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Becoming a Teacher: The Demonstration Lesson

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Updated on Dec 8, 2010

Many districts require you to develop and teach a demonstration lesson. You may actually teach the lesson to a class of students. Find out how much time you will have, who your audience will be, and the subject or lesson you're expected to teach. If you aren't given specifics, you should have a variety of lesson options (lesson or small group) and a set of lessons or topics you'd be willing to teach. Showing your interviewers or observers that you can offer choices will demonstrate your range and confidence.

You are encouraged to consult with the classroom teacher for guidance in preparing the lesson. How you handle this assignment is a defining part of the interview process. You can get a tremendous amount of help from the classroom teacher. However, information will not be volunteered—you must ask for it. Teacher candidates who show up five minutes before class time with a canned activity will not be as successful as those who take time to carefully prepare a lesson.

The first step is to call the school and speak with the secretary. School secretaries know everything that is going on! Ask when the teacher is available. Some of the questions you should ask are:

  • What topic is the class studying?
  • What was taught before this lesson?
  • What are the children like?
  • Do the children have special needs?
  • Is this a heterogeneous class?
  • Can I bring nametags with me for the children?
  • Who will be observing the lesson?
  • When can I come in to meet the children?

Your goal is to look like you belong in the class. The more you know about the children and what they have been doing, the more comfortable you all will be. Some candidates spend an entire day in the school, before teaching the lesson, to get a feeling for the students. You are not expected to be perfect, but you are expected to be engaging and connect with the students. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Demonstrate your organization skills. Tell your audience what they'll learn, teach it, and review.
  • Show enthusiasm. Draw on your public speaking skills—use eye contact, facial expressions, body language, appropriate humor, and voice modulation.
  • The best lessons are often interactive. Ask questions and keep the audience engaged.
  • Multimedia can enhance your lesson if used properly. Your goal is for these devices (handouts, music, illustrations, etc.) to illustrate, not detract from, your presentation.
  • Practice! You might even record your lesson to evaluate yourself. The observers are looking for a person who is professional, caring, and knowledgeable. Plan to teach something new to the children, based on their needs. Also bring a formal written lesson plan to give to each of the observers.

The observers are looking for a person who is professional, caring, and knowledgeable. Plan to teach something new to the children, based on their needs. Also bring a formal written lesson plan to give to each of the observers.

Filling Out an Application

If you are asked to complete an application, follow the rules for writing a resume. Here are some additional pointers:

  • If you hand write your application, do it neatly!
  • If you are a good typist, type the application, so it will be easier to read.
  • Answer every relevant question.
  • List as many references as are requested.
  • List hobbies, if asked. They may correspond to extracurricular activities in the school.
  • Answer questions in complete sentences.
  • If you are given a page to write your philosophy of education, use the entire page. Explain why you responded the way you did. Support your answer with experiences and facts.

Your writing is a mirror of who you are, so be careful and thoughtful in your response!

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