Shanghai skyline: Pearl Tower
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Abu Dhabi mosque
International high school
International high school
A group of teachers discussing their lessons
A job interview at an international school
Shanghai skyline: Shanghai Tower
Shanghai skyline: Shanghai Tower
Leader interview

Aug 3, 2021

How to ace a demo lesson for interviews

Not sure where to start when preparing a demo lesson for a teaching job? We share our expert advice on how to prepare a top demo lesson.

Providing a demo, or demonstration, lesson is an increasingly common part of the interview process for international teaching jobs. It is a way for school recruiters to pre-evaluate if you, as a potential new teacher, will fit their school and the role.

While it may be daunting, a demo lesson is a great chance for you to showcase your personality and your teaching skills, as well as to stand out from other candidates. 

What format will a demo lesson take?

There are many formats that a demo lesson might take, but typically, in this age of remote working, you will be asked to provide a video of you teaching a demo class. You will then email the video to the school or upload it onto an online platform, usually specified by the school. School hiring managers will evaluate the videos they receive, before deciding whether to progress a candidate onto the interview stage.

When creating your demo lesson, you have a couple of options; you can either recruit your own students to sit in on the class (make sure you get necessary permissions to film students) or, failing that, get friends or family to pretend to be students. If they are adults, they can even pretend to be the age of the intended audience to make it more authentic and fun.

Schools might also give you the option of just recording yourself either teaching to an empty room or teaching directly to a camera.

Do all schools ask for a demo lesson during the interview process?

Not all schools will request a demo lesson, many are happy to go straight to a face-to-face interview with chosen candidates.

However, many schools consider a recorded demo lesson the most effective and direct way of telling if you’re the kind of teacher they’re looking for. They may firstly evaluate your demo lesson before deciding whether to progress to an interview.

Therefore, it pays to know exactly how to put a good demo lesson together. Here are our top tips:

Get the visuals right

Video is a visual medium so you need to make sure that any images you record look good. Smartphones these days have excellent video capabilities so you don’t need any fancy equipment (unless you have it, of course!).

Set the camera up behind the students (if you’re including them), focused directly at the whiteboard so you are clearly in shot as you teach. Make sure that there are no awkward reflections off the whiteboard and that any lighting in the classroom doesn’t glare into the camera or onto your face.

You also need to make sure your voice is clearly picked up so don’t put the phone too far away. Also, avoid placing the camera near another source of noise (such as a fan or air conditioner) as this could drown out your voice. 

Stay on topic

You are likely to be given certain topics or subjects in advance to cover in your lesson. It’s crucial that you stick to these. School hiring managers need to be able to easily compare the demos they are sent and assess whether your skills are a fit for the role. It’s also fairer for all candidates if they have to cover the same topic in their demos.

Recruiters will not look favourably on demo lessons that don’t contain the learning points they’ve asked for. 

Keep it simple

Since you’ll have limited time in which to deliver your lesson, make sure you get straight to the point rather than wasting 10 minutes on ice-breaking. 

Recruiters want to get a feel for your teaching and classroom management skills and whether you have the subject knowledge they’re looking for. They don’t need to get to know all the students in your class! 

Showcase your style

Think about what you can bring to your demo lesson to make it unique and creative. This is your chance to showcase your personality and teaching style so that you stand out among other demos.

However, don’t go over the top! Keep the objective of the demo lesson in mind: cover the topics you’ve been asked to and highlight your teaching abilities, subject knowledge and classroom management skills. 

Demonstrate teaching results

While it may be difficult to show what your students have learned in a very short demonstration lesson, build in some way to show any teaching results you can. 

Recruiters will be interested in seeing how you consider the impact of your teaching. Even just providing information on how the class would be evaluated at a later stage is valuable.

Be reflective and open-minded

If you are subsequently called for an interview, be prepared to analyse your own lesson. Consider what went well and what didn’t. Don’t worry if the demo didn’t go as planned – your response to negative comments from students or disruption in class is all part of showing your skills.

The point of the video demo is to prove you are comfortable in dealing with whatever situation occurs in the classroom, just as you do on a daily basis in your role as a teacher. Embrace the unexpected and be reflective on what could have been handled better. 

next steps!

Providing a demo lesson is a great way to showcase your unique skills. Our consultants can support you in the process of creating a top demo lesson. Register your Explore CRS candidate profile today to be assigned your own consultant. 

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