The purpose of a demonstration (or demo) lesson is for the hiring representative to see how well prepared you are to teach a lesson, how you present yourself, and how you engage students. Principals will look for a lot of the same things that your In-Person Interviewers were looking for during your Fellows interview – your ability to break a complex topic down into a series of learnable steps, your poise and comfort in front of a group, how well you check for student understanding, and how well you adjust when students don’t understand. In addition, they will look for your ability to manage a classroom.
Before You Create Your Lesson:
Clarify what you are being asked to do and what the principal or hiring representative’s expectations are for your lesson. Before your interview, you may want to ask some of the following questions:
● Where should I report for the demonstration lesson, and who should I ask for?
● What grade level will I be teaching?
● How many students will be in the class?
● How much time will I have?
● Is there anything I should know about the class as I prepare my lesson? (What percent are
achieving at/above/below grade level? What percentage are English Language Learners or have
special learning needs?)
● Is there a specific objective you would like me to teach or a particular Common Core standard you would like me to align my lesson to? If not, what are the students currently learning so I can tailor my lesson to the current lesson?
● What curricula have the teachers been using this year?
● What have students learned in the last week on this subject?
● What materials or technology are available in the classroom? You should prepare to teach a demonstration lesson that does not require technology such as a SmartBoard or projector in the event there is limited technology on the day of the demo lesson.
***Keep in mind that not all hiring managers will provide all of the above information. Get as much information as you can.***
Consider What Principals Are Looking For:
Principals typically evaluate teacher candidates based on a set of specific characteristics or traits. It is helpful to keep these in mind when preparing for your interview. Demo lessons are your opportunity to showcase your teaching style. Principals are looking for:
● Teacher Presence and Communication:
Principals want to see your ability to command a room and lead your classroom from day one. Principals want to see that you are confident, poised, comfortable, and able to be in command of a classroom of students through setting expectations and delivering clear communication. Be sure to face the class, speak concisely, and maintain a positive tone.
● Opportunities for Students to Engage:
During your demonstration lesson, principals want to see that you provide ample opportunities for students to participate. Don’t lecture for five minutes straight – give students an opportunity to answer questions, engage deeply with meaningful content, and share their opinions. Principals will be looking for how you interact with students, so make sure to include opportunities to interact positively with students during the lesson.
● Reflection and Data Collection:
Principals will want to know how you will assess if your students learned what you were teaching. They will ask you to reflect on how your lesson went based on what the assessment demonstrates that your students learned. Be prepared to explain your choices and assumptions driving the lesson, as well as what you would do differently if asked to teach the lesson again. It is important to have a rationale behind what you do.
● High Expectations:
Principals want to see that you hold high expectations for student learning and growth and that you will work tirelessly to ensure that each and every student meets your high standards. Be familiar with your subject area’s Common Core standards for each grade level, and how you will incorporate that into the expectations you hold for your students.
● Proactively Seeking Feedback:
Teaching is a continual learning process. Successful teachers are eager to receive and incorporate feedback on an ongoing basis throughout their careers. The NYC Teaching Fellows program is unique in how it specifically utilizes the process of giving feedback and developing a teacher’s ability to quickly use it to improve their practice.
● Collaborative Leadership:
Effective teachers are also skilled at working with diverse groups of people. You will regularly be required to work with other members of school staff in order to meet the needs of your students.
There is no typical day of teaching and principals want to see that you are able to adapt well to an unpredictable and fast-changing environment.