Some of my regular readers will know that for the past two years I have worked in a Summer School in the UK, teaching English to children from all over the world. As you can read here and here it has been with varying amounts of success! The teachers also come from all over the world, with varying amounts of experience, and, dare I say it, varying amounts of professionalism!
The first year there was a real Scouse Scally working there: he was in the Seniors group, so I can’t comment on his teaching methods or expertise, but, while he was a kind guy in many ways, his attitudes towards the students and staff when we were “off duty” wasn’t all it could have been. The following Christmas I came across him by chance on a very rainy Bold Street in Liverpool (we visited the UK for Christmas that year) and he told me that he had a job teaching English to Japanese and Korean business people by Skype.
“It’s great,” he said. “You have to wear a suit on the top, but under the desk I wear my pyjama bottoms so I can go straight back to bed after the lesson!”
When I was teaching in Wall Street Institute they had a rule “no denim” – but they didn’t specify “no pyjama bottoms”! I.L.S. are less formal – jeans are fine, as long as they are clean and tidy. Usually for my first lesson in a company setting I wear smart clothes, to get a feel for the company policy…In France generally, the clothes policy is less formal than in the UK – suits-and-ties are definitely not the norm in offices, with open necked shirts, pullovers and sports jackets more common with the guys. The women are usually chic and smart, whatever their job! I have a couple of pairs of “work jeans” which are smarter than the rest, and some smarter pullovers/shirt combos to wear.
Even when working from my desk at home by phone (not by Skype) I like to make sure that I am at least dressed, in my stay-at-home-jeans and a cosy fleece before making the call…No pyjama bottoms for me!
Until today! I forgot to set my alarm and woke at 8.30 for a 9.00 lesson – for which I needed to read the lesson material and think about what I was going to say. I’d planned to get up at 7.30, but the best laid plans…! So I grabbed a large coffee and a piece of toast and sat down in my dressing gown to prepare…At 9.00 I phoned Denis and took the lesson, not just in my pyjama bottoms, but my fluffy dressing gown and my fluffy pink bed socks-and-slipers combo too. Not quite as professional as I like to think!