“Hired for knowledge; fired for attitude”

I found it interesting that Vinicius Nobre in his last post wrote about how  social media and professional image are being watched when considering a person for  a job.  Actually, as professionals, ALL of us are being watched ALL the time, no matter where we stand.

As a CELTA tutor I find that besides preparing teachers in terms of knowledge, and helping them perfect their teaching skills, I am also responsible for giving them feedback on inappropriate behavior, and helping them see what they need to achieve to become an all-round professional.  Candidates  sometimes don’t realize how behavior which might be acceptable in their private circles needs to change when they move into public spaces.  I would like to share three things that happened to me and my peer tutors recently.

As I often interview teachers from other states in Brazil via Skype, I was uncertain if I should add a person because the Skype name was a play on words that made it pornographic. I had to ring the student to confirm if this was the right Skype name in order to add him.  Needless to say I talked to him about the inappropriacy of his Skype name. Since then, I noticed the name has been removed. I guess he got the message.

Dress code was another area my peers and I had to talk to our CELTees about.  Despite this hot sweltering summer, one would supposedly think it inappropriate to come in flip flops, bermudas, tank tops, and low cut dresses to teach.  Not so.  Only after a chat did they become aware of how the market views professionals.

A full time CELTA is a really intensive course, where candidates sleep very little. Tardiness of a colleague who is going to teach adds an extra burden to the colleagues who have to improvise while they wait for their peer to arrive.  Fair? I don’t think so. One more issue to be dealt with to help our candidates become full-fledged professionals.

Teachers, remember: Attitude counts! Work on this as much as you do to learn content.

Directors, trainers, and coordinators: Hire for attitude and knowledge, but don’t  be afraid  to give feedback on attitude. Part of our mission is to help teachers grow in all dimensions.

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Debora Schisler

Debora Schisler , M.A. in Applied Linguistic, PUC-SP is an experienced teacher and teacher educator. Started her career at Associação Alumni , founded SEVEN Idiomas and today is head of Teacher Courses, and Exams at SEVEN. She is CELTA and ICELT tutor ; Centre Exams Manager and Team Leader for Cambridge English Assessment.

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