Once again this emerged from one of Willy Cardoso’s posts. We’re clearly in the same zone somewhere…. http://authenticteaching.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/hire-the-right-people-but-who-are-they/
I have just returned from an Academic Managers’ Conference and a couple of things in particular that were said have dripped down into some deep dark space in my head. The first came from one of those people that you just HAVE to like – articulate, funny, passionate, hard-working, sincere and just self-deprecating enough to be endearing. She was talking about her progress through the EFL world to where she is today – Academic Manager of a fairly well-known EFL school. She was saying that she got her CELTA – which she called a “backpack certificate” (and it’s not the first time I have heard it called that), in order to meander around the world in her own time and have something she could do to fund her on her travels. She admitted that she had no clue what she was doing, until she watched someone else do it and – her words – WOW! She suddenly “saw” it.
The second was a question I was asked. I am Academic Manager of a very small Business English school. One of my colleagues at the conference asked, “How do you employ teachers? What do you look for?” I have no idea, is the simple answer. But here is what I am NOT looking for:
“This is so much fun…!!” No it isn’t.
“I have excellent references.” I don’t care.
“Can I use my NLP traning?” Ask your student.
“I’ve taught loads of these kinds of people before.” No you haven’t.
“Which course book do you use – I know them all?” Bye….
I have been recruiting teachers for this school for 7 years. And after so long, I can smell a good candidate. It’s the way they hold themselves; it’s whether their eyes shine; it’s how they choose their words; it’s what they choose to say; it’s the length of their sentences, the tone of their voices, the gestures they use and their reaction to things. I look for passion and strength of character and skills that are not subject to exams and tick boxes, I want self-belief and belief in the value of what we do.
How do you measure, or grade, or test these things? The more I think about it, the more the world of teaching – good teaching: teaching that is inspirational, transformative and visionary – seems to me to be a mystery……