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Thread: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

  1. #61

    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by SticksPrime View Post
    I'm the most confident public speaker and interviewee I know.
    As a British person, this immediately made me cringe to read. Maybe I'm just used to a certain degree of bumbling British humility when talking about myself?

    Some of your points are good, some of them, having been on interview panels myself, were not so good. Being familiar with your application is a must, but printing it out to refer to like a contract in the middle of the interview? It's much better to portray an accurate view of yourself and how you would react to challenges than to nitpick wording of questions. If you can't even remember why you chose the three placements you did and what they were called, then you probably don't belong in JET. I'd severely question the capabilities of anyone who sat in front of me clutching a print out of their application form and referring to it in response to a placement query.

    I'm also pretty sure you missed the point of Gizmotech's question which was 'how would you cope' not 'how would you fix it'. Also your discipline and rewards speech would have me completely lost if English wasn't my native language, and still kind of did to be perfectly honest. You talked around the question and gave a non-answer in the end. You could have answered that question much more efficiently in my opinion, especially given that at least one person on your panel will be Japanese-speaking.

    Your response to Page is also just reiterating what Page said.

    Not to say that you're not what JET is looking for, hey, what do I know, I'm only an applicant too. But giving advice like this, when you haven't sat the interview yourself, is spreading a certain degree of misinformation and generally just broadcasting your own opinion and answers to a lot of people rather than being genuinely helpful. All I saw here was a lot of 'look at me!' and all the useful bits of advice were actually just general generic things that are repeated in nearly every interview guide out there.

  2. #62
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    Ocaoca said it quite well actually. You can't control the class, nor can you create classroom culture in most cases. That is your primary teachers job. Sooo, how do you react in the environment in which a person who is supposed to be controlling, does not, and what are your opinions on (by actually giving one instead of fence shitting) discipline and reward structures. This last question is more important than it sounds, mainly because there are almost no disciplines structures in Japanese schools, and reward structures are rather poorly balanced towards only rewarding those students who would succeed anyways.
    Last edited by therealwindycity; January 20th, 2014 at 09:33.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  3. #63

    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    Gizmotech, is it uncommon for teachers in Japan to control classroom behavior? Or is it all on the students to behave? Is it different for Elementary/JH/HS level kids? Sorry for the bombardment of questions, I just want to know what kind of things to expect. At the moment I'm having visions of Battle Royale style classroom management...

  4. #64

    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Ocaoca View Post
    Being familiar with your application is a must, but printing it out to refer to like a contract in the middle of the interview?... I'd severely question the capabilities of anyone who sat in front of me clutching a print out of their application form and referring to it in response to a placement query.

    I'm also pretty sure you missed the point of Gizmotech's question which was 'how would you cope' not 'how would you fix it'. Also your discipline and rewards speech would have me completely lost if English wasn't my native language, and still kind of did to be perfectly honest.

    Your response to Page is also just reiterating what Page said
    Fine, I retract what I said and wish every person every bit of luck. Let me clarify some things before I disappear after being castrated.

    1) If you're confident and don't flaunt it, knowing that familiarity (in your confidence) breeds contempt, then you're not actually confident. Saying I'm the most confident person I know, honestly is the difference between a person waiting for their results half-heartedly and a person knowing they nailed the interview.
    2) I'm not saying have your application in your clutches ready to strike down any false accusation. We've all heard multiple stories (well I have) of people being interrogated about their placement being "incorrect" and interviewers pursuing this to try to get you to stumble on your confidence. A friend of mine actually had this occur to them to which she said it was "the most harrowing questioning she's ever had". I'm merely saying have it there as a last resort.
    3) The answers to Gizmo's questions were an example of setting yourself apart. Sure I could say "I would cope by understanding the situation and adjusting to it accordingly" and "discipline is good some times and reward some other times" but I don't want to be the 4th person that day to say those unoriginal answers and quite honestly if you didn't understand my discipline/risk answers, then I fear for the panels you were on, but there's no need to go into that...
    4) Regarding Page, though her answer may be enough, I'm saying to elaborate on your answers. We are all university/college graduates right? So how come certain people aren't understanding the whole reasoning behind your answer concept? You know, examples give strength to your answer...

    If I came across blunt and seemed it was a "look at me" post, I apologise, it was not my intention. I am done... You want generic info?
    - Smile
    - Be outgoing
    - Get a nice suit
    - Be early
    - Relax
    Hope that's all the advice you want...

