Have you ever been asked to teach a lesson in a teacher job interview? It can be nerve-wracking if you don’t know what to expect… I've been there and I've done the worrying!
But I’ve also been on the hiring side of this scenario as the interviewer, and I’ve got some great tips for you on how to make this assignment the very thing that gets you the job.
It’s a challenge – and an opportunity
The first thing is, don’t panic! This is actually a great opportunity for you to show current school staff what you can do with kids and it could turn out to be your best interview yet.
When the call comes in, make sure you clarify exactly what the expectations of the interview committee are. You should check:
- What grade level do they want to see?
- What subject?
- Do they have specific standards in mind that they would like you to teach?
- How much time will you have?
- What resources will be available for you?
- Do they want to act as students or simply have you explain how you would teach the lesson?
Video tips: teaching a lessons during an interview
Off the peg or tailor made?
Before any interview you should be doing your research on the school and this is where it comes in really handy.
For example, you need to take into account the socioeconomic status of the majority of the students. If you know a bit about the neighborhood then you can use some real-life examples that kids are familiar with.
Try to find out if there is any particular style of teaching that’s encouraged, for example a workshop model or the use of centers. Then use that information to tailor your lesson.
Seven building blocks for an awesome interview lesson
Follow this structure as you prepare your lesson and you will be on track for success.
1. Introduce your topic
And – very important – present your standard(s).
2. Verify what is known
Ask your “students” to share what they already know on this topic. Show the panel that you have ways in mind to get this information by using a turn-and-talk or a whip around where each person quickly shares what they know.
3. Engage your audience
This is where you use an interactive mini-lesson that includes a story, song or even a short video. It all depends on the subject and standard being taught.
4. Model the activity
Now you model a hands-on activity and let your “students” have a go. You can make it quick – for example, a worksheet with just a couple of items on it or a math problem with manipulatives. Or it could be a whiteboard activity or center cards (if you find out the school uses a lot of centers then this is the way to go!).
5. Encourage higher-level thinking
While your “students” work on the activity, you look over their shoulders and demonstrate the use of questioning strategies to encourage higher-level thinking.
6. Review what was learned
Now review what they’ve learned. You could use a think-pair-share or a popcorn (each “student” calling out their thoughts). Show the panel that you can engage students in sharing their ideas.
7. Wrap up by restating
Finally, wrap up by restating the standard and saying “What we learned today was…” (being certain to name the standard).
Teach like you LOVE it!
Here’s what takes it from “she was okay” to “you’ve got the job”: practice.
You don’t go in cold. You get your loved ones, your neighbors, or your friends to act as the students. Ask your audience to check that you’re making eye contact and that you sound enthusiastic. You should be smiling throughout the process and giving lots of positive feedback to your adorable little “students.”
You’ve got to teach like you LOVE it. You want the job, you want to work with kids, so enthusiasm is the secret ingredient.
I know you can do this! Be certain to read the rest of my tips on interview preparation.