After having completed the CELTA course I can reflect on the most awkward interview I have ever had. You may want to grab some popcorn for this.

This is our hotel room during CELTA, although we didn't get to enjoy any of it for sleeping, partying, or relaxing whilst there!
This is our hotel room during CELTA, although we didn’t get to enjoy any of it for sleeping, partying, or relaxing whilst there!

I had my skype interview on Wednesday morning mid-June (for September’s intake), just after Auste’s interview. Hers went just great, but mine went like this…

The trainer was not the one I was told it was going to be, but he sounded nice and we exchanged our hellos. He asked me why I wanted to be a teacher and why I chose CELTA and some other questions of similar nature. I had prepared three pages of answers divided into four detailed sections: CELTA, Thailand, Teaching, Chiang Mai. So my answer should have been very organized and professional, right? Basically, in a trembling voice I babbled something like: “All my friends told me it’s very difficult but worth it in the end, and I am looking for a change in career”. What a guy…

Then we went straight into possible teaching scenarios. THREE to be more precise. I expected an easy one, not three. The first one was how I would teach an expression of [something I can’t remember] to a class of lower level students. This one went OK.

The second one was how I would explain the difference between ‘I stopped to smoke’ and ‘I stopped smoking’. This is where it got funny. I explained both of them, but I got the ‘I stopped to smoke’ wrong as I thought it meant: I stopped to smoke [for a second as I saw a big brick falling on one lady’s head across the street]. Yep. That’s me. The trainer was so keen on eliciting the right answer, and luckily Auste started acting out stuff in the room and I realised that I’m an idiot and then I explained it OK.

The final question was how I would teach new ‘appearance’ vocabulary to a class of intermediate students or something. Basically I was shitting my pants by that point and had a complete black out and I started saying things unconsciously, like: “I would try to act something out or ask a student to come in front of the class to do something and I would write the words on the board”, or something as intelligent as that. The guy was really confused as to what I was actually saying as neither me nor Auste understood what I had said! She kind of suggested some things on paper and I started talking again (after taking an uncomfortably long pause).

I mentioned something about using magazines and describing celebrities, but I didn’t make any sense so the interviewer kindly changed the task to how I would get the students talking. By that point my mouth was probably as dry as Sahara desert itself, my palms were sweating like a fat kid on a treadmill and my pen had run out of ink, including that I had broken the lid of it. I kind of blacked-out again thinking about failing the interview, cancelling all my plans, having being dumped all at the same time, and then suddenly heard: “I believe you are a good candidate for this course and your English is very good [and so on…] and we’re looking forward to seeing you on the course.” Basically I just said thank you and all that, hung up, and collapsed on the sofa for a good 20 minutes.

Given the appalling interview, my performance on the course was surprisingly good – I passed all teaching practices, and only had to resubmit the first written assignment (as most of the others had too!)