It goes without saying that demo lessons are the bane of any English teacher. They are a necessary evil.
If you have no idea what I’m even talking about, let me enlighten you. Demo lessons are so that hiring schools or language centers located across the globe from you can be sure that you can actually teach their students before having you sign the dotted line. When you look at it from that perspective it totally makes sense, although that doesn’t make it any less of an awkward experience. The interviews are normally after an initial interview where they learned about who you are. The school will then sometimes ask you to prepare a demo Skype lesson. (dun dun dun)
The nerves are high, the situation is unknown, and a lot is on the line. Here are a few tips to help you do your best and land that job offer!
Write Detailed Lesson Plan
This should go without saying but, DO NOT “WING” ANYTHING! Be more detailed on this lesson plan than you would in a real life plan; not only will that help with nerves but it will help the interviewer to anticipate what they would like you to do in the interview. They’ll give you a lesson length and sometimes give you a topic or allow you to be totally free in that department. Write out all the interactions (Student to Teacher etc), detailed instructions for activities, potential questions and answers, heck, write out what you want to say word-for-word! That might seem like overkill but it’s not, I promise!
Send in Beforehand
Sometimes they may ask for this, but even if that’s not specified, I would suggest sending it in anyway. It gives the school interviewer an opportunity to look over your style, anticipate questions to ask, and more specifics on what they would like to see you do. Think about it this way: if the interviewer hasn’t seen your plan then they’re just going to have you do the whole lesson; but if they’ve looked over it in advance they might just ask you to explain a couple parts. (This is what happened with me, glorious!)
Have Visuals, if possible
Now this won’t always be possible, but if you could have the worksheets, photos, or even a wipe off board – that’ll help a lot! It’ll show you’re committed, you put work into your lesson, and will help to make the lesson less of an unpleasant experience. *Send in your worksheets with your lesson plan
Practice! Practice! Practice!
If you’ve been teaching for years then this next tip could maybe fall under the unnecessary pile, but if you’re the least bit nervous or a new teacher then you MUST practice! I don’t care if it feels stupid teaching your cat about the past perfect tense, those run throughs will make a huge difference. If you have a parent or friend at your disposal go through it two ways: first where the “student” does everything (repeating, answer questions etc) and second where the “student” stays totally silent. Skype lessons with the interviewer can go either way and you probably won’t know if they will be participating or not until the actual interview.
Have Extra Material
You never know what will happen in an interview and just in case the interviewer doesn’t connect with one of your activities or wants another spontaneous idea, have a couple extra tricks up your sleeve. On mine in the past I had both a worksheet and game option for a couple steps. This shows them that you could be successful with a wide range of students and just how darn creative you can be!
Swallow Pride and Suck It Up!
It’s uncomfortable. I’m not gonna sugar coat it. Even if you truly love teaching, a demo lesson is an audition and a lot is on the line. However, keep in mind that the school is rooting for you! They want you to be great and they want to hire you if you made it past that first interview. It’s your job to be prepared and then sell it. Show them that you can communicate and are an exciting educator who has a passion for the English language! When that Skype call comes in you just have to be willing to suck it up and push through!