Preparing for a Teaching Audition

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At this time of year, departments focus on hiring qualified staff to teach adjunct classes and fill full time positions for the fall.  Most departments like to have classes staffed before faculty leave campus for the summer. Therefore, this is a great time to check for adjunct openings, one year contracts, and full-time positions. It is also a good time to begin to think about preparing for a teaching audition. As colleges begin to sort through resumes or curriculum vitas (CVs), they will identify qualified candidates and begin to invited them in for a teaching audition.

What is a teaching audition?
A teaching audition is part of the hiring process. Prospective teaching candidates are invited to demonstrate their ability to teach in front of a panel of comprised of administrators or staff as well as full time faculty members. The candidate will be asked to prepare a lesson that they would teach to a class of students. This provides the panel with the opportunity to see candidate in action. Not only will they have the opportunity to evaluate pedagogy, but also the candidate’s knowledge of the content. The panel will participate in and evaluate the audition and determine whether to recommend the candidate for hire.

Preparing for a Teaching Audition
When preparing for a mini teach, there are several things to keep in mind:

1. Demonstrate your content expertise. There will be faculty from your discipline in the panel. They will know if you are in command of the content or not. Sometimes, a department may provide a topic for the candidate to lecture on. Other times, the candidate will be given the freedom to select a topic of his/her choice. Regardless, it’s important to demonstrate content expertise.  Be prepared!joao-silas-51725
Important to Note: Sometimes, there will also be faculty from different disciplines or staff and administrators present who are not familiar with your content (similar to the students you will instruct). This is important to consider as you prepare your lesson – do not assume your audience knows the content. Explain concepts thoroughly!

2. Make sure that you have developed a lesson that can be  presented in the time allotted. Ask how much time you will have to teach and prepare a lesson accordingly.

3. Ensure that you have different types of learning activities built into your lesson. Lecture, videos, and interactive learning activities demonstrate that you are a dynamic teacher. As you prepare your lesson, ask yourself “Would I want to be a student in my class?”.

jeremy-yap-1607134. Find out what type of technology will be available to use during the teaching audition. This will allow you to prepare accordingly. Make sure that you have access to a computer and projector. If you do not, adjust your presentation and materials accordingly. Prepare your materials in advance and bring them with you. Have handouts prepared and printed out in advance. Bring a clicker to advance the slides so that you can freely move through the classroom.  Consider bringing white board markers or any other materials you may need available during your lesson.

5. Ask questions and call on your “students”. Make sure that you call on people in your audience to answer questions. You would call on students to check for understanding in your classes; therefore, incorporate questions into your lesson.

6. Practice. practice, practice! It’s important to go over the lesson several times to ensure that it flows well and it meets the required amount of time without going over. Some departments will stop a candidate when their audition time is up. If you do not properly plan, you could be cut off before wrapping up your lesson. The panel may question your ability to plan effectively. Use family and friends as “students” to practice your lesson. They can provide feedback, whether they know information about the content you’re presenting or not.

7. Finally, dress professionally! This is your first impression on many of the people in the department who you wish to work with, so make a good impression.

Preparing for a teaching audition is important for anyone interested in working in higher education. Are there specific questions you have about teaching auditions? Leave a comment with your questions, and we will answer them in a future blog!

Photo Credit: @mikael_k and @joaosilas and @jeremyyappy
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