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Asking the right questions (at a private language school) during a TEFL interview

By Sheila Corwin

Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

Knowing the right questions to ask during a TEFL job interview is very important (especially for new TEFL teachers). Here are some ideas and tips to help prepare you for your upcoming interviews.

Things you’ll need:

Copies of your CV/Resume

Teaching Portfolio

The Right Questions

If you land a job interview at a private language school, think about what kinds of questions you’d like to ask your potential employer beforehand. 
If you need help, use the following list as a guide to help you during your TEFL interview.

  • How many working hours (approximately) can be guaranteed per week/month)?
  • What are the non-teaching duties, if any?
  • How many students are in each class?
  • What kinds of students (business, adults, children, general English)?
  • Is most teaching for class groups or one-on-one?
  • Are most classes onsite and if not is reimbursement for travel expenses given?
  • What materials and teaching resources are available at the school?
  • Do teachers have access to a copy machine and how many copies are allowed?
  • Is any professional or career development offered or available?
  • Is there a probation period?
  • What kinds of contracts are offered, if any?
  • How much is the salary or wage per hour?
  • How often are teachers paid?
  • What about tax issues and salary after tax?
  • Cost of visa?
  • Are flights paid for or reimbursed?
  • What kind of help is provided with accommodation?
  • Is health insurance included, if not what do they suggest?
  • What is the cost of living in the area?
  • What is the cost of local transport in the area?
  • How early can you start?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Good luck with your interviews!


    • Jobs in private language schools usually don’t pay teachers for their lesson planning preparation time. What is paid for is the in-class face to face hours with your students (i.e., your time teaching in the classroom).
    • Be aware that any more than 20 (max 30) hours in the classroom is just about the limit for any teacher.
    • Keep in mind that you need time for lesson planning, grading or commenting on students’ written work, and last but not least, time to recuperate from teacher/student contact.