Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Being an ALT #13: Demo Lessons

Most ALTs will be expected to perform demo classes during the year. Some will be just for in-school staff, some for the PTA, and sometimes you'll have to perform in front of a pretty large crowd of teachers from the area. Very occasionally, you'll find TV/radio crews, too.

Don't be put off by this. As an ALT, most of the attention is on the Japanese teacher. If you are lucky enough to have a big role in the demo, take it as a sign of their trust in you and your ability.

Anyway, other than the crowd, it's just a regular lesson (except some teachers will plan weeks in advance, sometimes even making the demo the second time those students have been taught the lesson).

However, there are some things which you can get out of this experience:

  • First is an exposure and profile boost: do well and your audience and teacher will have a better opinion of you. This is nice.
  • Secondly, and most importantly, is the chance to take stock of your own ability and presentation. Most (big) demo classes are video taped by at least one member of staff. If you can, ask them if you can watch it back. As horrible as it is to watch yourself, it's an ideal opportunity to see what does and does not work. You might notice that your explanations need work, that you sometimes talk a little bit too fast or too quietly without realising it, that you miss struggling students, that you stand kind of camply... stuff like that. This chance to review your own performance is invaluable if you take your teaching seriously. Not only can you fix problems, but you can increase your own confidence by doing so.
In short, these things are good for you. Fighto.

1 comment:

  1. I have learned to quite like Demo lessons. As an ALT every time there is an English Demo you are wanted. Which means you will end up doing a lot more than other teachers!
    This also means you will go in pretty relaxed, I mean, you have probably already done one already this week, and they will be a sweaty wreck who makes mistakes and rushes through the plan at 100 mph and glances at you in fear when they have finished the lesson 10 mins early (I ALWAYS) have a back up game for this!

    The most annoying thing for me, being an elementary ALT is that I often get told (moments before),
    "Mr Ito" (MY boss) "Is watching the lesson today, so I will take the main role and you can be support"....
    Which is nice, seeing as the elementary teachers don't always turn up to my lessons, but when MY boss watches they take over. Thanks guys...