  5. #65

    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    I know it's good to be confident and prepared but I think you might be underestimating the importance of coming across as open-minded and willing to learn. A lot of your answers come across as a little arrogant in how much you presume to know, especially about teaching. Of course you may well be right and it may well be that you have better ideas about teaching than most other applicants, but unless you have previous experience teaching (as an actual teacher, not as a TA or something) then being so assertive in your own opinions might come across a little "know-it-all" or as someone who assumes that they know best and will be inflexible to work with. Again, not saying your ideas are bad per se, just that if you are applying for your first teaching assistant job with no official training and little to no experience you might want to make more effort to seem like you are keen to learn rather than keen to do everything the way you already decided to do it. I mean what if you end up in a school where they just want you to stand in the corner and read aloud from the textbook for 10 minutes every class? Or if you end up with 5 schools to visit and therefore little to no say in what happens in a lesson? Or just a school where they have completely different ideas than you and are very unwilling to change them?

    Also you need to make your answers more specific. Saying things like "A lenient mix of discipline and reward dependant on the circumstances ensure that students are the principle focus" will probably make the Japanese interviewers mildly confused and the ex-ALT roll their eyes. As gizmo has said, you are not responsible for the classes and are not meant to be. So for that question you need to make the answer about how you would approach the JTE about controlling the class more in a diplomatic way.

    Again, I don't think your answers are wrong necessarily, I might well agree with you on some of them. And you may end up in a position where your approach works very well. It would probably be fine if you ended up in a school like mine. But the probability is that you won't. I think demonstrating a little more humility/flexibility would be advised.

  6. #66

    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by SticksPrime View Post
    Fine, I retract what I said and wish every person every bit of luck. Let me clarify some things before I disappear after being castrated.

    1) If you're confident and don't flaunt it, knowing that familiarity (in your confidence) breeds contempt, then you're not actually confident. Saying I'm the most confident person I know, honestly is the difference between a person waiting for their results half-heartedly and a person knowing they nailed the interview.
    2) I'm not saying have your application in your clutches ready to strike down any false accusation. We've all heard multiple stories (well I have) of people being interrogated about their placement being "incorrect" and interviewers pursuing this to try to get you to stumble on your confidence. A friend of mine actually had this occur to them to which she said it was "the most harrowing questioning she's ever had". I'm merely saying have it there as a last resort.
    3) The answers to Gizmo's questions were an example of setting yourself apart. Sure I could say "I would cope by understanding the situation and adjusting to it accordingly" and "discipline is good some times and reward some other times" but I don't want to be the 4th person that day to say those unoriginal answers and quite honestly if you didn't understand my discipline/risk answers, then I fear for the panels you were on, but there's no need to go into that...
    4) Regarding Page, though her answer may be enough, I'm saying to elaborate on your answers. We are all university/college graduates right? So how come certain people aren't understanding the whole reasoning behind your answer concept? You know, examples give strength to your answer...

    If I came across blunt and seemed it was a "look at me" post, I apologise, it was not my intention. I am done... You want generic info?
    - Smile
    - Be outgoing
    - Get a nice suit
    - Be early
    - Relax
    Hope that's all the advice you want...
    Just as an FYI, I wasn't allowed to bring anything but my own sense of self-loathing into the interview. Don't count on having anything to reference.
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  7. #67
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Ocaoca View Post
    Gizmotech, is it uncommon for teachers in Japan to control classroom behavior? Or is it all on the students to behave? Is it different for Elementary/JH/HS level kids? Sorry for the bombardment of questions, I just want to know what kind of things to expect. At the moment I'm having visions of Battle Royale style classroom management...
    Not battle royale per say, but there can certainly be some major discipline problems, especially in JHS. Japan is a "education is mandatory" state, and therefore you can't deny a student the right to be in the classroom. This means most traditional forms of discipline are pretty much useless, and the students know that they are on an escalator to the end of JHS. It's only SHS where there is the possibility (however remote) of students receiving any sort of discipline or consequence for their actions (and even there it's not the easiest thing to do)

    Quote Originally Posted by SticksPrime View Post
    Fine, I retract what I said and wish every person every bit of luck. Let me clarify some things before I disappear after being castrated.

    1) If you're confident and don't flaunt it, knowing that familiarity (in your confidence) breeds contempt, then you're not actually confident. Saying I'm the most confident person I know, honestly is the difference between a person waiting for their results half-heartedly and a person knowing they nailed the interview.
    2) I'm not saying have your application in your clutches ready to strike down any false accusation. We've all heard multiple stories (well I have) of people being interrogated about their placement being "incorrect" and interviewers pursuing this to try to get you to stumble on your confidence. A friend of mine actually had this occur to them to which she said it was "the most harrowing questioning she's ever had". I'm merely saying have it there as a last resort.
    3) The answers to Gizmo's questions were an example of setting yourself apart. Sure I could say "I would cope by understanding the situation and adjusting to it accordingly" and "discipline is good some times and reward some other times" but I don't want to be the 4th person that day to say those unoriginal answers and quite honestly if you didn't understand my discipline/risk answers, then I fear for the panels you were on, but there's no need to go into that...
    4) Regarding Page, though her answer may be enough, I'm saying to elaborate on your answers. We are all university/college graduates right? So how come certain people aren't understanding the whole reasoning behind your answer concept? You know, examples give strength to your answer...

