Day two is considerably shorter than day one. Which is nice, but also leaves you with nerves at the end, a lot of them.
So, if you get the personal interview, you are invited to come back the next day. They assign you an interview time, so it’s your job to make sure you’re there on time. Since I stayed at a hotel about 15 minutes away, I had to give myself plenty of time to prepare in the morning to be there by 9:15.
I got there with some time to spare, so I went up to the third floor of the hotel and waited outside the room. I could hear snippets of the person interviewing before me, which only added to my nerves. A fellow interviewee came up a few minutes after I did, so we talked and discussed some of the things we had learned the previous day before I was called in.
Lars is an intimidating person, but he knows what is best for the company. At the time, I was mad that I had gotten Lars as my interviewer, instead of Derek, because I viewed Derek as more laid-back and less intimidating. But now, in hindsight, I’m really glad I had Lars. He’s tough on you, but he’s tough for a reason; he wants to make sure you can fit the AEON standard and that it’s not going to be too tough on you.
The interview starts off with a mock lesson plan. You are given the sample from one of the AEON textbooks and asked to prepare a lesson in 10 minutes. He then leaves the room and let’s you get to it.
I’ve NEVER taught before… I did some minor tutoring in college, but that was about it. I went through the lesson plan to get the basics of what was required, figured out what each image was, and then talked myself out of my nerves. At this point, I was so nervous my mouth had gotten dry.
He came back into the room, in full ‘Japanese student’ mode. He acts as Yohei who was a beginner in the language. I taught my lesson, which went surprisingly better than I expected, and then he asked me what I thought my strengths/weaknesses of the lesson were. We went over those, and one of my weaknesses he actually wanted to point out, so he was surprised that I had picked out one of things he was going to tell me.
After this, he shows you how an AEON teacher would do the lesson and wants you to mimic it as best you can. This is really the true test, and the most important part of the interview (at least this is what I believe). They want to know if you can learn something (either from being taught or demonstrated) and mimic it back almost as well. AEON will mold you into an AEON teacher, you just have to be pliable. I was still incredibly nervous, so I messed up a bit at the beginning, but as I fell into the routine and remembered what Lars had said, I gained confidence and managed to finish the lesson.
After you give you lesson plan, you go back through your strengths/weaknesses again. It can be really hard to think about it on the spot, so be prepared for some fast-thinking.
After the lesson plan portion, you go through a typical working day at AEON. You discuss what a normal day is like, how lobby talk works and what you should be doing on breaks to help the office run smoothly. It is, after all, a business. A couple things you learn in the information section will pop back up here, so make sure you really pay attention.
Lastly, you’ll get the normal interview questions: Why do you want to work in Japan? Why AEON? How prepared will you be? They also go back over your quiz/questions from the previous day. If you feel you did badly on the grammar/spelling, RESEARCH IT. I did, and he asked me if I knew how to spell the words I had gotten wrong the previous day. I spelled all of them correctly, and he was really impressed. He said most people actually DON’T go home and look-it up, so when he asks them again, they still get it wrong.
You’ll spend the last few minutes discussing school choices and availability date, and then, viola, it’s over. By the time we reached the end of my interview, I was so mentally and emotionally exhausted I was ready to go home. They tell you they’ll inform you within 10 business days what their decision is, and thus begins the waiting game.
If you haven’t noticed, or you haven’t read any of my other posts, I was offered a position with AEON.
Lars called me roughly a week after my initial interview and offered me a position with AEON. He informed me that he would begin looking for a position for me immediately, and would call me as soon as something came up. 2 days later he called me again, and had an open position for me already.
It’s in Meinohama, Fukuoka, Japan. He told me to research it, get a feel for the city and to decide if it was a placement I wanted. This is honestly the best part, and why I really enjoyed having Lars as my recruiter. He is very business-oriented. He gets right to the point and doesn’t beat around the bush when on the phone. He is also a very pleasant person to talk to. I feel like he pulled the best out of me during my interview; because he was my interviewer, I stepped up my game even further, which I feel helped me get the job.
So… sorry for digressing, I looked it up and decided I really liked this place. Fukuoka is the 6th largest city in Japan, it has the international airport I’ve flown into right downtown, and has decent weather. It’s going to get really humid, but I think I can manage it. Meinohama is also 2 hours from one of my closest friends who lives in Yamaguchi, Japan. That’s a weekend trip, and I couldn’t be more happy about it.
So, we had agreed I was going to call him later that week, and I did, telling him I would gladly accept the position. He sent me out a packet with all the stuff I needed: foreign teachers manual, Contract of Employment, Visa Application and some other info about AEON. He gave me roughly a week to go through it, read the material and come up with any questions I had. I called him the following week, we discussed a couple important things, and then I sent back all of my signed paperwork, and the $250 processing fee.
When you accept the job with AEON, they require a $250 processing fee for your paperwork, etc. However, upon your arrival in Japan, AEON gives you a 22,000 yen living stipend to help you with initial costs… So you’re basically getting that $250 back.
Now, all that’s left is for me to save up my money and make sure I’ve got everything set to leave.
I’ve set a date for my going away party: September 21. I’m really looking forward to it.
The only negative to this whole thing is: A) I have to sell my brand new car… and B) I have to find a good home for my rabbit
Other than that, I can’t wait! It’s going to be an exciting new experience and bring many new adventures.
Oh, and one very IMPORTANT NOTE: Lars and Derek both referred to me as the ‘Girl Who Didn’t Smile.’ Make sure you show them that not only are you capable, confident and the right fit for the job… SMILE. Be happy. Be excited. I was having a stressful week and the corners of my mouth naturally turn down. So if I’m not actively telling myself to smile, I look angry. SMILE. SMILE. SMILE. Be happy, enthusiastic, energetic. If I didn’t get the job, I knew it would be because I was the ‘Girl Who Didn’t Smile.’