By number of native speakers, Spanish is the second most spoken language of the world, trailing only Mandarin Chinese. What’s more, people speak Spanish in some of the most beautiful corners of the world. Think Mexico, Argentina, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and of course, mainland Spain and Canary Islands.
Young people want to learn Spanish, and teachers are in demand by both public educational institutions and private organizations. Let’s have a look at some questions you may face while interviewing for this interesting occupation.
Can you tell us more about your experience with the Spanish language?
The best experience you can have is being a native Spanish speaker. That beats anything else in my book. In such a case, simply tell them that you’ve been born in a Spanish speaking country, and how many years of your life you’ve spent living there.
If you aren’t native, however, you can still get the job. Talk about your work, studies, or volunteering in any Spanish speaking country. If you studied Spanish at the University, or got some certificates, or taught Spanish before, mention it and explain how it helped you to improve your skills.
Ensure the interviewers that you have a daily contact with the language, speaking Spanish with some of your peers or with family back home, reading books, giving classes in your free time, etc.
Why do you want to work as a teacher at our school (institute, for our organization)?
You should do your homework. Learn something about your prospective employer–the courses they offer to students, teaching methods they use, their reputation, some special events they organize for students (excursions to Spanish speaking countries for example).
Basically you should find something that you like about their place, and praise it in your interview answer. They should get an impression that you chose their place on purpose, that you do actually care about your future place of work.
If you cannot find anything special, however, you can refer to shift patterns or mode of education (in classes, distant, online, at student’s place), saying that it fits perfectly your existing routine and duties you have outside of work.
What teaching methods do you prefer while teaching Spanish and why?
Almost all language schools and institutes have dashed lecturing for good, many years ago. You can point out direct method, communicative language teaching, or any other method that you have experience with.
If you apply for a job with some language institute, they probably advertise their teaching methods on their website. Check them out, learn more, and refer to them in your answer.
Another alternative consists in emphasizing individual approach to each student or classroom. You have experience with various teaching methods, will always consider the most appropriate method for a given student or group of students, and teach accordingly. What’s more, you do not mind changing your teaching method in the middle of the lesson, if it doesn’t work as expected.
What is your way of dealing with disruptive students?
Doesn’t matter if you teach Spanish at secondary school or at a private institute. You will always have some problematic students in your classes. Even here you have a few options for a good answer.
First one is saying that if students are disruptive, it means that you need to improve the quality of your teaching. You will experiment with teaching methods with disruptive students, trying to improve the level of engagement, trying to find something that works.
This attitude makes sense especially when people pay for their education. Paying clients typically want to learn the language, and disruptive behavior indicates that you should improve something about your teaching.
In a public school setting, however, you can refer to a strong hand and clear rules of discipline. Following the procedures they have in place at their school, you will take an immediate disciplinary action against the disruptive student. You will do your best to ensure that other students (who want to learn a language) can continue their education, and do not suffer because of one undisciplined individual.
What role does reporting and monitoring play in your work?
You should definitely give it some importance, because all serious schools and institutes will require you to do some reporting. But you can take it one step further, explaining how you do reporting because you really care for the results of your students.
Say that you plan to set a goal for each student, or each group. This isn’t something that comes out of the blue. You will always ask the students about their goals and expectations, and do some initial screening and testing to see how they fare in Spanish at the start of the education cycle (a year, one semester, three months, any other meaningful period).
Once you know what you want to achieve with your students, you will regularly monitor their progress (for example with simple monthly tests), and you will also do your reports, for the leaders of the institute and perhaps also for your successor (if you have to leave the job for any reason). All interviewers will appreciate such an attitude to work.
* Special Tip: Do you want to practice your interview answers later? Download the list of all questions in a one page long PDF, and practice anytime later:
What type of students and lessons do you prefer to teach?
This question makes sense especially in private and public language institutes. Each bigger institute runs a variety of classes–for children, teenagers, adults, business people, whatever. And you can definitely have your preferences, as long as you can justify them.
For example, if you have some background in business (had your own company before, but things did not work out and you had to quit), you may prefer business clientele, and one on one lessons. You do so because you have something to talk about with these people. Having a similar background and things to talk about together, they should enjoy the lessons with you.
And if you are good with children–perhaps raising one at home, you can say that you prefer to teach groups of children. You know the teaching methods that work with kids, and understand their emotional world. Hence it is possible for you to lead an engaging lesson for your young learners, and to maintain some discipline in the classroom–which is always tricky with small children.
You can also ensure the interviewers that while you have some preferences you are open for all options, and do not have prejudice against any group of learners.
Some other questions you may face in your Spanish Teacher job interview
- How will you motivate your students to try their best in the lessons?
- What is your opinion on information technology in the classroom?
- What are your salary expectations?
- Describe a time when you struggled to communicate something to one of your students or colleagues. What did you do to eventually get your message over?
- Why did you leave your last job?
- If we walk into your classroom in the middle of the lesson, what will we see?
- After everything we discussed in this interview, do you have any questions?
Conclusion, next steps
What exactly will happen in your interview for a job of a Spanish Teacher depends a lot on your future place of work. Interviews with language institutes are typically easier, and you won’t face any tricky behavioral questions. On the other hand, they may ask you to mock a Spanish lesson, right in the interview. Such a task isn’t easy, especially if you haven’t taught anyone for a while.
At a public school you will typically interview in front of a small panel, consisting of one or two administrators, and a senior teacher, or a head of a foreign language education department. They won’t ask you to mock a lesson and may not even test your Spanish skills, which makes it a bit easier.
On the other hand, personal preferences always play a role in such interviews. If someone in the panel doesn’t like you (for whatever reason, can be even something personal), they may send you home. And they won’t give you any sensible explanation…
In any case, you should focus on things which you can control. Do a good research about your future place of work, prepare for the possible interview questions, and do not forget to check also the following articles:
- Salary negotiation tips – Your options are limited at schools, but at private language institute you definitely have an opportunity to negotiate at least a slightly better salary.
- How to overcome interview nerves – Simple guide that will help you overcome your anxiety.
- Interview preparation guide – List of articles about effective interview preparation.