How to Do an Online Teaching Demo

Aug 17, 2017

Oh, the dreaded online teaching demonstration. You’re probably thinking to yourself, “This is so awkward! Why do I have to do this?” Well, the school wants to get to know you a little better as an educator, so a teaching demonstration is a good way for them to get a sense of your personality, teaching style, ability to lesson plan, and professionalism. These are all things that are important when teaching ESL abroad. If you’re an old pro at teaching demos, an online teaching demo is not that different from an in-person one. As a rule, your video should be professional, polished, and not bore the person watching it to tears.

Here are some tips for how to best handle this rite of passage:

A Simple Plan

Your teaching demo should be five minutes at most, unless the school has specified otherwise.
Brainstorm your demo ahead of time down to the minute. The better you prepare, the easier this is going to be for you!
It’s likely that you’ll be able to pick your own topic. Choose wisely. Don’t choose something totally obscure. It’s best to stick with topics that you’re familiar with and to keep your explanations succinct but informative.
It’s important to also have a grade level/age group in mind when lesson planning. I’d suggest that you choose young learners as it will be easier for you to find suitable activities.
Be sure to use vocabulary that is familiar to you. It would be a shame if you mispronounced an English word in your ESL video!
Make your video visually appealing. Choose activities that are educational, but also interesting to see on camera. Props are a great idea! If you’re tech savvy, you could also edit graphics into your video after you’ve recorded it. Have fun with it!

Practice Makes Perfect

Once you have your video planned out and you feel ready to start recording, first rehearse your lesson a few times. The more familiar with the material you are, the more natural it will feel to do your lesson on camera.
The first couple of times you run through your sample lesson do it in front of a mirror.
It’s important to pay attention to your facial expressions (smile!) and to remember to keep the lesson student-centered. You wouldn’t lecture to kindergarteners, would you? Of course not! So try to keep your future students in mind when recording your video.
If you have a friend or family member around, you should ask for them to watch your demo at least once. Ask for their feedback and make adjustments where necessary.

Check-ch-check-check-check-ch-check It Out (Your Equipment)

Is your battery charged?
Do you have enough room on your phone to record a video?
If you’re using a camera, do you have enough room on your memory card?
Is there enough light in the room?
When filming, is the video quality good, or will you need to rent or borrow a better camera?
Does the microphone work and pick up everything that you’re saying?
Are you filming in a quiet enough location, or will you need to relocate?

Lights, Camera, Action!

Make sure that you have allotted at least an hour to film your video to allow for reshoots and to handle any issues that might arise during filming.
Mount your camera or have someone who can hold the camera steady film you.
Be aware of what you are doing with your body. Are you making a lot of unnecessary hand gestures? Are you nervously messing with your hair or clothes? Are you chewing gum?
The goal is to exude as much confidence as you can in your video. Stand/sit up straight, pull your shoulders back, smile, and make eye contact with the camera like you would with your students.
If your handwriting appears in the video, make sure that it is legible!
It’s okay to do reshoots, if you need to.

It’s Your Time to Shine.

Once each part of your video has been filmed, and you feel good about the way it looks and sounds, you’re going to want to trim down the parts that are not as smooth. However, when you edit everything together later, make sure that your transitions aren’t choppy!
There is a plethora of resources available online about how to use film editing software, if you are unfamiliar. Just take a few minutes to read through an article or two about it to familiarize yourself with the process before you start editing.
When you are finished editing the video, add an introduction slide with your name, the name of your lesson, and the intended age group on it. At the end, add a concluding slide and remember to thank the school for their time.

Now go forth and create an awesome teaching demo!

By Jacklynn Blanchard

About our company: Teaching Nomad is an American owned and operated education recruitment company based in Shanghai, China. Our goal and purpose is to help great teachers find great teaching jobs. Year round, we have hundreds of teaching job vacancies. Whether your goal is to be an ESL teacher or teach in an international school, we have a teaching job for you. You can browse jobs online at for the latest job openings. Teaching Nomad is here to make teaching in China easier, so please feel free to reach out and contact us with any questions or inquiries!


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