teacher writing on board

Preparing For Your Interview: The Sample Teaching Lesson

Anxious about your final interview? Read on!


Thursday, September 1, 2016

As interviews approach, applicants are signing up for their interview date, uploading transcripts, and preparing for the sample teaching lesson. One of these actions seems to cause more anxiety than any other: the sample teaching lesson. A five-minute lesson may seem like a daunting task, but the truth is it's nothing to worry about! Read on for answers to some of our most common questions. 

What can I teach?
Anything! When we say anything, that's really what we mean. Our only guideline is that it needs to be for a grade level between pre-K and 12th and 5 minutes longthat's it. The rest is up to you! We recommend teaching something you enjoy, even if it's not academic. We've seen people teach music, physics, tying your shoelace, etc. The possibilities are endless! The subject doesn't have to be your major or even the subject you're actually interested in teaching if you're invited to the corps. So pick something you like and have fun with it! 

What will the other applicants be doing during my lesson?
The other applicants (and interviewers) will be your students! You'll ask them questions, answer any questions they might have, and teach them your content. 

Do I need a lesson plan? I'm not an education major!
Nope, no lesson plan needed! If you find it helpful, feel free to make one, but your interviewers will not collect it. You don't need any materials or extras for your lesson, just come prepared to share the subject you're teaching, your objective for the lesson, and the grade level. 

I'm not sure of the grade level my lesson is geared towards.
Your interviewer won't be looking to make sure your 5th grade lesson is perfectly appropriate for 5th grade. Just make your best guess for the grade level and we bet you won't be far off. As long as you're not teaching the ABC's to seniors in high school, you'll be fine. 

How strict is the five minute time limit?
We keep exact track of time to ensure the interview is fair for all of our applicants, no matter where they're interviewing. Don't forget that in addition to your five minutes of teaching, all applicants are given one minute for "prep time." Prep time can include passing out papers, sharing files, writing on the whiteboard, etc. It's up to you to decide how you want to use that one minute. After one minute (even if you're still setting up) your teaching time begins. After five minutes, your interviewer will let you know your time is up (even if your lesson isn't over). We suggest practicing your prep and lesson and then practicing some more to make sure you stay right on time!

What should I bring with me?
You should bring whatever you need for your specific lesson. Remember that since our in-person interviews are held in donated spaces we can’t guarantee what will be available in your space. You can verify if there’s a whiteboard via the Interview Details & Directions page. But if you need crayons or paper or pens for the class it will be your responsibility to bring them. As our interviews are held in donated spaces, we can't guarantee that there will be a computer or LCD projector, so plan accordingly. 

How do I plan for a sample lesson if I'm interviewing virtually?
The virtual and in-person sample lessons have the same requirements and standards: you are teaching a five-minute lesson in any subject area to any grade level ages pre-K-12 so for the most part you should plan for your virtual sample lesson the same as if you were attending an in-person interview. The main thing to keep in mind for virtual interviews is you should plan your lesson with the virtual format in mind. For example, during your lesson you’ll control the screen and can share files, programs, or your computer desktop. There is a chat feature which allows you to chat with your group of students, and a virtual whiteboard which allows you to type and draw and allow your "students" to do the same.  

No really, what can I teach?
Anything you'd like, seriously!

Still have questions? Check out the Help Tool on the Applicant Center.

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