‘Tis the season for job applications! If you’ve been assembling teaching portfolios and tailoring both teaching statements and diversity statements, we’d like you to look forward to the on-campus interview. After you’ve made the short list as a job candidate, get ready for your teaching demonstrations. These are part of a day-long interview process where job candidates deliver an engaging, discipline-specific presentation or lesson. You may already plan great lessons for your students week after week. But, there are considerations when encouraging a mixed audience to take part in the learning process. Think of the teaching demonstration as your job materials personified.
Depending on the discipline and institution, teaching demonstrations may not be required (Smith et al., 2013). However, most four-year and two-year institutions do have teaching demonstrations as a part of the interview process (Gannon, 2019). So, how can we prepare for teaching demonstrations and take a reflective look at our teaching practices? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- The audience may not be your usual audience, but that’s okay! In teaching demonstrations, the audience can be a mix of students (both in major and outside of the major), the hiring committee, and/or departmental faculty. You should still proceed to design and deliver the lesson to an audience that is typical of your course. Because the hiring committee wants a sample of your “typical” teaching, treat the whole audience—faculty, committee, and all—as students.
- Your tried-and-true lessons may need additional context. Your “greatest hits” lessons work in your classroom, but will they work for a teaching demonstration? Consider how your lessons fit into the curriculum of the department in which they were created. Are there skills that students need in order to be successful in your popular lessons? Will the students in your new classroom have the requisite skills? In teaching demonstrations, think about how your lesson fits into their department, curriculum, and student population.
- If your lesson relies on a piece of technology, be sure to have a back-up plan. Access to technological teaching tools varies between institutions. What you have access to at one institution may not be available at another or not be available on their internet connections. Additionally, technology can unexpectedly fail. What are some other ways your lesson can have the same impact? How else might you motivate the audience to practice the same disciplinary-specific skills in your lesson?
Smith, M. K., Wenderoth, M. P., and Tyler, M. (2013). The teaching demonstration. CBE Life Sciences Education, 12(1), 12–18. Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.12-09-0161
Gannon, K. (2019). How to succeed at a teaching demo | Chronicle Vitae. Retrieved from https://chroniclevitae.com/news/2161-how-to-succeed-at-a-teaching-demo