Here are some useful pointers on what to do before and during your demo class:
1. What to Prepare
“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” – Bobby Unser
Arriving to an interview prepared not only impresses your interviewer but is also a reflection of your character that your resume and achievements don’t always clearly show.
-Find out about your audience. Will it be just the faculty or will there be students? What are the ages of the students? What is their level? How many students are there? Will there be mixed ages and levels in the class? Prepare age-appropriate and level-appropriate materials. Make sure that it is not too easy or too hard for the students but also that you have activities that are suitable for a range of abilities.
-Ask if you can observe a class before your demo class. It would be best if you can request to arrive the day before your demonstration lesson so you can prepare better. Find out about the style of teaching of the school. Some schools prefer including games and activities in their lesson while others are strict by-the-book.
-Find out whether you are being assigned a particular topic or you can choose freely what you’d like to teach. Some schools assume that as an experienced teacher, it is not necessary to inform you of this and that you can easily come up with a teaching plan even with just a few minutes before your demo class. It won’t hurt to find out and asking this will show the interviewer that you are proactive and responsible.
-Ask what resources are available in the classroom, smart boards are gaining popularity these days. If you can show that you are capable of utilizing the latest technology in education, that would be beneficial. Otherwise, make good use of the available resources. If you are printing handouts, make sure that you prepare extra copies. Consider any possible circumstances that may occur on your demo class.
-Always create a lesson plan to give to your interviewer. This will give your observers a clear idea on the target language to be taught, the activities involved and a general structure of how you will teach.
2. DO NOT arrive on time
Instead, arrive earlier. In the Japanese culture, arriving “on time” is actually considered late. The work culture of the Japanese has always been praised and recognized by many – punctuality is just one of them. You also don’t want to arrive at school stressed out because you spent too much of your energy worrying about being late.
3. It’s OK to be nervous, but still appear confident
Sometimes, even experienced teachers can feel intimidated and nervous when doing a demo class. Who wouldn’t be? Everyone has their eyes on you and you know that you are being evaluated. But according to the famous motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins, being nervous is not really a bad thing. Psychologists too would agree that all emotions are valid and being nervous is simply signaling your brain that you have to stay alert and focused.
However, you may not appear nervous and you can’t show this emotion to your students and observers. The best way to overcome this is to be prepared and practice a couple of times before the big day.
4. Build a quick rapport
You don’t know your audience and you have no idea about their interests and backgrounds. You may not have a lot of time to establish rapport with your students so you have to accomplish this in just around 5 minutes. I have observed excellent speakers and one of the effective methods they use as an icebreaker is humor. You may tell a joke or two and this will help warm up the class.
If you are the serious type or maybe your audience is, you may use the method where you start by getting two “yeses” from them whether mentally or orally. You may ask 2 questions where the audience would normally answer yes to both questions or simply state two facts that everyone would agree with. It is very important to have a strong command of the subject that you are teaching, what matters most however, is your ability to develop a good positive relationship with your students. I understand that building relationships may take time, but there are ways to a bridge that gap quickly and allow your students feel safe around you.
5. Make it student-centered
It is very important that you give the students a lot of opportunity to speak out and participate in the demo class. Make your lesson communicative instead of just you doing all the talking. Plan a lesson that is interactive in nature.
Make sure that you also include everyone and not only focus on the stronger, more active students. For younger learners, it is also important that you allow them to move around once in a while. You cannot expect them to sit still and focused longer than 15 minutes. Plan games and hands-on activities. Take note that there will be kids who are more hyper than others, so be prepared for that as well.
6. To learn and not to use is not to learn
When choosing a topic, choose something that is simple but can create a lasting impression at the same time. Make it a goal that by the end of your demo teaching, your students are also able to demonstrate what they have learned. If you teach them too much, they may forget most of what you have taught. Teach new words and also include old words that they are familiar with. Put emphasis on the sentence structures and make sure to include examples on how they can apply what they have learned in their daily lives and conversations.
If you can demonstrate something out of the ordinary, your demo teaching will definitely stand out. Plan something that would make you unique compared to other candidates.
7. Online Demo Teaching
If you are living overseas, you may be required to do a demo class through Skype or they may ask you to record yourself on video while teaching. Do not think of this to be less than the actual demo teaching, consider everything that has been mentioned above. Prepare yourself however, to teach with no actual students, with just the interviewer listening to you. Do your best to create interactions between you and your observer. You may also create imaginary students where you ask questions and pause to hear “them” respond, acknowledge their answer by giving a positive feedback.