Jun 20, 2010

How do I prepare for the JET interview?

Congratulations! You're selected for round 2 of the JET application- THE interview segment. Yup, there's only ONE interview for the entire JET application process.

When is the interview?
Here's my personal experience, as a Singaporean JET. Not sure, if it applies for all nationalities.

CIR- early May
(I was informed 1 week in advance via email from the Embassy of Japan in Singapore)

ALT- early Feb
(I was informed 2 weeks in advance via email from the Embassy of Japan in Singapore)

How is the interview like?
I'll cover both CIR and ALT interviews:

CIR Interview
There are 2 components:
  1. Interview in English
  2. Japanese Language Test
Interview in English
For the interview, the panel will ask you a number of questions, ranging from how you can organise grassroots activities for your community to how to teach English to children.

It will mainly circle around the "Statement of Purpose", and based on the contents written, more questions will be spurned from it. Hence, do know the contents of your essay well.

This segment is in English.

CIR is sometimes required to teach as well, somewhat similar to an ALT. Hence, do not forget to prepare yourself for questions pertaining to teaching. You may be required to teach school students and/or adults.

Japanese Language Test
This is similar to an oral examination. There will be 2 Japanese passages. You will be required to read it silently first. After that, you have to read them aloud to the panel. After that, the panel will ask 5 questions about the passage. The last few questions are more general, relating to the passage. They may require you to relate personal experiences.

This segment is in Japanese.

This is taken from the note they give to all CIR candidates: You will be evaluated not only on the accuracy of your answers but also, the speed of response.

ALT Interview
There is no Japanese Language Test segment, but there are 2 segments, one in English, and the other in Japanese.

My interview in English forms most part of the entire interview process. Hence, do not worry too much about the Japanese segment.

English Interview
The panel will start by asking questions, based on your "Statement of Purpose". And from there, more questions will be spurned off. Hence, do review what you have written in the essay.

Most of the questions relate to teaching. I was asked to give examples of how I would teach a grammar structure/ introduce aspects of Singapore/ cater my lessons for different age groups, etc.

The panel did ask me if I could teach Chinese as well. Some students do learn it as an enrichment subject in schools.

Japanese Interview
This portion is more light-hearted. The panel asked general questions such as have I been to Japan, which part of Japan do I like best and why, etc.

How do I prepare for the interview?
First of all, read and re-read your Statement of Purpose. A lot of questions will be asked based on that, as the panel seeks clarification on certain points identified from the essay. Hence, it's important for you to be very familiar with your Statement of Purpose.

Think of scenarios of how you would like to teach your class. Your target audience can be as young as elementary school children (primary school according to Singapore's educational system) to teenagers in high school (upper secondary- according to Singapore's educational system). Or even adults in your community. Hence, you have to customise accordingly.

Also, do note that the Japanese students are learning it as a second language, which is quite different from us, as we learn it as a first language. You will need to customise in this area as well.

Find out more about other JETs' experiences. What are the typical questions asked? And prepare for these answers.

Here're some videos from Jason's vlog, which helped a lot during my preparation:

Lastly, do not forget to be yourself. Be sincere and truthful. Via the interview, your passion, and your drive will be conveyed to the panel. :)

How many people are there on the panel?
There are 3 people for both my CIR and ALT interview panels. There will be officials from Japan and an ex-JET in the interview panel.

All the best for your JET interview!