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Decoding CVs

A disadvantage of email is that DOSes get far too many CVs—and without a dekko at the sender. Even if you use a spam filter that deletes them all unread, occasionally you are so desperate for teachers, you have to read the damn things.

The old-fashioned approach to writing a CV was to list your jobs and quals and hope your record spoke for itself. The current approach is to boast shamelessly about your abilities. For British people this was once the sort of thing that got you blackballed from a gentleman’s club, while Australians would have pelted you to death with beer cans, but nowadays everyone is succumbing to the American style of CV-writing.

Probably most English language teachers are no more mendacious than the rest of the population, ie they exaggerate rather than invent freely. DOSes be warned, here is what those qualities really mean.

aggressive
Exactly that. An admirable quality, perhaps, in jobs such as futures trading, but in English language schools means a tendency to shout at colleagues, humiliate students and (most worryingly) berate the DOS.
ambitious
If true, what on earth are they doing in ELT?
competent
As the alternative is “incompetent”, this does not say much about the applicant.
creative
Does not use the coursebook.
efficient
See competent.
experienced
Sometimes means they have done a few months’ teaching after the Celta. Otherwise it is used to counter the lack of qualifications. “I may not have a Celta or a degree, but I have 30 years’ experience of teaching English badly and no intention of changing my methods.”
flexible
They might teach children and the odd Saturday if you ask nicely.
goal-oriented
You do not need teachers who are goal-oriented, just those willing to go into class again and again and teach the same thing for years without complaining.
hard-working
In other words, “not lazy”. While almost certainly a lie, hardly worth including in a CV.
independent
Uh-oh. Will not stick to the curriculum or obey the school rules.
innovative
See creative.
motivated
See self-motivated.
meticulous
Grammar nerd. Will bore the students to death.
a people person
Spends their time gossiping instead of doing any work.
professional
Wears a tie in class.
reliable
Will not go sick more than once a month. If true, this is the quality you need above all others. Found usually among older, duller teachers.
resourceful
Will not panic when the photocopier breaks down, the lights go off, the coursebooks do not arrive from the supplier, and so on.
self-motivated
See motivated.
successful
What and they are applying for a poxy job in a language school? Give me a break.
a team player
Liable to lead a mutiny among the staff. Teachers do not need to be team players anyway—they face the students entirely on their own.
well-organized
Keeps all their handouts in colour-coded binders and can tell you what language point they did with their lower intermediate Business English class in Warsaw on 30 March 1981.