important in TEFL?
tattoos or piercings?
discussed in other places on this website, teaching
tends to be a more respected occupation overseas than at
home. And, as such, schools often have a strong opinion
about your appearance - and how they would like it to
Western culture, we tend to pride ourselves on the
"rebel billionaire" look, and we know that dress and
appearance really don't measure the quality of our
character. But . . . in many other cultures -
appearance is paramount.
Korea, just as one example, a common saying is, "The
first impression is everything." Appearances are
critical in many cultures. When I lived in Africa I
would sometimes be surprised to see a man come out of
his mud hut wearing a three-piece suit!
Dress nicely and professionally.
It's not difficult and
will enhance your opportunities.
ideals are often not theirs. Play along, do what is
required. Wear the slacks and tie. It is the gateway
to so much more.
Tattoos and More
Keep them out of sight. In some cultures, tattoos are
symbols of the yakuza or mafia. Yes, even
in Thailand many local people have tattoos. But they
generally aren't teachers. As a teacher and as a
foreigner - in most cultures/countries you can expect to
be closely observed, judged, commented on - and just
generally the butt of gossip. Get used to it,
understand it, and deal with it appropriately.
know for many people showing such things off is a matter
of pride and principle. They feel they should be
accepted for who and what they are. But . . . other
cultures don't often have the same idea. In their
country, they would like you to conform to their
ideals. You will, I promise, limit your career and
opportunities [in many countries] if you are not
I wrote above: Play along, it is the gateway to so much