Interviewing to become a teacher isn’t like most experiences you may have had in other job searches. Hiring committees and administrations want to make sure that you have the personality and teaching skills that make you a great fit for their school.
Don’t be surprised if part of your interview process includes teaching a demo lesson. Most often, this takes place in a classroom with kids in the age group you’re interested in working with.
You will spend some time observing and learning about the kids and class dynamic before it’s your turn to take the reins. We know that auditions can be scary and that making a good first impression is crucial to landing your dream job in education. That’s why we’re sharing these three tips – straight from education recruiters – to help you ace your demo lesson and move forward in the hiring process.
You’re going to have a limited amount of time to familiarize yourself with the students and expectations of the class you’ll be leading. One of your top priorities should be showing that you’re able to form a relationship with your students.
A good way to start is by sharing something about yourself. You might have some interesting hobbies or past experiences they can relate to, or maybe there’s a quick game you can play that would introduce the kids to who you are.
Another good practice is to ask each student his/her name as you call on them during your lesson. They will see that you care about getting to know them and, if you can remember their name later, that you’re really interested in interacting with them. Doing both of these things during your demo lesson gives evaluators a good idea of your interpersonal skills with students and the kind of rapport you will build in your classroom.
Though delivering a short lesson isn’t the ideal environment to implement classroom management techniques, evaluators still want to get an idea of how you will handle the ups and downs of teaching. Make sure you proactively set expectations at the beginning of the lesson. Then, don’t be afraid of holding the line and correcting students who aren’t meeting those expectations. You want to show that you can effectively establish and enforce standards in an age-appropriate way.
Teaching isn’t about how long you stand in front of a classroom and lecture. It’s about back-and-forth interaction, proactive thinking, and engaging activities. Your evaluators want to see the kids doing most of the heavy lifting during your lesson, not you.
As you’re planning your lesson, think about what tasks and challenges you can give your students that will have them engaging in discussion, completing writing tasks, solving problems, thinking critically and working as a team. These are the kinds of skills you want to encourage as the majority of your classroom activity, and students will take away more from this than they will from a lecture.
One word of caution – having kids do the heavy mental lifting doesn’t mean you can spend less time preparing for the lesson; in fact, it probably means you have to spend more. Always know your content. After all, you’re the teacher!