• Tom Garside

Acing an online TEFL interview - academic focus


The world of international teaching and learning has changed over the last couple of years. Schools and education organisations are looking for a different profile of teacher in the post-Covid world, so how can you make the most of your next interview? We look at some questions to expect, and take a teaching focused view of how to perform well at interview.


Online teaching and learning

An area which employers increasingly want to know about is your skills with online teaching. Whether schools are currently delivering face-to-face lessons or not, having to return to online classes is a real possibility in the coming months, so any online teaching experience will be a bonus.

Possible Questions:

Do you have any experience teaching online?

Did your TESOL training include online lessons?

Take me through a typical online lesson - how do you start?

How do you ensure participation?

How to respond:

If you don’t have online teaching experience, you can easily practise using the features of Zoom or Teams with friends or colleagues. The main functions that online classes require are: screensharing, sharing documents with learners, annotating and managing breakout rooms. To get familiar with these, all you need is to have 3 people in an online meeting, and to share the host role between you so that you can practise these functions together.

If you want to look further into online learning strategies, thin about how you could apply flipped learning, different kinds of connectivity, or online activities such as webquests, all of which are effective techniques to get learners engaged in the online setting. Match these activities with the types of teaching that you are likely to do in the job you are interviewing for, and this will make a good match for what the employer is looking for.

Dealing with unexpected changes

Employers will want to know that you can adapt to different situations depending on unexpected events. Be prepared to talk about changes that you can make to your teaching, without compromising the quality of your lessons.

Possible Questions:

How do you deal with classes when several students do not show up?

What would you do if a learner has to leave the class unexpectedly?

What happens if you have to switch to online classes suddenly from face-to-face?

How to respond:

As with any lesson, you can never be sure how many students will turn up on a given day, so it is a good idea to have adaptable activities which can be run with a few or a lot of students, depending on class size. Make sure you have a contingency plan for reduced numbers, and make sure that all students can have access to the class materials if they have to leave early.


With online earning becoming more a part of what we do, suggest building a resource file for your students to access independently through a sharing platform such as Slack or Padlet, and this can help learners take control of their own study regardless of their attendance in your classes.

If you want to develop your Covid-secure or online teaching further, the Trinity College London Certificate for Practising Teachers (CertPT) focuses on the evaluation, adaptation, creation and delivery of teaching resources to fit the needs of learners studying in specific contexts. The CertPT can be used with young learners, for exam preparation, EAP or online ESOL settings. For more information, go to https://www.languagepointtraining.com/trinity-certpt or contact us for upcoming course dates.


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