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Fractured Fractured is online now
 
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Otherís experience with Teaching demo lessons
Old 06-09-2019, 01:24 AM
 
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I had my first demo lesson this week.The more I think about it, the madder I get. The position was for teaching Language Arts at a middle school, but they made me do it in front of a reading intervention room. I didn’t know the specific grades of the students, or what they were struggling with. I was given a common core standard and told it didn’t need to be an introductory lesson, and it was to be around 20 minutes. It was really hard to pick a text because I didn’t want to spend the whole lesson reading aloud. Needless to say, I came in with something too high for them and it didn’t go so well. My lesson relied on probing at some points and I didn’t even get any responses the first time I asked the class for feedback. One of the people who observed me came in late, maybe halfway through the lesson. I had an exit note for the end and the kids looked like they were writing a fair amount, but then the classroom teacher didn’t even bring them down for the interview so I had no idea what they had written or if I had achieved my lesson plan. This doesn’t seem fair at all. Shouldn’t I go in front of a regular class if that is what I’m applying for? It’s already awkward enough of a process. I have no experience in reading intervention, and I think this put me at a disadvantage, especially for the time of year it is(the kids were totally checked out, no surprise). I’m totally livid they didn’t bring down the exit notes either. How am I supposed to reflect on my lesson or know what worked or what didn’t? Doesn’t seem like a good process at all. This is what demo lessons are usually like? Seems like typical bs of this profession. I also just realized that they didn’t ask me ANYTHING at all in the interview about the actual lesson I had taught. There was a question about what I would do if I had to reteach something( this was on the paper they were asking questions from though), but that was it. This just seems weird. Shouldn’t there be a debrief or at least a chance for me to reflect?Please tell me this is not how these typically go, as it seems ass backwards and pointless.



Last edited by Fractured; 06-09-2019 at 05:43 AM..
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:19 AM
 
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My colleague just went through a similar experience when applying for a position in a different district. On top of that, she was told that they were running late so instead of the 30 minute interview after the lesson that the previous candidates for the position had, she and the two remaining candidates would only have 15 minutes for the interview. They did not even want to talk about the lesson afterwards. During the interview, when asked how she would handle a particular situation, my colleague started to respond how she handled a similar situation in her classroom and was cut off with a rude remark by one of the interviewees, "I don't care how you handled it in your current classroom. How would you handle the situation if you were hired here?"

It is going to be their loss because my colleague is an awesome, dedicated teacher and she decided if they offered her a job, she would refuse it.
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:24 AM
 
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There were no time constraints as I think I was the only one they interviewed that day. Either way, they had allowed an hour and a half for the demo, school tour and interview. I just don’t get why they would have me teach a lesson and not ask questions about it. I made a three hour round trip drive as well. Don’t waste my damn time. Sorry your friend had a bad experience.
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Demo lessons
Old 06-09-2019, 06:32 AM
 
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I really donít understand their purpose. Everything about it is disingenuous. I did several and not once was everyone there on time and there was no debriefing afterwards.
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Old 06-09-2019, 07:16 AM
 
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First, I am sorry about your experience. I would be frustrated if that happened to me.

I am going to share what is going on at our school with demo lessons. I realize this might not be the case everywhere, but maybe it will give you some insight on what is going on behind the scenes.

Our principal is only doing demo lessons because the district is forcing her. She doesnít really have the time or manpower at this point in the year to pull it off. She has to have so many teachers witness the lesson with her, yet we can barely find subs at this point (and we are at a good school). We donít have assistants. So she is having to pull who she can, when she can, and where she can. It is a nightmare. Teachers are giving up their breaks to come watch, and yes, they get there when they can, and I bet some are late.

When I asked my principal how she thought the last lesson went, she told me, ďI am not concerned about the lesson. I have no doubt this teacher can teach the material. I wouldnít have brought this teacher this far in the interview process if I didnít think she could teach (at our school, the demo lesson is happening at the third stage). I am looking at her interactions with the children, her behavior management style, and her general presence in the room. I canít get these true answers from an interview.Ē And when all of us met later to discuss the applicants, that is what our principal focused on when we were rating them.

I think this demo lesson thing is a trend. The new thing. I hate you had a bad experience, but it might not be as bad as you think. Good luck.


