This is a post I have been trying to avoid, but when you hire a teacher, the impact of their work on your bottom line cannot be understated. Teachers have a far greater impact on your revenue compared to any other variable.
I have been following some conversations around the internet, I had some in real life and I read the following post.
One question a lot of people have is why the ESL industry tends to veer to Young Adults, who generally speaking don’t have the experience of someone who has spend already 10 years in the business. Initially, I preferred to hire people WITH experience rather then without, but my own experience after having hired 8 teachers tells me that experience can put a shine on the teaching, but it is ENERGY that makes a teacher good. Let me delve deeper into the age issue.
I’m by no means an Ageist, off the eight teachers I hired, three of them were older than fifty, four of them were younger than thirty. Which leaves me with one between the age of thirty and fifty. The reasons are quite simple. There is a huge demand from young people, fresh out of University, and the older simply take what they can get. True professionals between the age of thirty and fifty tend to shy away from small hagwons since more professional schools are willing to pay for their experience AND their energy. This is my personal experience and does not reflect on any individual, but the market is very much aware of what is going on. The biggest issue with older people is that they simply cannot handle 6 hours of teaching, they simply cannot, in the least, I have to meet the first one who can. Also, their motivation is to secure an income and will drop your job the moment they got something better lined up. Not one of the older teachers I hired was capable of finishing their contract.
Youth has it’s own problems. The inexperience can turn the classroom into a big chaotic mess, only two of the four younger teachers I hired were capable of holding a class together. With only one of them did I achieve a full contract term. The one teacher in the middle has shown energy AND experience.
Up until now, I have only been able to hire male teachers, probably because the demand for female teachers is so high, that for a woman to find a teaching job poses no issue at all. Therefore, I can honestly share no opinion on the matter, apart from the fact that in my five years of operation, I have only received ONE curriculum of a woman….
A lot of posts on many Korean websites hold information on the seemingly “racist” hiring practices Koreans use. Please remember that most hagwon bosses have no choice but to follow the demand of the market. There is obviously no difference depending on where you come from, my position would be to actually free up the entire ESL market and allow teachers from non-native countries to fill in positions. The pressure on wages will go up immediately and following that, the cost of education, and the potential profitability for a hagwon. But I am sure that those coming from native speaking countries will rally against this notion and claim superiority in their ability to teach. So you see, when it inconveniences them, they will protest, when it is in their favor, they will silently agree and only start complaining when their positions are put into danger. Protection of this kind is bad for everyone involved. This will also show in a much clearer fashion how important it is for hagwons to hire faces rather than abilities, which to my own dismay, is something I have been trying to challenge in my own school. The one time I hired an American of Korean decent to fill in a position created such a wave of questions and complaints that another experiment is simply out of the question. I simply cannot justify sacrificing my business for the sake of “equality”. Come and tell me that when you put your life savings into a business that should provide for your family. Until then, it is nothing more than simply posturing from a high horse.
Education does NOT reveal a teachers ability to teach, but, like an MBA education, it is a strong signal in that direction. To make a shortlist, those qualifications are taken into account, but ultimately I care more about presence, personality and experience. I always find those certificates or degrees to be more of smokescreens people use to hide behind and claim superiority based on those certificates. I have no certificate to show that I am a great teacher, I can only show that through the results I achieve in my students. That is the ultimate test to which I hold any teacher. The ability to retain students in the school and the ability to show results in the skills of the students.