching scenarios. THREE to be more precise. I expected an easy one, not three. The first one was how I would teach an expression of [something I can’t remember] to a class of lower level students. This one went OK.

The second one was how I would explain the difference between ‘I stopped to smoke’ and ‘I stopped smoking’. This is where it got funny. I explained both of them, but I got the ‘I stopped to smoke’ wrong as I thought it meant: I stopped to smoke [for a second as I saw a big brick falling on one lady’s head across the street]. Yep. That’s me. The trainer was so keen on eliciting the right answer, and luckily Auste started acting out stuff in the room and I realised that I’m an idiot and then I explained it OK.

The final question was how I would teach new ‘appearance’ vocabulary to a class of intermediate students or something. Basically I was shitting my pants by that point and had a complete black out and I started saying things unconsciously, like: “I would try to act something out or ask a student to come in front of the class to do something and I would write the words on the board”, or something as intelligent as that. The guy was really confused as to what I was actually saying as neither me nor Auste understood what I had said! She kind of suggested some things on paper and I started talking again (after taking an uncomfortably long pause).

I mentioned something about using magazines and describing celebrities, but I didn’t make any sense so the interviewer kindly changed the task to how I would get the students talking. By that point my mouth was probably as dry as Sahara desert itself, my palms were sweating like a fat kid on a treadmill and my pen had run out of ink, including that I had broken the lid of it. I kind of blacked-out again thinking about failing the interview, cancelling all my plans, having being dumped all at the same time, and then suddenly heard: “I believe you are a good candidate for this course and your English is very good [and so on…] and we’re looking forward to seeing you on the course.” Basically I just said thank you and all that, hung up, and collapsed on the sofa for a good 20 minutes.

Given the appalling interview, my performance on the course was surprisingly good – I passed all teaching practices, and only had to resubmit the first written assignment (as most of the others had too!)

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