As a recruiter or school leader, you may find yourself in a situation where an in-person demo lesson just isn’t possible. And when you’re interviewing someone you’ve never seen teach before, not having a demo just isn’t an option. So what do you do? Here are a few suggestions for how to get something, anything for one of the most critical, evaluative pieces of the teacher interview process.
Recorded Demo Video
Contrary to what some may believe, obtaining a recorded teaching video is actually ideal. Once you have the recording, you’re able to share it with other members of the interview team. You can rewatch it as many times as you deem necessary, and you can even start to anticipate some of the coaching the candidate might require. And sure, we hear you, what if the video is staged and rehearsed? In that case, your candidate has just submitted their exemplar, and you have a clear bar of what you can hold them accountable for from day one.
The first thing to ask, and the quickest way to move forward, is to find out if your candidate has a recent video recording of them-self teaching (ideally the recording is within the current school year). If so, have them send it your way. If not, then here are a few ways to tackle any possible hiccups you, or they, may encounter:
- No video? Ask the candidate to record one (ideally) with students. They can use a smartphone and share directly from their phone or even upload it to a private Youtube channel.
- No students to teach? Ask if they have friends or family who can pretend to be students. If they are adults, they can even pretend to be the age of the intended audience to make it more fun.
- Still no one to teach? Let them know that they have the option of recording themselves either teaching to an empty room or teaching directly to a webcam, whichever is most comfortable for them.
Virtual Demo Lesson
The same concept of a virtual interview applies here, only you’re asking the candidate to teach their lesson live via video.
- Make sure any hiring managers who will be a part of the decision making can be present. If you’re asking a candidate to teach a demo live via video, have the courtesy to have the primary evaluator (i.e. the school leader) present during the conference. Remember, this is more than simply an interview round - it’s a chance to gauge the current teaching competencies of the candidate, and begin to plan ahead for any development you deem necessary.
- Sit as students. Be ready to ask questions you believe students would be asking during the lesson. This gives you an indication of how well the content has been internalized, and how capable the candidate is of thinking on their feet - and meeting the needs of their students.
- Record the demo. This will most likely require a paid video conferencing service (such as Zoom). But once recorded, you have the ease of returning to the lesson at a later date, and as often as needed.
Lesson Feedback Exercise
Whether options for seeing the candidate demo a lesson have been exhausted, or you’re just curious to know how deep their instructional knowledge goes, another option is a lesson feedback exercise. Here, you would send them a teaching video to review and provide feedback on. Sometimes we can learn just as much about a candidate’s teaching from the feedback they give as we can by seeing them teach.
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