Regardless of your English as a Foreign Language teaching area, with competition mounting it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out and get yourself and your teaching practices noticed. One crucial, but often neglected area that you can address immediately is your image as an EFL or TESOL teaching professional. Here are some key ways you can help raise yourself head and shoulders above the rest of the teaching pack and increase your chances of development, professional and personal success.
1. Dress for Success
Incredibly, there are those who give little attention to the image they present. Any TESOL teaching related contact must be treated as an opportunity to further your skills, knowledge and professional interests. You should be groomed to the point of being precise whenever engaged in teaching or when giving presentations. Always be sure to be properly attired for appointments, meetings and conferences. Your TEFL teaching area or EFL classroom should always be in presentable condition. How does it look? How does it smell? Clean the floors, empty the trash, dust and get rid of anything scurrying around with more than two legs, etc.
2. Have well – prepared, precise EFL teaching materials
Any paperwork or materials related to your teaching must clearly identify its purpose. You should have letterhead stationery for both online and off line dealings. Other documents which must be well-prepared in advance of any outside contact include envelopes, contracts, invoices, receipts, flyers, brochures, letters, folders and business cards. (You DO have EFL teaching business cards, don’t you?) Keep your materials focused. Do not adopt a one-format-fits-all scenario. It may be cheaper, but it just doesn’t convey a professional image of you or your teaching. Double and triple check format, spelling and grammar on all written correspondence before it goes out or you may really be sorry. Ef U don’t no how 2 rite oar spel do whut U hv 2 too fix the prablum.
3. Be Organized
Without fail keep all appointments no matter how trivial they may appear to be at first. You never know what the other person may lead you to, or who they may become down the road. Return phone calls and inquiries promptly. Use a system that will allow you to maintain a schedule of TESOL-related events, appointments, calls and activities. Keep in regular contact with other teachers, administrators and former students. Be sure to make use of available tools that may help to grow and expand your EFL teaching knowledge and techniques. If you’re not using internet tools as effectively as you can, read the article “5 Essential Tools You Need for Marketing on the Internet”. It’ll help get you going in the right direction. It’s here: http://EzineArticles.com/?id=76175
4. Conduct All Business Matters Promptly
Always be on time for scheduled appointments, meetings and other business-related activities. Always meet set deadlines for work or teaching you are contracted to do – verbally or in writing. Stick to EFL teaching contracts faithfully on your part. Keep an accurate clock visible during teaching / business hours. Plan ahead. You must absolutely show respect for other people’s time and resources. Remember; do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It is said that “an elephant never forgets” – neither do some key people you need now and in the future. Be professional.
Working on these key areas will help to get you, your ideas and teaching practice noticed, generate new leads and opportunities, as well as helping you to stand out from the rest of the herd. Many of your fellow teachers may short-change themselves in some of these areas, but now at least YOU won’t - right? We’ll explore more key ways to distinguish yourself as an EFL teaching professional in part 2 of this series coming up soon.
Prof. Larry M. Lynch is a bi-lingual copywriter, expert author and photographer specializing in business, travel, food and education-related writing in South America. His work has appeared in Transitions Abroad, South American Explorer, Escape From America, Mexico News and Brazil magazines. He lives in Colombia and teaches at a university in Cali. Want lots more free tips and techniques to improve your EFL teaching and become a better, more effective TESOL professional, go now to: http://bettereflteacher.blogspot.com