Finalist Day Tips for Teaching Applicants

Part of our hiring process for teachers involves teaching a sample lesson. Our School Directors are seeking educators who actively engage students during their lesson, operate with a growth mindset when it comes to receiving and implementing feedback, and arrive to their interview prepared.

We recommend that you watch Match Education's mini videos on Running a Quality Lesson before you begin planning. Then, follow the steps below to prepare for your finalist day.

Plan
At YES Prep, we provide candidates with a template as well as an exemplar lesson plan. There are also many resources available online. Analyze the examples to see what a great lesson plan looks like. Then, create a plan for the time allotted (typically, about 20 minutes). You should:

  • State your lesson objective simply.
  • Plan 3-5 key points that students should grasp when they finish the lesson.
  • Select the way you will present this information (PowerPoint, notes, lecture).
  • Plan the way students will process this information (more on this later) and how you will check for understanding.
  • Choose the length of time for each portion of the lesson.
  • Consider what materials you’ll need. You may even want to print materials for students in advance, so you can arrive to campus on the day of the lesson without the added stress of preparing materials.
  • Set behavioral expectations to message to students on the day of the lesson. Reflect on what students will need to do and how you would like them to do it (such as asking or answering questions). 

Perfect Your Content
As you write your lesson, research your key points to make sure that the information you are sharing is accurate. It may have been several years since you studied this objective, so do not expect to rely fully on your memory.
 
Practice
The first time that you present this lesson should not be on the interview day itself.  When you practice in advance, you become comfortable with the material, refine the way in which you will present information to the students, and can time the lesson to make sure that things are completed within the allotted time frame.  Practice the lesson in front of others or record yourself on your phone to hear what you will say. Utilize a stop watch to time how long it takes for you to deliver content and for students to process the information.

  • Prepare for Student Processing.  Plan how students will process the information. This processing might occur in a few ways:
    • Written Processing:  Students take notes on the material being learned.
    • Verbal Processing:  Students talk with a partner about the content.
    • Think-Time Processing:  Students use silent time to think about a question that you have just asked and how they will construct an answer.
  • Interact with Students. Don’t be afraid to connect with students!  Greet students as they enter your classroom. Learn their names or let them create name plates, so you can use their names in the lesson.  Building transformative relationships with students is critical to learning, so begin doing so in the interview.

Prepare to Process Feedback 
Often, receiving feedback is just as big of a part of your interview day as your sample lesson. Generally, those observing will provide feedback on your strengths and areas for growth. It is natural to feel apprehensive about receiving feedback. However, embrace this as an opportunity to hear how to improve your craft and as to hear what the school is looking for in exemplary instruction. In other words, acknowledge those nerves you might feel in advance, reflect honestly after the sample lesson on what went well and what could have been better, and listen earnestly to what might enhance your teaching.