If you have interviewed or have plans to interview for an online ESL company, then you know that you are more than likely going to have to be required to do a Mock class. Teaching a Mock class is a step in most online ESL teaching companies’ application process. Some companies called it a Demo Lesson but it usually involves the same situation. You will have to teach a “pretend student”, who is usually an adult or mock class mentor, acting like a 5-year-old learning English for a prescribed amount of time. This lesson usually evokes a lot of fear, anxiety and worry amongst soon-to-be online teachers and many choose not to move forward. Passing your Mock is not difficult with the right amount of practice, preparation and bringing a bit of performance to the lesson.
What Is Involved In Passing a Mock Lesson?
You might be wondering what is actually involved to pass the Mock lesson. In most situations, your online ESL teaching company is going to give you access to the “mock demo lesson” that you are going to teach in advance. This might be a pdf download or something you preview on their platform. You are going to need to gather some props and practice teaching the lesson in the prescribed time. There are also certain skills you will need to practice and work on to help you pass. Finally, you are going to need some kind of classroom set up, with good lighting and a stable internet connection. Most aspects of passing your Mock class can fall into the 3 P’s of Passing: Practice, Preparation & Performance.
Have you heard the expression, “practice makes perfect”? Well, it isn’t entirely true! Many teachers never schedule their Mock class because they want to be “perfect”. The reality is we are not perfect, we are just regular teachers trying to do our best. Practice can help you, however, come across as ready to teach students and there are some things that you can do to stand out. If the online ESL school you are applying for has a practice room, be sure to use it, and doing so will help you ensure your technology works. Practicing in the classroom is a strong indicator of passing as you will have had experience within the “teacher window” of what you look like with your props and using TPR (total physical response). Many online ESL companies also have referral programs whereby teachers make a commission off of you getting hired. Often they are called mentors, hiring coaches or recruiters. It is suggested you use them as they will often provide coaching and practice support to you to help you pass your Mock class. Practice may not make perfect, but it sure will help you look the part!
Below is an image of my teaching space:
Before you practice, you should make sure you are prepared. Choose 3-4 props that will link well with the lesson you are teaching. Choose props that help the learner understand the vocabulary and content clearer (ie: teaching “throw”, get a ball and use TPR to model “throw”). Make sure your classroom looks ready to teach. Countless teachers fail the interview / mock class because their setting is not ready for students. Often they think that it isn’t necessary to have things set up. Your classroom, lighting, and props will evolve with time but put your best foot forward for your Mock class. Make sure you have good lighting coming on you and minimal shadows. You want your technology to be working and you want to have a headset. Ensure sure you are wired to your wifi router so that you have the best possible stable connection for your Mock class. Many companies will also want a secondary reward system so you will want to have that ready to use in the lesson. Finally, prepare the lesson according to the objectives at the bottom of your slides and ensure you are helping the student to achieve those objectives before moving on to the next slide.
Online ESL teaching is a lot about the ability of the teacher to engage their students over a camera. Yes, we have the lesson slides and the wonderfully engaging curriculum but they are taking the class with us because they want to see us, hear us, and interact with us. Often times this is an evening or after-school lesson piled between many other classes that they are taking. Engage them and bring your energy! For your Mock class, you need to have an elevated energy level and you will want to bring 150% to the class. Even if you are normally a quieter, more reserved personality, bring the excitement for those 10 minutes or so of teaching that you need to show the “student”. This will really help in their overall assessment of your performance. A company like VIPKid or Gogokid, that hires North American teachers, generally want to hire teachers that have an upbeat personality, a smile on the camera for the student and a fun energy level to engage young learners who are learning English. Of course, you can still be yourself, but for the Mock, a little more energy will go a long way.
As you can see, some practicing, preparing and putting on your best performance can really increase your chances of feeling confident in your Mock class and passing with flying colors.
About the author:
Tim Gascoigne is an online ESL teacher and hiring coach for VIPKid and Gogokid. He has taught over 3,000 classes and loves helping new teachers find joy in this great work at home teaching job. He is the owner of www.vipkidbootcamp.com & can be found helping new teachers get hired or scuba diving around the islands of SE Asia.