Questions To Ask At An Interview: Teaching Resources

interview_cartoon1.jpgFor most schools, your main resource will be the book you teach from. Ask to see it and find out the pace – how many units do you need to cover in how much time, and is there a test at the end? I’ve personally worked with Cutting Edge, Headway, Inside Out, Advanced Matters, and Focus on Grammar and I much prefer the first two. Teachers can supplement them, and relatively easily, if there is time and they want to, but don’t have to supplement them greatly for the class to be well-rounded. They also generally come with at least some engaging supplementary materials in the Teacher’s Book.

How much time is needed will depend on the group, but, for example, covering four units of Cutting Edge in 30 hours is difficult; 45 hours for the same amount is more realistic. If your students are tested at the end, and the result matters, you will have to work hard to make sure what they need is covered (and even if the test doesn’t really matter…people like to do well). On the other hand, you won’t have to be rooting around trying to find supplementary material to fill extra time.

Can they show you the resource library and tell you which books are most popular?

Books with activities that look like fun and that involve speaking, not just writing, are good. Students like them and so will you. Class sets of books that look like the ones you used in high school are not such a good sign. In my experience, it is unnatural for a teachers’ room to be too clean and desks too empty, but a decent school with decent teachers will have some kind of organization.

I’ve had a lot of success using supplementary material from these books. I wouldn’t recommend buying these books for yourself, but seeing if the school has them or anything like them.

I’ve built up my own photocopy library of activities I like over the last few years, but as a new teacher it was nice to have a few shelves of usable activities in the teachers room – too many and it’s overwhelming and too few and you’re left to your own devices.