    If I came across blunt and seemed it was a "look at me" post, I apologise, it was not my intention. I am done... You want generic info?
    - Smile
    - Be outgoing
    - Get a nice suit
    - Be early
    - Relax
    Hope that's all the advice you want...
    I don't disagree with you, or your motivations, but as someone who has been on hiring panels before you first need to answer the question clearly, then if they ask for more information (because you said something vaguely interesting or confusing that set you apart) be ready to respond. If you tossed me that fence sitting answer I probably would just dismiss it as indecisive. Also, like others have mentioned, there will be a Japanese person on your panel, and while they might be "good" at English, you need to target your answers in such a way that THEY understand what you are talking about... unless the question is discipline specific. IE, my interview was relatively basic in my English until the teacher on the panel asked me something specifically in the domain of linguistics and ESL teaching, to which the only possible way to answer in a short period of time was to step the level of the answer into Academic vocabulary, and domain specific language.

    Quote Originally Posted by uthinkimlost? View Post
    Just as an FYI, I wasn't allowed to bring anything but my own sense of self-loathing into the interview. Don't count on having anything to reference.
    Also this. We were specifically told not to bring anything extra what so ever to the interview. Just our selves.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  8. #68
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    At JHS, the only discipline available is yelling or lecturing the kids. I've seen a kid get kicked out of class only once- it was a shop class, and a little punk kid was playing around with a drill, so he got kicked out of the room and had to watch the class through the window like a little puppy. At SHS, students can be suspended or expelled, but it usually only happens if the student commits a crime (my school suspended kids all the time for getting caught shoplifting).


    I was only allowed to bring my purse into the interview room, and it had to be on the floor either under or beside the chair.

    I also agree with Jiggit in that it's better to show humility sometimes rather than risk sounding like a know-it-all. If you appear too confident, it might make the interviewers think that you wouldn't get along with your future JTEs or that you wouldn't be able to take criticism well. Be confident, but flexible.

  9. #69

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    Some teachers have the problem of having tried nothing and being all out of ideas. They just don't get taught about classroom management I guess. They do the thing of letting the kids get away with more and more shit until one day they just explode on them and vent their fury, calling them a useless little shit who is going to fail in life or whatever. Hardly productive.

    My school has mostly pretty well-behaved kids though so I can't really say too much. I think laziness is more of a problem than straight-up disruptive behaviour though...

  10. #70

    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    Thanks for the answers guys! That's helped me get a good idea what to expect.

  11. #71

    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    I don't disagree with you, or your motivations, but as someone who has been on hiring panels before you first need to answer the question clearly, then if they ask for more information (because you said something vaguely interesting or confusing that set you apart) be ready to respond. If you tossed me that fence sitting answer I probably would just dismiss it as indecisive.
    I have a question about this, good sir. What if you were to state that you see merits in both approaches (discipline and reward), but that you tend to favour rewarding good behaviour and only use discipline when it is absolutely necessary, such as when a student is becoming disruptive. Would that also be too much of a fence sitting answer? In general, would it be better to use less mitigating language and be more decisive when replying?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    Also, like others have mentioned, there will be a Japanese person on your panel, and while they might be "good" at English, you need to target your answers in such a way that THEY understand what you are talking about... unless the question is discipline specific. IE, my interview was relatively basic in my English until the teacher on the panel asked me something specifically in the domain of linguistics and ESL teaching, to which the only possible way to answer in a short period of time was to step the level of the answer into Academic vocabulary, and domain specific language.
    Do you remember the question you were asked and the answer you gave, Gizmo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    Some teachers have the problem of having tried nothing and being all out of ideas. They just don't get taught about classroom management I guess. They do the thing of letting the kids get away with more and more shit until one day they just explode on them and vent their fury, calling them a useless little shit who is going to fail in life or whatever. Hardly productive.
    Are you my grade eight math teacher? Is that you, Mr. Robinson?
    Last edited by spman2099; January 20th, 2014 at 17:23.
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  12. #72
    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tzvi View Post
    What kinds of examples did you give for that? I'm worried I will get stuck with some horrible questions in mine.
    I got an amazing collection of Native/First Nations artwork from my grandfather. I told them I would bring a couple of mini hand carved totem poles from the local band.

    The follow up was "why is that important to Canadian culture?"

    To which I answered something to the effect of First Nations people and their art is woven deep into Canadian culture now. Natives are one of the founding nations of Canada and many non-native Western Canadians identify Native art as a symbol of Western Canada.

