Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gaba Information Seminar & Interview

This evening I went to my first Gaba interview of this year. I decided to re-apply at my old teaching job because they offer such amazing flexibility that it would work perfectly with my constantly-changing University schedule.

The Headquarters had moved from Ebisu to Motoyoyogi, so I took the Chuo line to Shinjuku, and then used the Odakyu Odawara line (which goes to Hakone) to Yoyogi Hachiman station (代々木八幡駅). It was raining quite heavily and it was already dark so I was there in my suit with my umbrella and a piece of paper with the directions written in quickly smudged ink, probably looking very confused.

The directions weren't as clear as they were for the other HQ, so it took me nearly half an hour to get it right. I didn't realise that you had to go under the elevated four-lane road and go up the stairs on the opposite side to the station, but it made sense once I figured that out.

I took the lift to the fourth floor and dialled the number it told me to on the directions on a phone in the main lobby, and let them know I had arrived. It was exactly the same as 2008 - they came out to get us fifteen minutes before the scheduled start of 5.00pm and asked us to fill in personal data sheets. There were only six of us in the conference room, and the woman who rang me last week to offer me the interview was conducting it.

It was exactly the same set-up as last time - there was a 30-minute Powerpoint presentation explaining about the details of the lessons and pay etc. This was followed by us being called up to the 8th floor in pairs for individual interviews, while we completed the post-seminar booklet, which is basically a mini-test.

The presentation made me feel very nostalgic, seeing all the things I used to use nearly every day.

The test was very similar to last time I took it. The first question was very simple, but unfortunately I can't remember what it was!

The second question was the same as in 2008. There was a grammar table, where we had to fill in the past, present, future, and perfect and continuous forms of the verb "to teach". I didn't do very well on the "perfect" bit... Better to look those terms up if you don't know what they mean!

The third was a lesson plan, in which we had to explain how we would tailor a lesson on agreeing and disagreeing to a particular student, whose profile we were given. It was the same fictional student as two years ago, but a different lesson plan.

The next was matching idioms to their meanings, and then writing another idiom and definition.

The last question asked who you would choose to be your foreign language teacher and why. I decided on Stephen Fry, because he would be amazing!

I was in the first pair to be called up to the interview. I wasn't nervous about it once I was in the seminar room, but I had been very nervous during the day.

The interview went fine, and he welcomed me back to Gaba, which I thought was a very good sign. But then it came to looking at my work permit and my student ID validity period. He asked me to read the kanji on my work permit (he wasn't Japanese), and I told him what it said. He said that there might be a problem in that my ICU student ID runs out at the end of June, even though my visa and work permit end in November, as the six-month Gaba contract would last until July.

He said he would have to check with Gaba's administration department, and would then get back to me via email within the next couple of days. I'm not too worried about it, but I really do hope that it's okay and I can work there! I need a job!

Overall, the seminar and interview lasted about an hour and a half, and I was back in the rain by 7pm.

There are blog posts about my experiences with second and third interviews at Gaba further back in my blog. Also Certification (training).

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