Part 2: Preparing for a Teaching Audition

IMG_2541As a follow up to our previous blog, Preparing for a Teaching Audition, here is additional information to help as you get ready for a teaching audition.

We have prepared lessons for teaching auditions for our own job interviews, and we have helped colleagues and adjuncts prepare for them. In addition, we have participated in evaluating countless teaching auditions from a variety of disciplines. From our experiences, here are several suggestions to consider when preparing a lesson for a teaching audition.

Explain Where/How Your Teach Fits
Prior to starting the lesson, tell the committee what you will be teaching and how it fits into the semester long course curriculum. What did students learn before this lesson and at what point in the semester would students be exposed to this topic/information? This only takes a minute to explain, but it definitely helps to set the tone and establishes the committees’ expectations.

Remember: Don’t forget to tell the committee that you plan to treat them like students.

Prepare for a Diverse Audience
Hiring committees are comprised of administrators and faculty from within the college. They may also include staff or faculty from other departments. They are your students. Treat them like your students. Thoroughly describe topics and concepts. Do not leave out important details because of the assumption that “these are faculty” and “they know this information”.

Remember: Be thorough! Describe and explain concepts clearly and completely!

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Be Dynamic
Demonstrate your content expertise by clearly describing and explaining concepts. Also, consider demonstrating content expertise by selecting a video or interactive activity. Remember to use balance! Provide a lecture that demonstrates your ability to explain concepts, but also include other tools that might help to illustrate or apply concepts you are teaching.

Remember: If you are bored, so is your audience. As you prepare, ask yourself – would I be attentive and engaged in this lesson? Would I want to be a student in this class?

Preparing For A Committee You Know
If you have been an adjunct instructor at the institution where you are auditioning, teaching a lesson to your colleagues may be awkward. It can be more difficult to talk about yourself and your accomplishments. But remember, you are competing for a position, so make sure you stand out. So proudly and confidently share your accomplishments. In addition, demonstrate your ability to present your content, be dynamic, and manage the classroom environment. This may even mean calling on someone who is on the phone to ensure they remain engaged in your lesson. If you catch them on their phone, tell them to put it away!

Remember: You are competing for a full time position! Present your lesson and share accomplishments and contributions that demonstrate your effectiveness in the classroom and as a faculty member. Pretend like your audience knows nothing about you. Do not leave out important details.

Preparing For An Interview Where You Know No One
If you don’t know anyone, this can make it easier to sell yourself, because you realize you need to share everything about yourself and your accomplishments However, this can also be intimidating for different reasons. You may wonder how conservative or liberal the committee members are or what topics are considered taboo. For this reason, play it safe! Choose a safe topic and stick to textbook examples while still demonstrating effective teaching by implementing lecture as well as videos to illustrate and interactive activities to apply the information.

Remember: Choose a safe topic that you are knowledgeable about to demonstrate your content expertise and ability to make a lesson engaging and applicable.

Be True to You
I was recently helping a colleague prepare a micro teach for a committee. They did not know anyone on the committee. He asked me if he should try to be funny and incorporate humor in his lesson. I asked him if he considered himself humorous and if students ever described him as funny. He told me no! In fact, he was only going to do it to please the committee. I explained that he needed to be himself. If you are funny be funny, if you are not funny don’t try to be funny!

Remember: Be yourself! This will help you to feel more comfortable and relaxed, which will make the presentation go more smoothly.

Faculty and administrators want to learn new content in an interactive and engaging way. They entertained, feel valued, and enjoy learning – just like students! The best presentations do all three demonstrating the candidate’s strengths and enthusiasm for the topic.

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