No matter which type of demo class you find yourself facing, there’s some key advice that can help to ensure things go smoothly.

Gather Information on the Class and School

When a potential employer tells you that they want a demo class, your first step should be to find out what they’ll be expecting. If they give you an outline of what you need to teach, look over it and start planning early. There are a number of questions you can ask to help you prepare. These include:

Who are you supposed to be teaching? What age group and ability?
This will have an effect on what you’re teaching, how you talk, and how you interact with the class.

How long is the demo lesson?
You need to know how long to make your lesson plan and how many activities to include.

What is the target language?
You’ll need to include these to achieve your objectives.

If you’re doing your demo lesson as part of the interview process you can probably find information that will help online. Many ESL forums have a section on demo classes, and some of them have entries about specific companies. These can give you a good idea of what the company is looking for and help you to tailor the lesson to their needs.

Include Props or Handouts

Using handouts, props or realia in a demo class will make a big impression. It will show your employers that you are aware that children learn better if they can see, touch and interact with things connected to the ideas they’re learning about.

Using these types of techniques, even over Skype, will prove that you know what it takes to be a good teacher and are willing to make the effort.  Showing that you’re able to prepare and make use of a printed-off flashcard could be the difference between getting the job and not.

Don’t Try to be Perfect

If you haven’t taught a demo class before then it will probably feel a little awkward. There’s nothing quite like performing for a class, in person or in front of your computer, when they aren’t actually real students who are there to learn.

Try to remember that awkwardness is perfectly natural. Your potential employer isn’t looking for perfection. He or she just wants to see if you understand the natural structure of a lesson, can think on your feet, and have enough presence to control a class. This means that as long as you actually teach the material, and seem to understand the basics of teaching, you should do fine.

Remember to Smile and Look Like You’re Having Fun

Part of being an English teacher is being approachable and fun. ESL classes have a lot of games, songs, and stories. Your students need to feel relaxed and comfortable with you. That’s why your potential employer will be watching your mannerisms and your comfort levels.

Remember to smile, laugh if you make a mistake, and generally try to enjoy the interaction between you and your fake students. It’s a great example of how you will be with a real class.

Don’t Tell, Show 

This is a general rule for all ESL classes, and it applies just as much in demo classes. No matter how well you explain different concepts or language points, it’s likely that your students will struggle to understand unless they’re at a reasonably advanced level.

You can apply this knowledge to great effect in your demo class. Show your potential employer that you understand how to overcome the problem. Don’t explain games, show them how to play. The same goes for introducing vocabulary and sentences where possible. If you have to introduce new vocabulary, remember to avoid trying to explain it, and instead show them a picture or an item that demonstrates the new word.

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