Thursday, May 3, 2007

Please to advise me, please

So for this campus visit I need to give a 30-minute-ish teaching demo, described as "a lecture with some interaction." I won't be presenting it to actual students, as the students have all gone home, but instead to some faculty pretending to be students. (I actually find this slightly less intimidating than real students, oddly enough.) I think I have an idea for what kind of content to cover--I've decided to pretend that it's the first day of a course, or a segment of a course, and give a kind of overview of a subject that (I think) is really interesting, tying in some relevant literary materials which we'll look at in class. But I've never done anything like this before, and I've never talked to anyone who's had to do something like this before, so my question is:

Have any of you done this kind of thing? Or talked to someone who has? Or seen a job candidate do a teaching demo? And do you have any recommendations, advice, warnings, whathaveyou?

Oh, and I should mention: The material that I'm thinking of using for the demo would be something that I'd probably not actually get to teach, at least not in the first year. There's a reasonable chance that I could get it into the early Brit Lit course I'd teach in the fall, but it's not guaranteed; however, my feeling is that I should do something that I'm comfortable with, rather than choose something just because it's what I think they'd want me to do. Agree? or suicide?


Hilaire said...

I did this at my job interview at the place where I had a Visiting position last year. It weirded me out. But it went well. They seemed to like that i had overheads, questions, quotations, etc., etc. It felt like a song-and-dance routine, and they liked that. A friend of mine also interviewed there, and she chose to do something much less interactive - it didn't go over well. By the way, what she did was something like what you're describing - an introductory lecture to a class she'd be teaching - but I don't think that was the problem so much as that it was too lecture-y.

I'd definitely say that you should go with material you feel comfortable with.

Good luck!

squadratomagico said...

Positively, absolutely, go with material that you feel comfortable with, and which you enjoy. Being able to convey enthusiasm about the material is key. Students (and, I presume, faculty "playing" students) will pick up on your enthusiasm and it will become infectious; everyone will have more fun.

Sisyphus said...

I have no clue what you should do. But I'll be waiting and watching to find out how it goes!

And I know if you search back through other peoples' blogs you _will_ find descriptions of how their sample teaching went and what they did, so you might try that.

medieval woman said...

I also say go with the comfy material. And the interaction thing, too. I've always found that teaching demos go especially well (I've done a few) when you have a wrap-up few minutes at the end, outlining again, the 3-4 main points that they should have learned from that lecture/class/demo...

Good luck!