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Old 06-09-2019, 07:22 AM
 
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I only had to do a demo lesson once and it was to the interview committee, instead of to children. It was awful! Not organic at all and I don't see how they could tell anything about how I'd teach children from a fake lesson I gave to adults. I didn't get that job.
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Old 06-09-2019, 08:26 AM
 
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Iím starting to think from the way they acted during the lesson and that fact that they didnít debrief me meant they already had a candidate and were just using me to fill a quota, but Iíd rather be canceled on if that were the case. Hours of prep and driving 100 miles on a Friday is not my idea of a good time. Also scheduling the demo on a Friday with two days left of school is moronic. Starting to think all admin is this stupid.
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:25 PM
 
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I just did a demo lesson a few weeks ago. They gave me a crap topic (fractured fairy tales). I focused more on my classroom management and my interaction with the kids which apparently was a mistake. The lesson wasn't one of my bests, but it wasn't my worst. I knew right away I didn't get it because there was a writing samle component and they told me not to worry about it.

They called references the day after and only got to my AP. They stopped after her (that's giving me some anxiety for a different reason, separate post).

I think if you're going to require a demo you need to let the candidate choose a topic.

I'm constantly surprised at what districts are requiring from candidates. You'd think if there was a teacher shortage, districts wouldn't be making it harder on quality candidates (demo lessons, digital interviews, and those ridiculous surveys).
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Very stressful and potentially unfair...
Old 06-09-2019, 03:10 PM
 
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I had to do a demo lesson to get my job in the district. The principal gave me a printed copy of a basal story with the possible skills that could be taught from the story listed. It was a really dumb story about an inch worm that ate its way through the dictionary. I kid you not.

It was for a small group in third grade, but I had no idea what level of students (although I correctly ascertained it was for the top ability group). I came up with a lesson on alliteration that involved a read aloud with group participation on the skill of alliteration, and then the students went back to read the story and look for examples of alliteration in the story. I also did some dictionary work with them.

It was good enough to get the job, but we never talked about the lesson in any depth afterward.

What I think is potentially unfair is that I have seen teachers who are within the district (for example, those working as aides) go to the teacher whose class they are going to be in and basically get the lesson scripted with help from the teacher and others at the grade level. We had one candidate who actually called the teacher at home (she was not from within the district) It would not have occurred to me to attempt to meet the teacher whose classroom I was going to demo in. I did not ask for a list of names ahead of time, I brought some name tag labels so I could address the students by their names during the lesson.

I remember a lot of stress about doing the lesson. I was glad that I never had to do another one in my career. Good luck to everyone going through it.
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Old 06-09-2019, 04:01 PM
 
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I actually enjoyed doing demo lessons because it allowed me to get a better insight as to what the teachers, admins, and students were really like at the school. I could see what they were looking for and how they gave feedback. It's otherwise common to get hired after one 30 minute interview around here, and IMO it's really hard to tell anything about what the school will be like from that.

At this point in my career, of course I'm always still learning new strategies and trying to improve, but I'm confident in the way I teach and I get results. If an admin doesn't like the way I teach, I'd most certainly rather know that up front than get hired, get poor evaluations, and then be dealing with a non-renewal at the end of the year!

I did have a couple that didn't go well, but in some cases I felt like I dodged a bullet. One P and AP wanted to come to my then current school to see me teach. They showed up over 10 minutes late and then were extremely negative when they called to give me feedback about the lessons- and very rude in the way they talked to me. The lesson wasn't perfect, but it was by no means a disaster. At the end the P said, "Yeah, not what we're looking for. " Well, yeah, not what I'm looking for either! The interview had gone well and imagine how horrific that year could have been had I just been hired based on that!

I would feel so much less stressed and more confident going into a new school knowing that the admin had already seen me teach and liked what they saw.


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Old 06-09-2019, 05:08 PM
 
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Our school uses demo lessons as a tie breaker, usually between the top two candidates. We don't expect a perfect lesson, but watch lesson pacing, clear objective, student interaction, and the ability to flex and go off script if behaviors require it.

Our current 3rd grade teacher who is doing an awesome job would not have gotten the job had it not been for the demo lesson.
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Old 06-09-2019, 06:11 PM
 
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Thanks for the responses. I can see why they have demo lessons, but I still think it is ridiculous that they put me in a reading intervention room. They should put me in the regular 7th or 8th grade class, and not asked me to come on Friday with two days left. I had about 9 students instead of the 15 I was told would be there, and a smaller group is even harder to teach in front of than a normal class size. Also, at least do me the courtesy to bring down the exit notes. Even if you have chosen a candidate, if I took this much time and came this far in the process, I would like to hear feedback from them and know if the kids got the lesson. Without swearing, I would say this admin team was unprofessional at best.
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