Tips to Rock Your Demo Lesson
By James Sanders
You crushed the interview and now they invited you in for a demo lesson! Cue the panic.
As a candidate for an open teaching position, the demo lesson is a vital opportunity to showcase your teaching style and expertise. The school interviewing you wants to see you succeed, remember that!
Instead of fearing it, think of the demo lesson as a chance to brag about all your talents and passions without using words. It’s your time to shine by showing how great you are in the classroom.
But easier said, than done right? No worries, we’ve put together some tips to help you rock your demo lesson!
Don’t wing it, plan it out
- While you might be a stellar educator, it’s essential you take time to plan your demo lesson beforehand.
- Be sure to ask about the classroom demographics (ie: what grade will you be presenting to? what kind of student population?) and for the current behavior management structure.
- Design a stand-alone lesson plan to present but be sure to check with administration ahead of time to see what resources are available for you to use including the appropriate texts.
- Keep your lesson simple and select a topic that you’re well-versed and passionate about. This will allow the focus to be on you and how well you teach, not what you’re teaching.
- Lastly, keep it short. Use no more than 10 minutes on direct instruction. Allocate your time to your activity and showcasing your interpersonal skills by creating strong student engagement.
Spend time preparing
The night before, print your lesson plan and make copies for the administrative team.
Gather all the materials you’ll need for the demo. Don’t expect the classroom to have materials –you never know!
If you plan to incorporate technology into the lesson have a backup plan. In case the school’s tech or WIFI is unavailable, prepare a demo lesson solution that can be performed with good old pen and paper.
When you arrive, introduce yourself to the class. Find an efficient way to know everyone’s name but focus your time on building rapport. For example, ask students to create name tag table tops to place on their desks and ask them their favorite ice cream flavor. This way you can call on each student by their name and effectively make your interaction more personal.
As you begin your demo lesson, be sure to state your directions clearly, including how to break into groups (if necessary) and what to do when they have finished their activity.
Whatever you do, ensure that you communicate confidently and enthusiastically. Passion speaks louder than subject matter and schools want to see that. You might not be the world’s authority on 5th grade math, but you are SO DARN EXCITED about teaching it—now that’s memorable!
Finally, monitor your time wisely so you have enough time to wrap up the lesson plan in a calm manner. Nothing worse than being flustered at the end of a demo!
After the demo lesson is over, thank the teacher whose class you taught and the administrators you met.
Be sure to get admin names and emails, because you’ll want to send them thank you notes.
When you arrive home, write them each a note thanking them for their time and consideration. You’ll want to write them both an email and a handwritten thank you note.
You’re a ROCKSTAR educator. You go above and beyond. Sending both an email and a hand-written note shows not only you care, but that you are detail-oriented and meticulous with your profession.
If you don’t get the job
In the case you aren’t offered the position, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.
Often, we see great educators present a mediocre demo lesson and miss their opportunity. But the only way to get better, is to know that you need improvement. So be open to constructive criticism and confidently ask for feedback on how you could have improved your demo lesson or interview process.
Happy demo lessoning!
About the author
James Sanders is CEO of Scoot Education. Before Scoot, James founded Australia’s largest not-for-profit organization for connecting entrepreneurs and spent 9 years at Deloitte helping educational startups scale their businesses. Today, you can find James obsessed with helping US schools get great teachers into classrooms and drive stronger learning outcomes as a result. He also enjoys soccer, walking his dog Jedi, and rooting for his AFL team Geelong Cats.
This article was originally published by The Learning Counsel, a research institute and news media hub focused on providing context for the shift in education to digital curriculum.