My CELTA Interview Experience (CELTA 面試經驗談)

Yesterday (5/2) I had my CELTA interview at 2:00 p.m. It lasted about 35 minutes. It went pretty well. When the interviewer said "I'm looking forward to seeing you in July", I was so relieved and I knew I just got myself a spot to enter the CELTA program. Just a few hours after the interview, I received a confirmation email from IH.  How efficient! I painted the town red last night with some friends. But it's not time for me to be gloating. From now on, I guess, to get a head start, I have to study those recommended books before the program kicks off.

If you are at the stage of preparing for your CELTA interview, or you are just interested in how I prepared for this interview and how the interview was conducted, here it is.

Just one day after sending the application with the pre-interview task to IH, I got a reply from them with a link to set up an interview. I chose to have a Skype interview in the following week. After the interview time was confirmed in a follow-up email, I decided to do some research, collect some commonly asked questions and see how people prepare for a CELTA interview. Besides that, to make no mistake, I also emailed IH and confirmed that this Skype interview would be "audio-only" and there would be no need to set up a webcam. That's a relief. Why? Because that means I can still have some information at hand to refer to during the future interview, which can definitely help me build more confidence and feel at ease.

From the info that I gathered, this is what usually happens in a CELTA interview. I also listed the questions in my interview for your reference below:

1. As an applicant, we should take the initiative and contact the interviewer either by phone or by Skype directly instead of waiting for the interviewer to call you. 

=> In my case, it's true. My interview was at 2:00 p.m. However, when it's 2:01 p.m. , I still didn't hear anything from the interviewer on Skype. So, I decided to make a voice call to IH directly on Skype. And the one who picked up the phone was the interviewer who was scheduled to interview me. Good thing I made the call first without just sitting there and waiting for the interviewer to call me.

2. Most questions during a CELTA interview are about what an applicant previously wrote in the pre-interview task as follows:

(1) Part 2 (Personal Statement)

(2) Part 3 (Language Awareness): In this part, it includes questions about "Grammar", "Vocabulary", "Pronunciation", and "Teaching and Learning". 

A lot of people mentioned that an interviewer would check with you again on the parts that he/she is interested in or that needs to be further clarified. Also, if there are some mistakes in Part 3, you will be asked to clarify and confirm your answers again. However, an interviewer doesn't just listen to you, he/she would also point out your mistakes and give some suggestions.

Actually, in the interview request email, IH also suggested that I have my pre-task info at hand during the interview. So, I took their advice and had more extra handouts about "grammar" with me just in case some of them might be brought up.

=> In my case, the interviewer asked me the following questions. Actually, I can't remember every single word the interviewer said. So, I'll just share the questions that I remember in terms of the meanings.

Q1: From your personal statement,  I can see that you have a lot of teaching experience. However, you mentioned "you find it hard to bring more fun to your class". Do you think it's always important to have fun in an English class?

Q2: As you are an experienced teacher, what do you think of some feedback to you from your inexperienced fellow trainees in the CELTA program?

Q3: In the pre-interview task, you told us "You tend to explain grammatical rules in your native language to your students in a low level class". Why is that? Have you ever tried to teach grammar in English?

Q4: In our CELTA program, we have students from different background and they don't necessarily speak your mother tongue. If you are going to teach grammar to elementary level students in your teaching practice and the language you can only use is English, what can you do to help low level students and make sure you are understood?

Q5: In the Grammar part, you told us "The Simple Past Tense is used to describe an action which happened in the past". However, the "Present Perfect Tense" can also be used to talk about what happened in the past. For example, I have been to Japan. Can you tell me how to use the Simple Past Tense more specifically? What is the difference between the Simple Past Tense and the Present Perfect Tense?

Q6: In the "Vocabulary" part, you told us the differences between "overweight" and "fat". Can you tell me about their differences again and how different they are when you use them?

Q7: In the "Teaching and Learning" part, you shared your ideas with us about how to teach adjectives of appearance to a pre-intermediate class. When you use a lesson plan like this, what problems do you anticipate in class?

Q8: Can you come up with another activity that is more communicative and have a more obvious result or output to help students use the adjectives of vocabulary in the handout?

3. The interview might also ask some questions about "Classroom management" or others.

   (1) How do you handle a misbehaving child in class?
   (2) How do you handle a conflict with a coworker?
   (3) How do you keep a lesson balanced with high level and low level students. 

=> In my case, none of the questions was asked during my interview.

4. The interviewer usually would ask you some questions about how much you know about the CELTA program. There is a lot of information on CELTA online. I'm sure each applicant can get the info easily. 

=> In my case, the interviewer asked me "How much do you know about the CELTA program?" I was well-prepared for this and he seemed to be satisfied with my answer. Then he added more info on the CELTA program, such as the statistics of getting "PASS A", "PASS B", "PASS" and "Fail".

5. The interviewer would ask you "Do you have any questions?"

=> In my case, the interview did ask me this question. So, I asked several questions in mind and the interviewer was so patient and answered each of my questions in detail. That really helped me clear the air.

Q1: Do we have to buy any textbooks during the training? Is there a reading list that you recommend before the training?

Q2: In the CELTA program, there is an option called "Extra Package". Besides the course fee, accommodations, and meals, it also includes weekend trips or activities. If we decide not to participate in those weekend activities, do we get a discount on the package or a partial refund?

Q3: As a non-native speaker, after we get a CELTA certificate, what do you think of the chances to land an overseas teaching job? Does your center offer any references for your graduates when they are looking for a job?

It's always better to know what to expect in an interview and get well-prepared. What you just read is what I know and what I have been through in a CELTA interview. Hopefully my experience can help you feel more confident and reduce your anxiety a bit.

All in all, the CELTA interview is not that difficult.  I'm glad to have a friendly and nice interviewer during this interview.  I believe you will also have a good one, too.

If you have any questions about the CELTA interview, just feel free to drop a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Most of all, good luck to you on the interview if you are preparing for it.



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