You aced the first rounds of the interview process, and now it’s time to show the hiring committee what you’re really made of.
The mock lesson for your teaching interview is your time to shine.
Following are tips to help you maximize your chances of landing that coveted teaching job.
Related: You might be interested in our interview/career tips for ambitious educators.
Tips for Rocking Your Mock Lesson Teaching Interview
1. Investigate Guidelines.
Ask the hiring committee if there are any particular guidelines that you should follow.
- Is there a specific textbook they wanted you to use?
- Anything special about the curriculum that you need to know about?
- Regarding the students, is there anything particular you need to know concerning their academic and social needs?
Regarding instruction, some schools are much more structured and “rigid” with their teaching standards while others are more laid-back.
Make sure you know what’s expected of you.
If the hiring committee gives you no such guidelines, research the school in more detail to determine what programs are used.
Try to align your teaching mock lesson around one of those themes.
Doing so helps the hiring committee see that you did your research and are able to successfully implement or are willing to learn more about programs already occurring at the school.
2. Don’t Teach in a Vacuum.
Plan your teaching mock lesson based on something related to what the kids are already learning.
What are they currently studying?
Which are some lesson objectives from which you could piggyback?
If possible, communicate with the teacher whose students you’ll be teaching.
Ask what they are currently learning in whichever subject you plan to teach.
Based on that conversation, decide exactly what you’ll teach.
From the conversations I had with the teacher I’d be covering, I decided to do the next lesson in their measurement unit: perimeter.
Now I could begin creating a great lesson that was highly relevant to the kids’ previous instruction and one which wouldn’t cause a disruption to their normal learning sequence.
3. Create a Great Lesson.
Create a lesson that’s student-centered and that promotes higher-order thinking skills.
Make it very engaging and hands-on if possible.
Make sure it’s grade-appropriate, relevant, and interesting.
Don’t reinvent the wheel too much with your mock demo lesson.
Look online to see what lessons you can adapt and make your own.
There are a plethora of online resources with really wonderful content from which to base your lesson.
Plan very well and fully prepare.
And don’t assume the school has the materials you’ll need.
You can request that certain resources and manipulatives be available to you (which will most likely be the case), but if you need anything above the basics…
Simply bring your own … you absolutely don’t want to be without the materials you need.
4. Establish Classroom Management.
When doing your mock lesson, establish procedures and rules with the students before you get into the heart of the lesson.
I’m sure the hiring committee wants to see how well you handle classroom management too.
Before I even started my lesson, I gathered the students on the carpet and discussed with them how we would transition from one activity to another.
We also reviewed how I would get their attention plus some basic rules/procedures.
How will you call students’ attention and handle those who are off-task?
Before starting your lesson…
- Do a very brief icebreaker.
- Chat about procedures and transition signals that you’ll use during the lesson.
- Explain the teaching objective.
- Check for understanding. Do they understand your expectations?
No, you won’t have much time, but it’s important to do this step. It’ll be relatively brief, and that’s okay.
5. Be Yourself.
Sometimes I think job candidates change their behavior too much just to get the job.
Yes … there is job etiquette that we much adhere to, but we shouldn’t lose touch with our core.
When teaching your demo lesson, do your best of course, but above all, be yourself.
Be energetic (whatever that is for you), and show your enthusiasm for being among the kids/staff.
Let your unique personality shine.
You want to be in a teaching environment where you’re celebrated for being you … not tolerated.
6. Ignore the Watchers.
Having a group of adults watch you teach can be so intimidating.
I had 4 teachers and 2 administrators observing me.
I tried my best to not let them see me sweat.
What I found worked was just to ignore them and focus all of my energies on teaching the best demo lesson possible to the kids.
Don’t let the observers during your mock lesson interview scare you … just ignore them and focus on the students.
Go with the flow, and let the students’ actions and thoughts guide you.
Try your best to enjoy yourself too.
I actually enjoyed teaching my mock lesson … the kids were so engaged.
This comfortableness showed in my teaching plus my observers had an opportunity to see that I could deliver well under pressure.
Teaching Demo Sample
As mentioned, I spoke with students before actually starting the lesson.
That small time frame was like a “let’s-get-to-know-each-other” mini introduction.
This helped to break the ice and establish some general guidelines.
Everyone gathered on the carpet, and we quickly introduced ourselves.
Afterwards, I discussed a few gentle rules, procedures, and transition signals.
I made sure to check for understanding.
*I adapted this lesson from Getting to the Core of Elementary School Mathematics: Units for the Common Core, 2011 Grade 3, Part 2* (Remember, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Just tweak things to give it your own flavor.)
Objective: Students will be able to explain perimeter and find the perimeter of various figures.
Materials: String, ruler, pattern blocks, document camera, PowerPoint, math journals
Hook of the Mock Lesson Teaching Interview:
To start the lesson, I grabbed students’ attention with the opening problem seen below.
I had it projected on a screen so that all the kids could see it clearly.
I modified the problem using a name connected with the school in which I was doing the demo lesson.
This really helped to grab the students’ attention!
I then created a “lake” using pattern blocks by placing wooden pattern block manipulatives on top of the pattern below.
This way, students could visualize how I made the “lake” using pattern blocks before tracing the perimeter of it.
All of these steps were demonstrated using a document camera.
Then I posed this question to students…
How can we find the distance the ants have to travel around the lake using this string and ruler?
After a couple of students volunteered to answer, I called one to help tape the string around the perimeter of the figure above.
Afterwards, we carefully lifted the tape and measured it in inches using the ruler.
Notice that I haven’t defined perimeter nor asked students for a definition.
My goal was to first gather their prior knowledge and then guide them in understanding the concept of perimeter before explicitly defining it.
Guided Practice of the Mock Lesson Teaching Interview:
Students then worked in small groups to create their own “lakes” using pattern blocks.
With their groups, they had to do the same thing as I had modeled:
- create a “lake”,
- tape string around the perimeter of the “lake”,
- carefully lift the tape, and
- measure the tape to find the perimeter using the ruler.
As the little mathematicians worked, I asked that they discuss the questions below with their peers.
The goal was for them to think aloud the process and collaborate while solving the problem.
As they worked, I monitored and assisted groups as needed. I extended praise and feedback as appropriate.
Assessment/Closing of the Lesson of the Mock Lesson Teaching Interview:
After signaling for students to stop and gather on the carpet, we reviewed the discussion questions.
A couple of groups also shared their “lake” outlines on the document camera.
Then I asked who could explain perimeter and how they had found the perimeter of the “lake” in the activity.
Lots of the kids wanted to share!
That was a great moment because their sincere participation let me know that they had at least understood the basic concept of perimeter and were confident enough to tell the whole class about it.
In closing, the learners were sent to their desks to record in their math journals responses to questions.
How well would the students be able to make connections with what they had already learned in the previous lesson?
I made a point to include questions that guided their thinking in regards to that.
A demo lesson is a great way for you to stand out from the crowd and show what you can really bring to the classroom.
Follow these tips, and you too will be on your way to landing that coveted teaching position.
For more help with your job searching goals, take a look at these teacher interview tips.
Here’s to fruitful results in your hiring journey.