VIPKID is one of the biggest names in the online English teaching world and seems to be on a never ending search for ESL teachers.
The demo class is a key stage in the VIPKID interview process and In this article you’ll learn how to prepare for it, what’s expected of you, as well as plenty of tips to pass it with flying colors.
What is the VIPKid demo lesson and where does it fall in the interview process?
Meeting the basic VIPKID requirements is all you need to gain access to the demo class stage. This pretend-class is a crucial part of your interview process and will be used to establish whether you get hired or not.
Make sure to check out our full guide to teaching with VIPKID for more on the requirements, salary details, and full interview process.
The demo class requires you to prepare and deliver a class, very much like you would with an actual lesson, only without a student. VIPKID provides you with all the material for your lesson (which can be found in the teacher portal) so no preparation is required. However, you will need to go over the PowerPoint presentation to make sure you can teach the class confidently.
The lesson they’re using at the moment for the demo class is titled Me, Myself, and I and aims at teaching some vocabulary (specifically the word ‘sad’), a bit of sentence structure (‘he/she is sad’) and some phonetics (pairing the sound ‘ig’ with a few consonants).
The slides also include a printable reward system you need to use during the class.
In your demo lesson, you will go over each slide and pretend that you’re teaching them to a student. You’ll need to make sure you elicit full sentences and correct pronunciation while guiding the student to help them perform some basic tasks, such as using their mouse to circle or draw lines.
This is not a real class but it’s important to act as if it were.
Types of demo classes (live, smart)
The demo lesson has undergone quite a few changes recently and it is now about as simple and convenient as possible. Currently, VIPKID offers two options for your demo lesson – live and smart. The material to prepare is exactly the same for both versions and the only thing that changes is the way the lesson is delivered.
Let’s take a better look at what each entails so you can decide which one would be best for you.
Smart Demo Lesson
Probably the more convenient between the two options, the smart version lets you record the lesson using your own device (either a computer or a smartphone) and in your own time. No need to schedule anything here and when you’re done with your recording you can just upload it and wait to hear from the VIPKID team.
This option has some pretty obvious benefits:
- It’s only 5 minutes long
- You can record it whenever you want
- You can re-record it as many times as you need
Live Demo Lesson
The 30-minute live demo lesson follows a somewhat more traditional pattern since it requires you to schedule a class with a recruiter who will take on the role of a 5-year-old child.
Although some may find this option a bit more stressful, it does present a few benefits that the smart demo class doesn’t offer:
- You get immediate feedback
- You get a chance to negotiate your pay with your interviewer
- It doesn’t hurt that there’s an actual person while giving the class as opposed to some imaginary child
How is the demo class evaluated? What is VIPKid looking for?
The demo class is a chance for VIPKID to see if you’ve got the skills they’re looking for in a teacher and to make sure your working environment is up to standard.
This is the list of the Applicant Performance Indicators the company uses to assess its candidates.
Here are the main things the recruiters will be looking out for:
- Your preparation – although you don’t have to plan your demo lesson, your recruiter will want to make sure you’ve gone over the PowerPoint presentation and that you have put together the props and equipment needed to deliver a good quality class
- Your English proficiency level – to make sure you are a native speaker
- Your ability to give instructions and elicit answers from a student
- Your energy and enthusiasm
- Your use of TPR
- Your classroom setup – there’s no need to go out of your way and buy expensive equipment or props for your demo class, but you need to try and make the most of your surroundings (more tips on that below) and have a few useful objects at hand (especially to reward the student)
Tips on how to do well in your VIPKID demo class
As we already mentioned, you only have one chance to nail your demo class so you need to make sure you’re doing everything you can to deliver an outstanding lesson. While the main thing your recruiter will be looking out for is your preparation and your enthusiasm, here are a few tips that can help you make an even better impression and maximize your chances to become a VIPKID teacher.
Enthusiasm and Praise
Look as positive and energetic as you can – pay attention to your facial expressions and body language and don’t forget to smile, give lots of praise and use the reward system suggested (or another one, if you prefer) to encourage the student.
TPR is already extremely important when teaching kids in a normal setting and it’s even more so when teaching them online. Be sure to include it to make your class as effective and entertaining as possible.
A curated background can give a totally different look and feel to your class so make sure you put some thought into it.
If you’re just getting into online teaching, you might not want to invest a ton of time and money into setting up a perfect background – if that’s your case, here’s a nice video that shows you what you can do if you’re on a budget.
A good background is no use if you can’t see it, that’s why you need to check that both you and your background are well lit. The lighting is also what establishes the mood of the class, so don’t underestimate it.
Here’s a nice video about lighting that VIPKID has linked on its website.
This may sound obvious but… rehearse as much as you need – whether you decide to go for the live or the smart demo class, you’ll have the option to decide when to schedule it or record it so take your time and make sure you’ve studied the material, watched plenty of tutorials on YouTube and practiced in front of the camera until you feel confident.
4 Demo lesson examples
Luckily, when it comes to preparing your demo class, there are plenty of walkthroughs on YouTube to help you nail this part of the interview. We’ve put together this short list of tutorials that we find are particularly helpful.
VIPKID DEMO: Me, Myself & I: Who Am I – 5 minute DEMO (Launched in June 2019) by Teacher Nancy
Why we like it: here, VIPKID teacher Nancy introduces you to some nice icebreakers, gives you some alternatives to the more common reward systems but, most importantly, in this video, you’ll see a great example of the energy and enthusiasm VIPKID looks for.
VIPKid Simplified LIVE Demo Lesson/Interview (Me, Myself, and I) Walkthrough + Tips by Teacher Erin
Why we like it: it gives you specific tips on how to give clear instructions and help a child understand how to perform basic tasks using their mouse, such as circling or dragging and dropping.
VIPKid Simplified Interview/Demo Lesson (Me, Myself, and I) Walkthrough & Tips! By Teacher Charisse
Why we like it: besides offering a great demo lesson walkthrough, Teacher Charisse stresses the importance of avoiding incidental language when addressing your students, a trap a lot of teachers working with kids for the first time might fall into.
VIPKID: PASS THE DEMO LESSON | “Me, Myself, and I” Demo Lesson | How to Pass the VIPKid Interview by Teacher Rylee
Why we like it: while the walkthroughs listed above are great because they explain in detail the how and why everything needs to be done, it’s also important to get a feel of what an actual demo class would look like. For this reason, Teacher Rylee goes through a full demo lesson giving minimum explanations and keeping the timing real so you’ll know what your class should actually look like in the end.