I realized that I forgot to write about my experience with my first demo class that helped me land a job at the prestigious International Primary School.
So two weeks into my TESOL course, Josy gets a call from Ms. Diep, the manager at the IPS. Ms. Diep was looking for native-English speaking teachers. Josy recommended Rosie and I for an interview. By the third week, Rosie and I went through an informal telephone chat followed by a in-person discussion. At the discussion, Ms. Diep asked Rosie and I to do a demo class the following week. The idea of a demo class is for the prospective teacher to be evaluated by the manager, director of studies, or whatever high-up position at the school. It also helps determine what kind of salary the prospective teacher can command.
So Rosie and I worked hard on our demo classes with a lot of help from Josy to make sure we were prepared. We felt good showing up the following week to strut our stuff. I was first to be called in to do my demo class. What happened in literally the next minute seemed to be a page torn from a terrible TV sitcom. I entered the class, waved my hand in a highly animated ‘hello’ gesture and enthusiastically bellowed out, “Hello class!” Great start, yes? Well it would’ve been if the kid in the back right corner didn’t decide to projectile vomit on to his desk. That’s right. The boy in the back spews his breakfast on to his desk and gives me a panicked look. And I just continued with the class as if nothing happened.
Some of you might wonder why I did this. Here are the factors that raced through my head when I tried to decide how to react.
- Ms. Diep, the manager of the school, glanced over at the boy then back at me as if nothing major happened. She looked at me expectantly waiting for my next move.
- Each class has a teacher’s assistant to help manage the class effectively and for any necessary translations to ensure lessons go smoothly.
- This demo class is an evaluation of my capabilities as a teacher – it determines whether or not I am hired and what my probationary salary will be.
With these factors in mind, I briefly asked if the boy was OK and returned to my planned lesson immediately. I gambled on the idea that the TA would be there to assist with situations like that… even if it involves a boy projectile vomiting on to his desk sixty seconds into class. I was correct in my assumption, so that was very good. I also played off Ms. Diep’s reaction and facial expression – she did not look worried and seemed to wait for my next move. It was as if she planted the soon-to-puke kid there to see what I would do….
Fortunately, my decision to do what I did paid off. I scored a 19/20 on the teacher’s evaluation and Ms. Diep was thrilled to sign me on as part of the faculty at her school. I was stoked that the class went well because I thought for sure the puking kid was a bad omen of things to come. I even got the kids to chant and cheer “cucumber” and “potato” as if they were at a soccer match heckling. What caught me by surprise and made me incredibly happy to see was how well the students behaved and gravitated to you once you got them engaged with the lesson. Granted I gave each of them a piece of candy at the end of class, but when I was about to leave the school they made efforts to catch my eye and say, “Bye, Mr. Alex!”
All in all, I’m extremely happy to be starting my first teaching job at this school. The facilities are top-knotch, the staff are friendly, the students are incredibly well behaved. It’s probably the best possible start for a guy like me to ask.