Looks don’t matter…… Yeah, right!

The #girliesideofelt post 4

So, I was reading a post yesterday. Tefltastic mentioned 25 ways to get away with being a crappy teacher and while my post has nothing to do with the points he mentioned ( I agree with some, disagree with others and can add a few more), he did get me thinking. One of the points mentioned is being good-looking. If you are good-looking, you probably can get away with bad teaching (according to the post). So, today,  I am going to focus on looks, and how they can make or break a teacher (me, being a drama queen :p).

The ‘pretty’ teacher

Now, first let me start by saying that I am a normal looking teacher/woman. Nothing special, and if you ask me (and others) I could lose a bit of kilos here and there. But, I manage, and at 39,I feel fine about the way I look. Now, the next thing I want to ask is, “why do some colleagues (of both sexes) assume that if you want to look decent/good, you probably focus more on your looks and less on your teaching.?” My answer to that is, ” OM freakin G”.

Now, I am going to tell you a little story. I like girlie stuff (Really? You couldn’t have the guessed that now, could you?). I do not go to extremes, but I like a bit of makeup, my comfy heels and my nice perfumes. When I go to class, I do pay attention to the way I look. is it the most important thing? Nope. Does it matter? Sure, why not?

I was observed and it was a Friday. Friday at work in the UK also means going to dinner or the pub  (yeah, if I am going to go out, I will put in extra effort to look presentable. Sue me :p). So, I spent 5 mins using a curling iron, I put on a bit of makeup, perfume and went to work. I looked  OK.  When I walked into the office, I got a few compliments. A nice ambient atmosphere. We also talked shop. ” What are you going to teach? Can I see your lesson plan… yada, yada, yada”. And then, this. One of my (female) colleagues said, ” So, blah, blah blah will observe me. He doesn’t care about whether I look good or not” Me , “…..” .

Excuse me. Should I have gone into work with a paper bag on my head, a wrinkly shirt and smell of a cheapo deo spray? So, if I am blonde (fake blonde), wear makeup, and nice clothes, will some of you automatically think that I cannot teach? Tstststs (that’s the Greek sound of disapproval).

I wonder, do pretty boy/teachers have the same problems? They probably do. Do looks really matter? Apparently to some they do. they can open doors, or you can get slammed in the face by the door cause you are too “pretty”.

FYI: my observation went great!

Bring me the makeup people, I am going into class!!!

EAP resources

Till next time…..


3 thoughts on “Looks don’t matter…… Yeah, right!

  1. I suppose that with pretty boys it does matter a little as well. I remember my boss commenting on how fewer women than men had dropped out of a colleague’s groups in the previous year. He was, of course (or should I say, apparently) quite handsome. So maybe it does matter. However, this could also be interpreted as women being more hardworking and conscientious than men. But I suppose that would lead us to a never ending slippery slope of assumtions! Hehe. Nice post, by the way!


  2. Hi Keep Smiling English,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. You are right. That’s the problem assumptions. Major assumption: if you curl your hair and put a bit of eye makeup, you are paying more attention to your looks than your lesson planning!! Assumptions…….
    Thanks for reading 🙂


  3. OMG, I hadn’t realized this section of your blog. I found it awesome, btw, and I do hope to read more from the ‘girlie side of ELT’.
    Let me tell you a story about looks. It’s quite a sad story, imo.
    Many years ago I used to have a beautiful, medium-sized afro. I am 1/4 black (and proud), my natural hair is nappy. I was taking part in a selection process for this fancy English school. They had some branches in the rich parts of the city and were known to deliver excellent courses. They also employed many native English speaker teachers as part of their staff and the non-native English speaker teachers had to be not only CPE holders, but CPE holders with grade B. They said that ,in order to work there, NNESTs had to have native-like fluency (whatever that meant).
    So I was doing pretty well, had received very good feedback on my lessons, was available to teach at days they needed me… I was sure I was going to get that job.
    People here in Rio de Janeiro tend to dress casual, but as I wanted to work at the branch where the executives were taught (because it was closer to where I lived), I wore more formal clothes (and even received compliments on them). Nothing too extreme, though. Formal enough to teach executives in a tropical country like Brazil, but I was not wearing suits or anything like that :p. At the end the selection process I was told they didn’t have a place for me. This one person said I had done really well, but my looks were not ideal to teach executives. I remember asking what she meant and she said something about me looking too young. It wasn’t that I looked ‘too young’, as I later heard the 19-yeard-old teacher who had just finished the CELTA with no teaching experience had been offered a job. He ‘happened’ to be Australian. And white.
    Years later I had a perm (a straight perm), because I was a bit too tired of all the effort I had to make to look good every morning. I keep my hair straight, wash it, comb it and I’m good to go. Super practical. Guess who finally got the job at that school?


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