Saturday, November 06, 2004

November 4th - 5th: The AEON Interviews

I drove down to Toronto on Wednesday November 3rd, and stayed at the Holiday Inn right off the 401 at Markham road... about a 30 minute drive to Downtown and my interview.

Got up in the morning, put on my suit, had breakfast at the hotel and headed on down to AEON's offices. Found it well enough, parked at First Canadian Place, (ironically within view of Ogilvy Renault's Toronto offices) had lunch and dropped by the office at 12:45 for my 1PM interview.

The initial phase of AEON's interview process is a Group interview, so we ended up being 8 in the group. Met Sean and Ayumi, the AEON recruiters in Toronto, they seem very nice. The first 3 hours were more of an info session on AEON, their structure, values, etc. and living in Japan than an interview. They showed a video of some of their teachers' daily activities, and went over the general facts of living in Japan. After a short break, the group reviewed the contract stipulations. Once that was done, it was practice teaching time. We had been told to bring a 30 minute lesson plan focusing on conversation and to give a 5 minute segment during the interview using other interviewees as students. Since we'd already been together in this conference room for a few hours, everyone was at ease with each other and the presentations went well. I chose to do a quick warm-up exercise whereby I pinned the name of a career to the backs of each student without them seeing it. The class then had to mingle and by asking questions, figure out what job they had. Went very well, I was the only one to get positive feedback about the exercise from the group, woohoo! After the practice session, they handed out a short quiz to fill out and then secluded themselves in the conference room for 20 minutes.

When they emerged they had letters for each of us which we were to open once we were alone. Of course, everyone I was with in the elevator on the way down opened theirs. I was asked to come back the next day at 11AM for a second interview. Of course since I hadn't planned on this, I had to call and leave Marc a message that I wasn't going to be in on Friday.

After the interview, I got talking with 2 guys from the Group, Wasim and Steve and we ended up heading out for a bite to eat. Wasim completed a degree in Asian Studies and has recently returned from Japan where he spent 2 years in the JET program, while Steve is a business graduate with a B.Ed. Great conversation, learned alot from Wasim, we all exchanged emails and promised to keep in touch. PARKING cost me almost 50$ for 8 hours!!!

Back to the hotel, book a room for a second night at a higher rate since I hadn't reserved...ugh... nice hotel though, free high speed internet in the rooms, brand new building...

Next morning, dressed again, and off to downtown T.O. This time it was a private interview with Sean and Ayumi. Bunch of typical interview questions, what would you do if..., strengths, weaknesses, etc. Self evaluation of yesterday's teaching session with some feedback from them. They say I have a very good presence in class, I make my students feel very comfortable, my tone is appropriate, etc... also said I could work on a few things, better preparation, etc. They then gave me ten minutes to setup a 5 minute teaching session based on two pages in the student manual. They came back and acted like typical Japanese students. Went relatively well, another self evaluation session and feedback from them. The final phase was a list of question related to where I wanted to teach and what type of school I wanted to teach in. The bottom line ended up that I want to teach in a school where I am not the only foreign teacher, in a medium size city, close to ski resorts.

Off I went back to Ottawa. After my discussions with Wasim and others in the group, I decided to cancel my other interviews and pin my hopes on AEON. Their reputation is better, I liked what I heard in the info sessions and got a generally good feeling about the organization as a whole.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am interviewing with Aeon in march and am stumped on the lesson plan! have lots of ideas but i'm not sure what or which to do! Any ideas?

4:45 PM  
Blogger Michel Lafleur said...

Well quite simply, just pick one and go with it... the important part is the section that you will be modeling in the interview. Make sure you are comfortable with that section of it, make a few run throughs with some friends to see how it goes, what language to use to explain things and such... and you'll be fine. Good luck!

6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell me what you think of this Idea.
I was thinking of using a guessing game where one student sits in front of the class and describes a person (I was thinking of using Michael Jackson) and the rest of the class draws the person being described. During the description I would encourage the students to ask questions about the person then after each student has, each reveals thier drawing which I hope should be rather humorous.

I like this idea but is it a good basis for a lesson plan?

7:13 PM  
Blogger Michel Lafleur said...

Well that's a good exercise yes, but you would first have to actually teach adjectives to describe people and such... but yes, that would be a good thing to do, in a smaller class it would work well.

You can email me at if you have any questions, easier than talking through these comments... I will be in Tokyo tomorrow, but will be back in touch on Monday (Sunday for you)

7:52 PM  

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