From Trainee Teacher to DoS and Beyond
Teachers need career pathways because if they don’t know where they’re going how can they expect others to follow?
These steps can be taken in any particular order and the timing is largely dependent on your particular needs, wants and motivational drive.
1. Read carefully and digest the skills required, the qualifications needed and the experience desired for any advertised DoS position e.g tefl.net
2. Self-evaluate yourself honestly and do an audit of your knowledge, skills and attitudes abilities. Do you have what it takes yet?
3. Read Managers and Management Training – teachingenglish.org.uk
4. At the beginning of your journey you were highly recommended to read Harmer and now your new bible should be From Teacher to Manager: Managing Language Teaching Organisations – R.White, A. Hockley, J van der Horst Jansen, M.S.Laughner.
5. Track your progress through the six stages of your career development on the British Council CPD Framework – englishagenda.britishcouncil.org
6. If you are lacking in the diverse skills specified – get them. Check out the free courses on alison.com (Project Management, Customer Care, Human Resources Management, Finance, Marketing etc).
7. Get widely accepted and real qualifications post your CELTA – DELTA, MA. If possible qualify as a teacher – you may not appreciate the value now but when you get older and are looking for a job with stability, a pension etc, you will hopefully reap the rewards.
8. Become an ADOS and experience and see the realities of the work – its demands, stress factors, budgetary limitations. You will quickly understand that education is a business and not just providing academic results.
9. Be very patient. Most schools, organisations will tend to have dead person’s shoes syndrome – there is little professional growth and you will fill your superior’s role when they retire, demise or are sacked.
10. Look at the salaries offered for Summer DoS posts and ask yourself – do I really want all that responsibility and related stress for that amount of money compared to what I can earn for my basic teaching hours supplemented by some private jobs?
11. Get recognized at your place of employment or in the TEFL/TESOL world. Become an expert on some particular aspect: get an examiner qualification; run a teacher training workshop; write articles and spread your knowledge and experiences – stand out from the crowd!
12. Learning the language of the country in which you are stationed to proficiency level will accelerate promotion prospects or at least open up more opportunities for advancement.
13. Marry or become a business partner with someone with money; set up your own language school. I’ve come across so many mediocre teachers now running language schools and exploiting far more talented teachers – they quickly forget their roots in the pursuit of financial gain.
14. Continue to read, learn and live to teach – not vice versa. Remember the rewards may only be intrinsic.
Michael Foy is a former PKF Tax Manager and DoS now based in Madrid, specializing in Business English with 25 years' European/Asian experience with Panasonic, Temple University and Japanese local government.