One of the parts of the Cambly Kids application process is a short demo lesson. In this post I give you some tips on how to pass the Cambly Kids demo class, from someone that successfully passed it! There’s a main application form for the Cambly platform with personal information, previous experience, if you have a teaching certificate you can upload this too. If you want to teach on Cambly Kids, make sure you tick the ‘I want to teach kids’ option on the form! This will then give you a couple of extra steps to complete!
Cambly Kids Demo Class
Now this isn’t a guarantee that if you do everything in this post that you’ll get hired. I have 7 years experience in Early Years, in schools in both the US and the UK and I have a TEFL certificate so those could have helped my application. They also do rolling on-boarding so if there’s a demand for tutors, they then hire more. If the ratio is OK, they hold off on new recruits.
So let’s get onto the demo class! It’s a bit of a freestyle and honestly, there’s not a lot of information or direction on what exactly you have to do. The video is recorded directly onto the Cambly website, so I don’t have a copy of my actual application video. You CAN however re-record it as many times as you want. If you feel that your first one wasn’t quite right, you can just choose to do it again! I ended up submitting my second one. I had done a couple of unrecorded practises, then didn’t quite like my 1st real attempt but was happy with my second! I think this does take off some of the pressure, I applied to another company too and my heart rate was through the roof because I was so nervous!
Part of the thing that I found so hard is that when doing a demo class, you have to act as if you are teaching a child…a child that’s not there. It’s just weird and awkward and nothing like how genuine classes are!
How To Prepare
There is no practise classroom or even a classroom that you enter for the application. It’s literally just a video of you talking to a screen. You are given a PDF file with a bunch of demo slides but these won’t be visible during the recording. You also can’t interact with them like how you would in a normal classroom. Usually you can draw on the slides with a pen, but you won’t be able to do this during the demo video. Here are a few ways to prepare yourself though:
Lighting: Make sure the lighting is GREAT. I know people who have been rejected for poor lighting. Some people use ring lights, I have an extra bright ceiling light bulb that works fine for me.
Background: Have a ‘child friendly’ background. I teach in my bedroom as it’s the only quiet space in the house, BUT I didn’t want to be ‘sleeping in classroom’. I have a giant world map on my wall which I use to document my personal travels and I sit in front of this. It’s great for starting conversations and I use it a lot in some of the ‘geography’ based lessons.
Props: I didn’t have a huge amount of props but for the demo lesson you can kind of scrape together suitable things. At the time of writing, the slides are mainly about colours and shapes, they were VERY basic…more basic than the actual classes. I grabbed some props that were the same colours as those mentioned on the slides. I also drew shapes on bits of paper to act like flashcards…circle, triangle, square etc. It took me 5 minutes to gather a bunch of stuff I could use.
Reward System: I had knocked something together for a previous company but it was nothing fancy. I had 5 different coloured stars that I cut out which can be velcro-ed onto a small whiteboard. The CK classroom has a 5 star digital reward system, some kids love it, some couldn’t care less, but as it’s a feature I made sure to acknowledge that I ‘knew’ about it. Throw ‘well done’ and ‘good job’ around as if your life depends on it.
TPR: TPR stands for Total Physical Response, which in real basic terms means make verbal words visual. After teaching in Early Years for so long I’m naturally quite animated now, over the top facial expressions, acting things out with your hands etc. There are hundreds of YouTube videos for examples. The most used ones are ‘circle’ (draw a circle in the air with your finger), ‘point to your mouth’ (if it’s a word or sentence that you’ll be wanting the student to copy) and ‘cupping your ear’ (showing that you are listening for the student to repeat). Make sure you speak SLOWLY and don’t use unnecessary words. If it’s a learner with very little English they won’t understand: “So, next we are going to learn some shapes and colours, can you get your finger and circle the yellow square that you can see on the screen”…go back to basics “circle, yellow”…act out circling, show something yellow.
Smile: Some days my cheeks hurt. In lessons even if you’re having a really hard time it’s important to keep smiling so do so in the demo too! If you look bored or too serious the student may be discouraged. I get a lot of comments from the parents about how they love the way I’m always smiling and encouraging. It’s scary talking to a stranger, especially if it’s in a second language, so make the student as comfortable as possible!
Cambly Kids Demo Lesson Length
On the Cambly website they say that the demo lesson should last between 3 to 5 minutes…that’s a VERY short time. Mine lasted just over 7 minutes. Here’s what I included:
A little intro about myself: ‘Hi, my name is Kylie and I’m from the UK. I’ve been a teaching assistant in the UK and USA for 7 years and I have a TEFL certificate. Let’s start!”
Class intro: “Hello! My name is Kylie! What’s your name?” (TPR hello, point to yourself, listen to their response…many kids do understand what’s your name at bare minimum) “Hello (GIVE KID A NAME)!, how are you? Happy or sad?” (I use happy and sad smiley faces).
…by this point a good 2 minutes have probably passed!…
The lesson: There are around 10 demo slides that they give you. I ended up picking 5 of the best ones that I could demonstrate the best. I also didn’t want my video to go on forever when they said try to make it 3-5 minutes! I actually screen shot my chosen slides and had them on my iPad. I then used my iPad as if it was the classroom screen. Pretending how I would potentially draw on the slides to show what I was saying. I use a tripod for my iPad, so it’s stable and free standing. “Circle, red” …TPR – circle action, show flashcard or prop, get the ‘student’ to repeat ‘red’…”Well done (NAME)!! Great! 1 star!”. I gave one star for each of my 5 slides. The slides are up for your interpretation, you might want to add in a song, circle or repeat ‘red square’, ‘yellow triangle’ or just the individual colours or shapes etc.
Outro: “You did great today! 5 stars! It’s time to say goodbye…GOODBYE!!” (Thank you for the opportunity Cambly! Bye)
Tutoring on Cambly Kids
When you’re actually teaching real life children it’s completely different to the demo. Often when I meet a student for the first time I will talk very slow and until I can get a judge on their level, use all the TPR, expect they may not be able to read etc. It’s important to be able to adapt your teaching style and pretty quickly, after all the lessons are only 30 minutes long. Sometimes students are close to fluent in speaking English, for these you can usually drop the over the top TPR, you can speak a little faster and use regular sentences. Sometimes these fluent students can read but sometimes they can’t. Other students can read but they have limited comprehension on what they are reading and saying. Others will have little to no English speaking or reading. The great thing about having regular students is that you can pick up on these areas and adapt the lessons. I wrote a guide on some of the things I do as a tutor: 7 Tips On How To Be A Successful Online ESL Tutor (Cambly Kids).
I’m sure every tutor has their own way of teaching students. I have my little routine that works well with my students and it’s definitely come a long way since my demo video! But at the end of the day, if the parents are looking for a different style, they have that freedom to jump ship and find another tutor. It’s important to not take things personally, some kids click with you, some don’t. Sometimes you’ll get a reservation from a student because their regular tutor isn’t available. You may only see them once and never again. Some you might see every day!
If you are interested in some of my other Cambly Kids posts, you can find them below! If you have any questions? Let me know!
Sign Up For Cambly!
Ready to sign up? Here’s my Cambly Kids referral link.
Want a TEFL Certificate? I got my 120hr certification through the International Open Academy.