Maybe it is just me but I don’t understand the purpose of doing a demo if one has several years of teaching experience. I don’t mean to say that an experienced teacher is too good to do a demo. I am not even thinking about the legality of the demo. It is just that there should be some level of faith on the part of the employer.
I have 7 years of teaching experience, 4 of them in Taiwan. During the interview process they always ask me specifics about my teaching experience. I always provide the school that I am interviewing with a comprehensive list of each school I have worked for in the past, along with the school’s phone number and my former supervisor at that particular school. I encourage them to make phone calls to check on my ability as a teacher.
I get frustrated when I am then asked to do a demo. Sometimes I am asked to do a 15 minute demo, but most are 30 minutes or an entire class period (which is 40 - 50 minutes long). And I don’t get paid for those demos. I start to think “Why should I help out the school and teach this period without pay? Why don’t they take the time to call up my references that I provided for them?” It also seems that I get the ol’ “demo by ambush.” This is where after the interview they take you to a classroom and tell you to start to teach. They will let you know when to stop. This really makes me mad because I emphasize during the interview process that I am acknowledged by my peers as always being prepared for my lessons.
During the interview process the school will tell me their payment schedule which is usually once a month (e.g. the 10th of every month). I have been burned by some schools by getting late payments or incorrect payments. But I am supposed to trust the school I am interviewing with that they aren’t going to screw me as well. That is fine. I would just like to receive a little bit of faith as well that I know what I am doing. The school could probably get more detailed information if they called past employers than they could by watching me do a demonstration.
I am sorry. I just had to vent. Perhaps I am alone in my thinking.
A demo is just that - a demonstration that you can perform the job reasonably well. A cold piece of paper listing experience doesn’t really tell the employer much about what kind of teacher you are. Especially in Taiwan, with all kinds of riff raff getting away with teaching, employers have a right to be wary and take the goods for a test drive before signing a new teacher on. Actually, if a school doesn’t ask me to do some sort of demo during the hiring process, then I’m wary, because that’s a signal that the school is the kind that will either just hire anybody, or is “lookist” and hires foreigners based on how blonde & cute she (preferably) is, who cares how well you perform the job.
I agree that anything over 15 minutes is ripping off your valuable time. However, 15 minutes is reasonable. Think of it this way, how long does the interview itself last? 15 minutes is no time at all. A half hour or so, however…
I agree that 15 minutes is not too bad for a demo. I guess I wouldn’t mind if that was the only amount of time. Is that length the norm? Unfortunately for me, my interviews on average last about 1 to 1 1/2 hours because the interviewer and I get to talking…and talking…and talking. By the time the interview is over I am in no mood to do a lengthy demo, especially when I am not told what to prepare.
The reason I started thinking about this subject was because I met a teacher at a Starbucks in Tienmu. We started sharing our highs and lows within the profession. He told me that he was working for two years at one branch of a chain school. He and his wife bought a house so he requested a transfer to another branch that was closer to his new residence. When a position opened up he was asked to do a demonstration as part of the interview process. Both of these branches were company owned and not franchised out. He refused to do the demonstration because he felt that the school could just as easily exchange information since they were part of the same company. He didn’t want to take time off of work to go and do a demo at the other branch. Instead, he provided copies of his performance evaluations which, according to him, were very good. He did not get the job because of an incomplete application (no demo performed).
I felt that he was right, but I am sorry that he did not get the job. I think he ended up leaving that school and went to work somewhere else.
An interview lasting 1 1/2 hours doesn’t seem to long IMO. Some professions may require their interviewees to demo their expertise in a real environment – auto mechanics for example – while others may require their interviewees to do a demo in a simulated environment if a real environment is not possible.
Furthermore, an internal transfer should not automatic mean a simplified hiring process. Just because a mechanic performs satisfactorily to one local branch manager does not mean another branch manager will find him equally employable.
I find it very strange that big chain schools happily take a new teacher that has just arrived in Taiwan completely sight unseen, but then make experienced teachers already living here jump through hoops to get a job. Perhaps the new ones are cheaper?
I don’t do them because they’re illegal for me (no ‘married a xiaojie’ visa for me).
If you have X plus years experience, a demo says nothing about your teaching abilities either because you can figure out what style of white monkey they want and be it for the demo.
Taiwan EFL is all utter bollocks.
It matter naught. Do the Demo. Take the pain.
All they basically want to see is some sort of rapport gel unto the younglings.
Especially if one is experienced.
It’s also grand fun to pull a ripping demo, and then turn them down.
It’s like Singin’ In The Rain.
Maybe you’re right… utter bollocks… there must be schools like these. Let the white guy show his tricks, it’s free after all, and who knows it’s fun too see him struggle. But I like what TheGingerMan says, too… Now to consider the positive side as well:
I’m not in teaching at all by the way and I hope I’ll never be. But I can make a parallel with my field, software engineering. I’ve done quite some job interviews here in Taiwan. I can tell you, those who prepare a real interview, with challenging and confronting questions, those are the jobs that worked out for me. The analogy with your teaching demo would be a verbal/written test of software knowledge. Sure I could be pissed off, like, didn’t you see my resume with my years of experience??? But I found out… those are the companies who want to have decent engineers and are not in the 9 am to 9 pm slavery with demotivated cubicle zombies, chatting away on MSN anyway. Once I had an interview with a guy, PhD, he asked me NOTHING. He was just happy to have me join them (because a Westerner?) I took the job. Big mistake. Other company’s interviewers would put me to the test. One even had a one hour long written test. THAT’s how I like it.
Then again on the other hand… for my field… Taiwanese IT companies SUCK.
I screwed up my first demo here, 13+ years ago, and they hired me anyway.
It’s possible to have several years of teaching experience and still not know how to teach. Some schools don’t offer any training and don’t care if the kids learn or not as long as the kids are happy - you could spend years just letting kids color, or you could actually be a teacher, nobody can tell the difference in your experience just by looking at your resume.
I’d be scared of a school that didn’t want me to do a demo - it would show me that they are the kind of school that doesn’t care about the quality of what they offer, both to the students, and to me.