How To Make A Kickass Teaching Demo Video For Teaching English Online

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Thinking about teaching English online but confused about a teaching demo video? 

You’ve come to the right place! Let’s go.

How to make a kickass teaching demo video 

Even though the internet has been around for ages, talking to someone online can still be a bit unnatural.

It can take a while to get used to it.

You rely on facial expressions, body language, gestures and props a lot more than you would in a normal conversation. 

Then, talking to someone online is very different to teaching someone online. 

Let’s be real: teaching English online can be weird!

So when you’re asked to put together a teaching video video for teaching English online, you might not know where to start.

To help you, we’ve put together our top tips on how to make a kickass teaching demo video for teaching English online.

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Read more: Teaching English Online

What is a teaching demo video?

When you join an online company, or you sign up to a teaching platform, you fill out an application form.

After that, you’ll probably need to do a demo teaching video. Essentially, a recording of you doing an online lesson.

This is so your prospective employers and students can see you and your teaching style.

Sometimes it can be just an introductory video. But sometimes it needs to be an actual lesson – live (with a genuine student or an interviewer pretending to be a student) or pre-recorded.

Read more: 7 Companies to Teach English Online to Adults

These teaching demo videos are important.

They will be the reason companies hire you or not (or give you a higher rate of pay), and whether students sign up for lessons with you or not. They’re a big deal.

For the companies or schools, they use demos as a way to see your teaching style, lesson planning abilities and professionalism in action. For students, they want to see your personality and hear your accent. 

Read more: How Much Money Can I Really Make Teaching English Online?

Because this can be a bit of an odd situation it’s best to be as prepared as possible before attempting your teaching demo lesson.

How to Make a Kickass Demo Video for Teaching English Online

Teaching demo tips

Have a plan

This is basically the first rule of teaching. You can’t ignore it, even for an online lesson.

You should be given a level, topic and/or language structure or you could be asked to choose your own. 

If they provide you with materials, use them appropriately and effectively, but don’t be shy to adapt them to suit your needs.

Either way, have a plan for every step of your demo.

This doesn’t need to be written down in detail on a formal lesson plan, as long as you are able to remember it. Sticky notes work well for some teachers, while some prefer notebooks or pieces of paper. You can write it on the back of a cereal box for all we care, as long as it is written down somewhere!

Keep it simple

Don’t choose materials or activities that are too complicated. When you are employed you may be given lesson materials so the focus of the demo is more on you and your teaching, than the teaching materials.

Make sure you are familiar with your materials before the lesson and are comfortable giving clear instructions for them.

Read more: How Should Teachers Give Instructions

Palfish: a company for teaching English online without a degree

Practise makes perfect

You might feel ridiculous but do a run-through of your lesson beforehand.

No matter how well you have a lesson planned in your head or on paper, voicing it out loud can be very different. Going through the lesson a few times will help you remember the steps and help the lesson run smoothly.

If possible, do the lesson in front of a mirror so you can see what your students will see, or ask a family member to watch you and give you constructive criticism.

Testing testing 1,2,3

Imagine this: You’re camera battery dies mid-recording! Or your microphone isn’t working – and you only realise afterwards! Or you record your demo and you’re halfway out the frame! 

There’s nothing more frustrating than technology glitches.

Check and double check your technology and equipment so that everything is perfect before the lesson.

Be professional

It might not feel like your usual job interview, but it is!

Dress conservatively. Be presentable. Speak clearly but not too loudly. Don’t speak too quickly or slowly. 



It can be difficult to come across as friendly and personable on a screen. A sure way to let people know that you are happy to be there (even when you aren’t!) is a smile.

You don’t need to be cheesy the whole time, but a resting you-know-what face is not a good idea in these circumstances. Especially if you are teaching Young Learners, you might find you need to over-exaggerate your facial expressions to communicate more effectively.

Finally, try to relax!

Personality is so important when teaching English online.

Your teaching demo needs to show off your fun-loving and energetic personality.

Even if you’re nervous, fake it and give a big smile and soon you’ll probably find that you actually are enjoying it! Good luck!

Looking for an online teaching TEFL job? Check out our jobs board to see what we have on offer!


I have completed my Level5 TEFL course and I am a sports coach, coaching children between the ages of 1 year and 7 years old. I have been told that I have a natural teaching ability as I am very good with children and very much a people person.
I am looking to do a demo video so I can apply to Cambly and Palfish. I believe I could gain experience on these sites to gain more confidence for online teaching as this is very new to me.
Can you give me guidelines as to what is expected in the demo video, how long it should be, etc.

Virna Bews, 30th June 2020

I’ve been told by friends i’d make a good teacher, & being currently out of work, i need something which will encourage me. Your Online teaching offer is something i’ll be speaking to my friends about, as the price is right for my pocket right now.

Thank you.

Michael Moss, 5th May 2020

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