By María de la Lama
Since 2009 there has been a dramatic increase in the demand for English teachers in our country. But even though these professionals are needed in schools and universities, for many of us those job offers do not respond to our expectations. Thus, it seems that getting the desired job is not an easy matter.
I have been hiring language teachers for a long time. And the truth is that most of the time successful teachers get the job for reasons that go beyond language proficiency and academic qualifications.
Many teachers may believe that because of their command of the language and professional qualifications they will be hired easily, hoping that the fulfillment of these two requirements is enough.
Somehow they have this idea in their minds:
Today, a strong command of the English language, as well as an updated academic education, are expected; but, unlike some years ago, they are not a plus anymore. In fact, in addition to language competence and academic background, there are important characteristics that employers have started looking for. Then, the traditional belief that language competence and educational background are more than enough does not work anymore. Let’s see how our graphic has changed:
The teacher as a human being, with their talents and potential is indeed a key factor for the success of any language program. In particular, there is a need for teachers with specific soft skills. Without them all the language competence and professional qualifications won’t be enough to reach an institutional goal. So which are those characteristics that will boost hiring probabilities?
About the teacher’s personality traits
ü Cares for their professional growth
ü Has excellent communication skills
ü Knows how to handle conflicts and keep personal problems away from their work.
ü Has empathy
ü Knows how to listen
About the way a teacher works
ü Enjoys working in groups and has the potential to become a leader in the institution
ü Cares for their students’ progress
ü Keeps their students’ motivation
ü Loves to change the way things are done
ü Has developed good organizational skills
An educational activity will be successful only if the teacher, in addition to transmitting knowledge, makes an effort to reach the student through careful listening, continuous motivation and genuine interest in the development of their pupils.
And now your turn:
Are you looking for a job?
How are your job skills?
DE LA LAMA, MARIA, Bachelor in Education, has a master's degree in Applied Linguistics and a Bachelor's in Linguistics, both obtained at the University of California, Davis. She also holds an MBA from Universidad del Pacífico. She currently serves as the Director of the Language Center at Universidad del Pacífico.