You got an interview with JET! Congratulations! I remember being very nervous and scoured the Internet for tips and advice on how to do well on the interview. I decided to return the favor and write up what happened during my interview in hopes it will help someone else!
Don’t forget the obvious. Dress extra nice and arrive early, but of course not too early. These are your first impressions. Make it good!
The scene: I checked into a large room where I waited with other JET candidates. There were three former JETs who were checking people in and out. We could ask them questions while we waited. Three people, a Japanese man, a Japanese woman, and an American woman (a former JET) interviewed me.
Be bright, cheerful and enthusiastic! Take note on this because this is probably the most important tip to succeed during your interview! The JET program is looking for people to work with children. Have you ever seen a kindergarten teacher that was dull, serious, and monotone? The best teachers of young people display an energy and enthusiasm that gets the students excited to learn. While you may not have to work with kindergarten students, try to pull off a happy energetic personality in your interview.
How are you when you’re alone? This was the main question they asked me multiple times during the JET interview. Could I function all right if I was alone for long periods of time? They wanted to know what kind of solo activities I did to keep myself busy. I said I liked to do yoga, read, cook, watch movies, chat online, and email friends. I also told them about times I experienced being alone. I shared two big moves I made and how I spent much time alone before I started making close friends to hang out with. I told them how I did fine, and found many enjoyable activities to occupy my time.
The sample teaching lesson. The other main thing they asked me to do was a sample teaching lesson. The interviewers acted as students. They gave me a topic and I could basically do anything I wanted with it. This is your big chance to show them that you will be an awesome teacher and can help Japanese students thrive in English!
Use the board, gestures, etc. When teaching English (or any foreign language), it is important to use other mediums than just words to convey your message. This means getting out of your seat, gesturing, drawing pictures, making sound effects, and anything else to help get the message across. In my interviewing room, there was a white board. If you are also lucky to have one, use it to draw pictures and write important words. Don’t be embarrassed to over gesture, or act a little silly! Being an entertaining teacher will make the interviewers (and your future students) love you.
Repeat after me! Be sure to include in your sample lesson times where the “students” repeat some vocabulary after you. It’s important for the students to not just sit and listen to a lecture, but to also do something active. Try to add a gesture or point to a picture you have drawn to help emphasize the word. It will help clarify the meaning to students of all levels.
After I finished my quick sample lesson, the interview was basically over. They asked if I could say basic greetings in Japanese. I was all ready to bust out a very practiced version of “ohayo gozaimasu!” (good morning), but they didn’t give me a chance and moved onto the next question. I prepared answers to questions relating Japanese culture, current events or history. I was also ready to answer how I would react to certain cultural controversial situations. However, I didn’t need any of that! Based on my experience, the most important things were showing an energetic, happy disposition along with a strong sample lesson. Good luck!