Tips and Tricks for Nailing Your Interview/Demo & Mock Class
Prepare, prepare, prepare - Make sure you are well prepared for your interview/demo/mock! Read all of the materials that are sent to you. Practice as much as you can! Practice alone in front of the mirror or record yourself, watch the playback , and practice again. Practice in front of your family or friends. There are lots of Youtube videos you can watch to give you ideas. Make sticky notes and reminders to help you and put them on the side of computer.
Be Yourself - I can't tell you how many countless videos I watched on Youtube to help me prepare for my interview and mock class. This is great for giving you ideas of what to expect. However, be careful that you don't just copy what others have done. I have heard several Mock Class Mentors all give them same advice - be yourself and don't just copy Youtube videos. How do you be yourself? Think about your strengths as a teacher. Is it your warm smile or your sense of playfulness? Use those strengths and build on them.
Energy, Smiles, and LOTS of praise - Students thrive in class when a teacher is full of energy, smiles, and praise! If your cheeks aren't tired by the end of your lesson then you probably didn't smile enough. Keep your energy up, make eye contact with the camera, smile, and have fun! Also, be sure to praise the students a lot for anything they do right! "Good job", "Well done" and "Excellent" are some of my favorites!
TPR - TPR (Total Physical Response) is SO important in the classroom! It cuts down on incidental language and it helps the students understand what you are trying to convey to them. Make sure you are well versed in how to do TPR. You will have a lot of information on this in the training materials given to you by VIPKid. I cannot stress enough how important this is. This is also one of the grading points of your interview/mock class. The evaluators will be looking to make sure you do TPR.
Slow Down and Speak Clearly - One of the reasons I stress practicing your lesson over and over is because when we get nervous we tend to speak fast. Remember many of the students you will teach have very little knowledge of the English language. Make sure you talk slowly and enunciate clearly. Try to avoid speaking with an accent if possible. I know this can be harder than it sounds. I live in the south so I get it. I also work as an actor so I have had to be really conscience about how I pronounce things. You can do it! Also, cut out the incidental language! Keep it simple and focus on the vocabulary and objectives.
Correct Mistakes - This is super important and also a grading point in your demo/mock class. The evaluator may purposely say things wrong to see if you will correct them. When I did my mock class my evaluator told me I missed a couple of them and I was so surprised! Correcting mistakes is VERY important to parents, which is why this is so important in your demo/mock lesson.
Make sure you have good lighting - Watch out for shadows. You can place a lamp directly behind your computer or recording device to help with lighting.
You must have a good internet connection - If you have a bad connection during the live interview it is likely that your interview will be cut short and you will either have to reschedule or fail. This is super duper important! Double check that you meet all technology requirements before you apply!
Look the Part - You certainly don't have to go out and spend a bunch of money on equipment/supplies before you're even hired. However, it does make a very good impression if you look like you want the job and are well equipped to start teaching with VIPKid. I highly recommend you get a nice quality headset with a mute button (you'll need it for teaching - trust me). Teachers are no longer required to wear orange - the official color of VIPKid, but many still do. I wore an orange hoodie for my interview and for my first 6 months of teaching (now I alternate between the orange one and a navy blue one). Make sure your hair is combed and your face looks good (whatever that means to you).
Prepare Your Classroom - Your classroom environment is so important as a teacher! It tells the student what kind of teacher you are and is one of the things parents notice when they see your intro video and potentially book you for a class! Your background doesn't have to be extravagant, especially for your interview/mock, but it should look professional and educational. It is best to teach in front of a wall, free from clutter behind you. You can hang some educational materials behind you. Have fun with it! Have all of your props/teaching materials organized and laid out before you start. It may also be helpful to keep some notes handy. For my mock class I had sticky notes around my computer with reminders!
Use a Reward System and Props - A secondary reward system is really important, especially with the young students. There are tons of rewards you can use/make for the classroom. For my mock lesson I made an ice cream cone and scoops out of colored felt. It's still one of my favorite props used today. I glued magnets to the back and stuck them to a cookie sheet from the dollar store. Laminated stickers or die cuts are also great rewards! You don't have to go out and spend money on props, though it's easy to do. Find things around your house or raid your kid's closet! When I taught the "my feelings" lesson for my mock class I used yellow paper plates and drew faces on them. Be creative and have fun! The more props and teaching tools you use in class, the more fun you and your student will have (plus it helps them learn)!