Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Obsession with Determination: Teaching in Japan - Interac

So I had my interview in Feb. I was just typing up some advice for a friend and when i finished i figured the info might be useful to others as well. It will probably read as a message to someone... that's because it is...

OK, so the scary part of the interview!!!

They ask you to do an introduction, if you know Japanese, THIS is where you show it off. Wow them with your Japaneseness! I did my intro in two parts, I said the basic stuff in J-go (name, age, where I'm from, where my parents are from, hobbies etc) then apologized for my poor j-go and switched to English, where i then spoke about what (very little) teaching exp i had. It took me two tries as i totally froze mid way in my j-go bit. However the camera woman was lovely and was fine with me doing bits over if need be.

Then you have to read a script (when they email you with the interview dates, they give you a VERY detailed list of what to do)

Then you need to do a warm up lesson, i chose to do "Sindy Sensei Says" but i know a lot of folks at the seminar did "head, shoulders, knees and toes." I chose not to do that because its what they use in the example video they send you...

Then you have to do a lesson. They make the plan for you, and you carry it out. again there is a very detailed video on how to do the lesson. They give you everything you need to do well. The only way you'd have problems is if you don't read things properly, or panic.

DON'T PANIC OR STRESS! if you make a mistake ask to retake, they wont kick you out (I hope) just relax. You are pretending to teach an imaginary class or imaginary kids. You WILL feel silly, screw the silly feeling, and smile like your life depends on it! (don't look crazy though, no one likes crazy...)

I think mine went well, I went over time with my lesson AND I screwed up near the end, she said "Don't worry, you went over anyway, I'll stop here and record over that bit with your ending" so all seemed OK :)

OK, Placements:
No one wants the Inaka. And luckily Interac don't have many Inaka placements! BUT they do have placements spread all over a town, hence why they want, almost need you to drive. I'm not saying that you wont be placed in the Inaka, you just might, but the chances are somewhat slimmer than with JET (what i have been led to believe). I know someone who didn't get invited to a seminar because she said she hadn't passed her driving test yet, so IMO, you did the right thing if you want to get to the next stage.

They asked me about 50 times if I had any prefs. My only pref was suburban/any location. Nothing wrong with requesting Osaka / Tokyo and the like. If anything, it will reaffirm your want to be in a urban setting. They have offices in Tokyo, and Osaka, and DO place people there so I wouldn't worry too much about that. But be warned, Tokyo and Osaka have the strictest management. People tend to have a hard time in those areas.

Extra advice
Let your references know that you have chosen them, and ask them to keep an eye out for the email. I had some trouble as one of my refs referred my reference request to the agency I was hired by, and agencies can only give the dates that you worked and not a detailed reference. So I had to panic and scramble to get in touch with another ref to get it sorted. All seems fine for now, but who knows.

Hope you hear some good news soon!