Thursday, August 23, 2012

I hope this was the last one

This morning I'm still shaking my head over last night's interview...which was the 2nd and last interview in this particular set.  

Nighttime interviews are BRUTAL. You have ALL DAY to sit and think about it. And the idea of doing role plays over the phone with a stranger half a world away was really stressing me out. So much so that I did the only reasonable thing: I took a 2 hour nap just before the interview. Then those final minutes waiting for the phone to ring and the interview to begin…TIME HAS NEVER MOVED SO SLOWLY! I must have run to pee 5 times…including about 30 seconds before the designated time, taking the phone with me and chanting "don'tringdon'tringdon'tring." It didn't. Thank you, Jesus.

I had been told to prepare to role play the written interview task, and when I looked it over, of the 6 sections, it seemed there were 3 suitable for role playing so I focused on those. But her first question out of the gate: "I'm just curious, but tell me about your thought process behind the creative writing task." I could hear her trying not to laugh. I don't know if that was good or bad. The idea of coming up with a cogent response just made me burst out laughing. When I realized she really wanted an answer, I may have said something truly brilliant like, "I don't know…I just wrote about what I like…you know…art….and….monkeys?" Though seriously, have you ever stared down a hostile baboon? That junk is terrifying. Which is to say, YES, I have. Come on…hasn't everyone? How do you make it this far in life and that DOESN'T come up? More than once?? But I refrained from sharing these stories from her. Smart move, I'm thinkin'.

Then, despite my many carefully honed and crafted stalling ploys, we get to the dreaded role plays. She directs me to a section and says, "I see you opted to write a sample for part B. Well, we're going to role play part A." Awesome. Now we're winging it. HOW WAS I GOING TO KEEP MONKEYS FROM ENTERING THIS SCENARIO? Because clearly that's where I go. But I was explaining the difference between "famous" and "popular" to a middle manager in his 50s, so I did my best to push monkeys out of my mind. NOT EASY. She gave me a moment to prepare, and then we started. I'm sorry, but when she busted out a thick Japanese accent and pretended to not speak English, I almost lost it. Time stopped, I stepped outside my body and observed the scene, and the surrealism of it all just about knocked me over: It is 10pm, I'm sitting on my bedroom floor in my PJs, talking to a woman in Japan who speaks English perfectly but is pretending to be a man who doesn't, and now I have to make up a lesson on the spot to help her understand how Hitler is famous but not popular, all so I can get a job in TOKYO as an ENGLISH TEACHER. Well, kids, I set that aside and I muddled through. I MUDDLED THROUGH. Plus two more role plays after that. SO. BIZARRE.

Overall, I have no idea how it really went. I just know I survived, albeit thoroughly drenched in a cold sweat...AGAIN.  I don't know how many people they take through this process, and how my practically nonexistent ESL credentials and spastic on-the-spot teaching compare to other applicants. Teaching jobs in Tokyo seem to be pretty competitive, but if this is where God wants me to go, then that's where I'll go. He's going to have to slam the door shut pretty tightly before I'll give up. Or seriously consider that unsolicited job offer I got from Taiwan (true story). But for now, I wait.

Here's a picture of monkeys while you wait with me:

This book is in English from the front

And Japanese from the back...but that's an elephant and a pig, right? And a desert? 
I'm thinking it's a different story. 


  1. I think these videos should be the basis of your next interview, and in all actuality, the foundation of your English teaching curriculum. "I have a bad case of diarrhea" + exercise = win/win situation for everyone.

    1. LOVE! And I love that it says "Fraulein" on their sports bras. Yeah, this is win/win all around. xo


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