Friday, July 25, 2008

Professional English Teachers Desperately Needed

A Disturbing Trend
When I began interviewing school, institute and university English department heads for information and commentary, a disturbing pattern began to emerge.

At first the interviews went pretty much according to script. As the managers became more comfortable, however, the flow began to change. When they realized that there was truly a forum by means of which some impact might possibly be made, the tone changed entirely. Then the complaints began to flow. Javier Garcia, Director of the Pochcalli Institute of Languages in the city of Oaxaca, said that he has had “many problems with teachers who don't complete the course contract period or who are lax in showing up to teach assigned classes”.

Horror Stories Came Out
Initially, I hadn’t considered touching on basic premises for job hunting and interviewing. Dress codes? No one wants or needs a primer on THAT in this day and age. Or do they? According to the people I’ve interviewed, who are in positions of responsibility for hiring or recommending the hiring of new teachers and professors, I was wrong. Horror stories came out in droves. Tales of applicants showing up for interviews in tattered jeans, T-shirts and baseball caps, with copious body-piercings and gaze-arresting tattoos abounded. “When I informed the female applicant that we’d hire her for a position if she’d consider removing her visible body piercings, she got angry and stormed out of the interview.”, one Director related.

Quit Without Notice
Tales of teachers who quit without notice or who simply didn’t show up for classes on Mondays or Fridays, were rampant. “It actually took us until Wednesday to realize a teacher had quit.”, another school director commented. “When we called the house he was rooming in, they informed us he had left on a backpacking tour.” “So what happened to the class?”, I asked. “We couldn’t get another teacher and had to cancel that group. It hurt the school’s reputation.”, was the sad response. “Now, we’re very leery of hiring non-Mexicans who just show up for an interview.” Working only long enough to secure sufficient funds for the next leg of your Mexico tour is a disservice, not only to the school, but to those of us who genuinely are teaching English as a viable career. You play – we (the serious teaching professionals) pay.

You Call THAT a Resume?
In Mexico City, Veracruz and especially in Acapulco and Cancun, hiring managers were enthusiastic about pulling out what passed for “resumes” to show me what they’re sometimes saddled with by less-than-sincere “applicants”. Some papers were not only sloppy, but shameless in their lack of attention and construction. Others were absolutely unbelievable. There were even a couple that were hand-written. Imagine applying for an English teacher position with numerous “typos” appearing on your hand-written resume! Even in resort cities, It’s no wonder new teachers can have a tough time getting “a foot in the door”.

In the next segment, we continue with more stories from ravaged administrators. Don't you dare miss it!

Be sure to check out this "Interview with Prof. Larry M. Lynch" online at:

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, prolific writer, author and public speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 120 countries. Get your FREE E-book, "If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.


Unknown said...

This need for teachers reminds me of a puzzling trend in the US where a desperate need is not reflected in the hiring process. For instance I have taught in alternative school environments because I dont have a teaching certification(I do have a BSEE), yet I have to pay thousands of dollars and jump through too many hoops to get into the classroom. Yet I have a gift for teaching and communication. I wonder why the selection process is often based so much on paper work then true talent. This doesn't imply that sloppy resumes should suffice but shouldnt an outstanding candidate be able to teach, without solely being judged on the merits of a degree? (rhetorical)

Larry said...


Your obvious passion for helping others through teaching is understandable. Certification as an EFL / ESL teacher is not discrimination nor punishment, but simply a means to help ensure quality teaching. It is also a means to provide teachers with a cadre of teaching tools, techniques, approaches and methods which only expand the teacher's ability and resources. The adage, "you get what you pay for" holds true in TESOL as in many other aspects of life. More expensive and extensive programs are not always necessarily the best, but often are in many cases. Do Daniel, take the time and effort to get a TEFL certification, so you will be able to enjoy and practice your craft to the full.

Good Luck to you.