    I'm actually amazed I got placed with that answer come to think of it.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Teach them something new?? Are you mad? All you do in Japan is rehash the same stuff over and over for 15 years. Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

  13. #73
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by spman2099 View Post
    I have a question about this, good sir. What if you were to state that you see merits in both approaches (discipline and reward), but that you tend to favour rewarding good behaviour and only use discipline when it is absolutely necessary, such as when a student is becoming disruptive. Would that also be too much of a fence sitting answer? In general, would it be better to use less mitigating language and be more decisive when replying?
    The appropriate answer is to submit an opinion one way or the other, and then say you will deffer to the teacher because it's not your job. You're an assistant not a teacher.


    Do you remember the question you were asked and the answer you gave, Gizmo?
    Not specifically. It had to do with methodological approaches to teaching and how Japan is a grammar translation focus as compared to a task based methodology with a focus on communication..... but seriously, that was at least 3 years ago.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  14. #74
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny View Post
    I got an amazing collection of Native/First Nations artwork from my grandfather. I told them I would bring a couple of mini hand carved totem poles from the local band.

    The follow up was "why is that important to Canadian culture?"

    To which I answered something to the effect of First Nations people and their art is woven deep into Canadian culture now. Natives are one of the founding nations of Canada and many non-native Western Canadians identify Native art as a symbol of Western Canada.

    I'm actually amazed I got placed with that answer come to think of it.


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    That sounds better than the answer I gave for the "what three things from America would you bring" question- a map of my state, pictures of my neighborhood, and a book I liked so I could share a story I liked with the kids. I think, for those kind of questions, as long as you list the correct number of things and give a decent reason (BS is totally ok) then you should be fine. I actually had to take a moment to think of the third thing and still got in.

  15. #75
    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    Here's where Johnny and I are different. I didn't acknowledge First Nations at all in my interview and said I would mention more stereotypical rural canadian culture instead. They asked me which famous canadian I would introduce them to and I said


    Red green
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  16. #76
    keepin' it real ihatefall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    I got asked to describe the area I am from in one word? Then to elaborate based on that. Followed by describe America in one word? Elaborate. It caught me off guard but I have a pretty good answer.


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    Everything I have ever said was a lie, and that's the truth.

  17. #77

    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    Here's where Johnny and I are different. I didn't acknowledge First Nations at all in my interview and said I would mention more stereotypical rural canadian culture instead. They asked me which famous canadian I would introduce them to and I said


    Red green
    That is a good answer... That may be a blind spot I need to address; I have been focusing on familiarizing myself with Japan too much, I need to start contemplating Canada more. This topic is giving me some things to think about. Useful stuff, guys.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    They're gonna burn you inside a giant wicker anpanman.

  18. #78

    Default Re: Interview Questions and Advice 2014

    Yup, your knowledge of Japan probably matters very little. I barely touched on it and knew shit all about the news.


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  19. #79
    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coop52 View Post
    That sounds better than the answer I gave for the "what three things from America would you bring" question- a map of my state, pictures of my neighborhood, and a book I liked so I could share a story I liked with the kids. I think, for those kind of questions, as long as you list the correct number of things and give a decent reason (BS is totally ok) then you should be fine. I actually had to take a moment to think of the third thing and still got in.
    Honestly, I just said the first thing that came into my head. It was plausible and something I knew enough about to discuss for three or four minutes.

    Also, your answer was actually pretty good. The idea of bringing pictures from your neighbourhood is great. The pictures will be of way more interest to the kids than a totem pole. At that age kids really care about things that relate to them in some way.

    If you show them pictures of which restaurants you frequented, the local mall at which you shopped and where you hung out and could relate those pictures to America, that would be a good answer to the question and actually appeal to the kids.

    The book idea isn't bad either. There is a lot of renowned literature that comes from the States.

    Also, where are you from?


    Quote Originally Posted by Gizmotech View Post
    Here's where Johnny and I are different. I didn't acknowledge First Nations at all in my interview and said I would mention more stereotypical rural canadian culture instead. They asked me which famous canadian I would introduce them to and I said


    Red green
    Hehe, that is brilliant.
    Last edited by johnny; January 20th, 2014 at 22:41.

  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by spman2099 View Post
    That is a good answer... That may be a blind spot I need to address; I have been focusing on familiarizing myself with Japan too much, I need to start contemplating Canada more. This topic is giving me some things to think about. Useful stuff, guys.
    I agree with Jiggit, just know the bare bones since it's very unlikely you'll be asked any questions about Japan. Abe Shinnzo is the PM, the emperor is Palpatine or Akihito, I can't remember...

    If anything, know more about Canada.

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