When preparing for a teaching interview in China, it can be difficult to know what to expect, especially if you’ve only just started searching for a teaching job overseas. There’s a variety of factors influencing exactly how interviews will look, and each school will conduct interviews in their own way. However, a lot of teaching interviews in China generally follow a similar format. In this blog post, we’ll outline what that format is and provide information on what to expect if you have an interview!

Interview Format

Introduction

As with all interviews, there will be an introduction to start with. If you’re an experienced teacher, this will typically be a quick, friendly 5-minute introduction. You’ll likely be asked a few questions about why you’re looking for a new challenge and what your motivations are, as well as being given a basic introduction to the school.

If you’re interviewing for your first-ever teaching position, there’s a good chance the introduction will be a bit longer (10-15 minutes) and may have quite an informal feel to it. This is because most schools with entry-level positions are eager to get more of a feel for a teacher’s personality, enthusiasm and communication skills since they have no teaching experience to be judged on. This means you may be asked some questions about your hobbies and interests, as well as questions relating to your motivation for teaching in China.

Questions

Following the introduction will come some questions. As with the introduction, the nature of this section will be primarily determined by your level of teaching experience. If you’re an experienced teacher, then you can expect the questions to be academic-focused. You’ll likely be asked about your previous teaching experience in great detail, such as what curriculums and age groups you’ve taught, and what environments you’ve taught in. You’ll also likely be asked some teacher scenario questions. These could be linked to teaching techniques, classroom management or behaviour management. There may also be some competency questions asked, usually with an academic focus to them though. For example, ‘Tell me about a recent challenge you faced within the classroom.’ Typically, once all of these questions have been answered the interviewer will ask about any particular teaching preferences you have, such as a preferred age group, teaching style, curriculum etc.

New teachers who don’t have any previous experience to be quizzed on will find this section of the interview a bit different. Most of the questions asked here are likely basic competency questions (some with a link to teaching), or basic behaviour scenario questions. For example:

‘Tell me about a recent time you’ve had to work well under pressure.’

‘What’s one of your main strengths and how do you think this would be useful when teaching?’

‘How would you deal if you had an upset student in your classroom?’

These questions are usually asked to get a teacher thinking on their feet and to check that they have some basic understanding of what a teaching job entails.

Information Provided

Once all questions have been answered, teachers are then given a plethora of information that encompasses the opportunity as a whole (some interviewers will do this section after the introduction, but most leave it until the end). The interviewer will provide information on the specifics of the job, discussing things like:

  • Curriculum
  • Schedule
  • Classroom environment
  • School environment
  • Teacher training
  • Extra responsibilities

Their aim here will be to give the teacher a solid understanding of what a typical day at work looks like. Following this, they’ll then provide information about life outside of school (especially if the teacher will be moving to China for the first time). Here they’ll mention things like:

  • Cost of living
  • Accommodation
  • Expat community / social scene
  • Orientation
  • Things to do
  • Vacation
  • Transport
  • Day-to-day living

This information is designed to show teachers how their general life in China would look, were they to work for this school and in this location. We advise all teachers to ask plenty of questions during this stage of the interview, to gain an understanding of whether this school and role aligns with what they’re looking for!

Demo

Some schools will conduct a one-stage interview and then make a decision. However, other schools will require a demo lesson to be done. In this case, the school will provide you with the materials and an explanation of what they’re looking for, and you’ll be given some time to prepare. The demo is usually around 10 minutes, and you’ll either be asked to record yourself doing it or present it live over a video call.

For experienced teachers, the school will be looking for you to demonstrate clearly how you would teach a specific topic, with a solid structure and distinct teaching style expected. You may also be asked to provide a lesson plan. All of this is done so that the school can ensure you’d be a suitable fit for the role. 

For inexperienced teachers, the demo requirements will be quite basic. The main things the school will be looking for are good presentation, enthusiasm and high energy levels. If the teaching style displayed needs some improvement, this won’t necessarily be held against you. Most entry-level teaching jobs come with training at the start, where basic teaching techniques and lesson planning will be taught.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to teaching interviews in China, it is worth noting that the nationality of the interviewer can greatly impact how well the interview flows. Some interviewers will be native English speakers, perhaps of the same nationality as the teacher. In this case, there won’t be any communication issues, and it’s easy for rapport to be built. 

On the other hand, as you’d expect, a lot of people conducting teaching interviews in China will be… Chinese. Whilst most will speak a decent level of English, it’s common that these interviews can sometimes feel a little rigid. If you have an experience like this, please keep in mind that it’s likely the language barrier and cultural differences have simply limited how smoothly the conversation could flow. It’s in no way an indication that your interview hasn’t gone well!

If you’ve got a teaching interview in China coming up, then we hope you’ve found this blog post useful. For more interview advice, please check out our 10 Interview Tips For Teachers. If you don’t yet have any interviews for teaching in China, but you’re interested in doing so then please Apply Now!