Many TEFL qualified teachers choose to teach English online as the flexibility and convenience of working from home means you can fit it around all your other personal commitments. However, when applying for jobs with online teaching platforms you might be expected to provide your potential employers with a demo video. This can be in the form of an introduction to yourself and your teaching ethos or it can be an actual demo lesson where you need to showcase your teaching skills and personality. Some companies will use this purely as part of the interview process, while in many cases the video will be available to potential students who can watch it to see if they like your approach to teaching English.
When teaching online we are forced to rely on facial expressions, body language, hand gestures, and props way more than is necessary in a physical classroom. How comfortable you are in this environment will come across very clearly in a demo video and potential students will also be taking note of your personality and accent to see if they match what they are looking for in an online tutor. To make things a little bit easier we have put together a few simple tips to help you produce a first-class demo video for teaching English online.
Make sure you have a clear plan
Having a clear plan is a straightforward rule that should apply to every lesson you ever deliver in the classroom, whether online or in-class. When preparing your demo lesson you might be given a specific topic and a level of language learner, or you might be left to decide for yourself. Either way, having a prearranged plan in place will help ensure everything goes smoothly. A fully detailed lesson plan is not necessarily needed, but a structure needs to be put in place that allows you to move through every stage of the lesson without awkward silences or too much shuffling of papers. How you choose to plan is down to you, but sticky notes are often popular, while others prefer everything written down on a notepad. How you approach it is unimportant, as long as your plan is clear and concise and you are familiar with every stage in advance.
Keep things as simple as possible
This might seem pretty obvious, but when preparing a demo lesson there is no need to be clever or to try to do too much. By keeping things simple there will be less chance of things going wrong and more chance that your student will rise to the occasion and make you look like the best teacher out there. Avoid complicated activities that require a lot of explaining and ensure that you are familiar with all the materials used throughout the lesson. When teaching the lesson point or giving instructions make sure to use clear and simple language that the student is already familiar with, now is not the time to introduce major new grammar points or vocabulary!
Practice, practice, practice
Regardless of how much planning you have put into your demo lesson there is no substitute for real practice. Running through each stage of the lesson out loud will further cement the structure and flow of the lesson and help you identify any areas where things could potentially go wrong. You could even ask a friend or family member to sit in and offer constructive criticism on the lesson and your performance.
Part of this practice should also focus on any materials and technology you plan to use to ensure everything is ready and working as it should. There is nothing worse than starting an activity half way through your lesson only to find that you have the wrong word cards in your hand or your laptop is not functioning correctly.
Remember to smile!
Coming across as relaxed and happy is not always easy on camera, especially when you are more likely to be stressed and anxious. One sure fire way to make a good impression is to smile as much as possible. Obviously, you don’t want to overdo it, but a smiling face is always welcome in the classroom, particularly when working with young learners. Being as relaxed as possible is very important as you need to show that you have a fun personality and plenty of energy, no matter how things are going in the lesson. Just remember to smile and your employers and future students will be happy to have you onboard.