10 Tips for a Great English Teaching Demo

Josh Wilson
Josh Wilson

Don’t be 60 years old and say… "I could have done that!" Do it now!

 / May 20, 2017

Interviewing for any job can be stressful.  But when it comes to applying for an ESL teaching job, it can be even more so because you will be required to do some sort of demonstration.  And if you are interviewing for an ESL job in another country, you may be required to record a video demo or do it live via Skype.  But don't worry.  With these tips, we hope to help you feel confident and do your best during your ESL teaching demo!

Why Must I Give a Teaching Demo for an ESL Job?

Before we jump into the tips, we need to address this question -- because our recruiters hear it a lot.  For starters, interviewers must be able to see for themselves that you can teach.  We simply cannot only go by your words during the initial ESL interview and your resume.  And just because someone has been a teacher before, it doesn't mean that they are a very good teacher or that they have the right personality we are looking for.

Although a short demonstration (especially online) can't give a perfect example of your ability, it it sufficient for our needs.  The teaching demo gives us a way to see how much energy you have as well as your personality and professionalism.  We can also get a feel for your creativity and passion for the job.  

Lastly, stellar teachers will shine during a teaching demo, even with the restrictions of doing it online.  So while it's not the ideal way to assess a teacher's ability, it's far better than nothing.  

Now, let's move onto our tips for your English teaching demo!

  1. Self Introduction - be sure to tell us briefly who you are and where you are from, and what your lesson will be about.  We don't have much time, so please keep this short - maybe only 1-2 minutes at the very most.

  2. Choose an Interesting Topic - keeping in mind the students that you are applying to teach, choose a topic that you think can be interesting and fun.  This is a great way to show off your ability to consider the students, and their wants / needs.  It will also make it a lot easier for you to have a good demo because you will like the topic too!

  3. Stand Up and Move - Even if you are doing an online or recorded lesson, you MUST stand up and move around -- just how you would in a classroom.  Again, this lets us see your energy and how active you can be. This way, the interviewer can consider how you will fit in with their students and the type of class you can conduct.  Finally, moving around helps you to feel less nervous.  Honestly, your demo time will fly by when you are up and moving around!

  4. Engage or Imagine - It is always best for an interviewer to see how you will engage with a real student.  If possible, try to arrange to have someone in the room with you (even if it is an adult friend) just so you can show us your ability.  However, if you don't have anyone who can do this, then don't be shy about being creative!  Put a chair or a ball and pretend it is a student.  Again, we just need to see your personality and how you would incorporate students into your class.  Don't worry, we know it may feel a little weird.  But it's essential.  And the best teachers will be able to do this well.

  5. Good Appearance - As with any interview, it's important that you are well groomed and dressed according to the expectations of the school you are applying for.  You may want to confirm in advance, or over dress (rarely a bad thing) to impress.  However, if you are applying to teach children or have components of your lesson that are on the floor or moving around too much, be sure to wear appropriate clothing for these activities.

  6. Be Positive - It's a given, but we want to remind you to be positive during your lesson.  Try to use positive words during the lesson and use encouraging language that will get the students (even imaginary ones) involved.  Also, use encouragement throughout the lesson to show that you are a teacher who likes to get the students involved!

  7. Get Interactive - Students don't want to be bored during class.  So we are always looking for teachers who interact with the students.  We want to see games and activities, or even just short interactive moments during your lesson.  Since there is limited time, you can do a portion of a short game and then move on for the sake of time, just to show that you put one together.  We love to see that. 

  8. Speak Slowly and Clearly - A critical part of being an English teacher is that the students can understand you.  So during your demo, we will be assessing the way that you speak.  It must be slow enough (but not too slow) and you should have clear enunciation.  Lastly, it is good for the students to see your mouth well so they can see how you move it to form the word.  This will help them practice forming it for themselves.

  9. Be Knowledgeable - You should choose a lesson topic that you know well so that you can speak confidently.  We also want to see that you can make a point clearly and quickly so that you can move on to the next phase of the lesson.

  10. Have Personality - We really want to see your true personality come out!  This is also a great time to show off your creativity in the classroom as well as in your lesson preparation.  

Don't be Nervous and Have Fun With Your English Teaching Demo Lesson!

We know it's easier said than done, but try not to feel nervous.  Everyone needs to do them, and they can actually be fun for those who go into it with the right personality and plenty of preparation.  The lessone should really end up being less than 5 minutes -- and time will really fly by.  So go ahead, show us who you are -- because that's exactly what we want to see from your English teaching demo!

** Click to save this tip sheet (below) for later, or share it on social media with other prospective teachers!

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Josh Wilson

Don’t be 60 years old and say… "I could have done that!" Do it now!