As some people know, before I became a teacher I was a mortgage adviser for a very large bank. I hated the job, it was everything I didn’t want to be, but I was good at it, in fact, I was damn good at it. So, I did the job for a couple of years, banked a healthy return and got the hell out. So why was I so good at it? Well, in case you don’t know, being a mortgage adviser is all about sales, next time you get a mortgage try and get through the application without buying some insurance, seriously, good luck with that. But ye, I had an approach to my job that worked, and it was simple, make the customer feel at ease and relate to them. Depending on who my customer was, I adapted who I was in order to help me achieve this. High flying businessman buying a $5,000,000 dollar home? Guess what, I am hoping to become branch manager in the next year and I’m studying to move into business financial advising. Young guy buying your first house and go to the footy every weekend? Great, I have a season ticket at Leeds United and haven’t missed a match in four years. At the time, both of those things were, more or less, true.
Now I’m a teacher I find myself doing a very similar thing to help me connect and develop rapport with my students. This morning I had a group of 17 year old boys who can think of nothing but footy, League of Legends and, it seems, bikinis. So, to them I show myself as an active, football loving, LoL playing guy that is happy to talk about the fairer sex with them. This class gets kind of roudy, so I find myself being a bit stricter with the rules and speaking with a bit of a louder voice. After lunch time I had less confident, slightly lower level girls who are into all things cuddly, enjoy giggling when they see a picture of a handsome man and always let me know which celebrity’s birthday is coming up. To them, I’m a cute teacher, that speaks softly, has just bought his fiancee a kitten and is going to have a very romantic wedding that they are all invited too. I also seem to find myself doing kind of cute actions and that kind of stuff. Also, I find I don’t do so much error correction, just getting them to speak English in front of each other is a fine achievement. If you asked the two classes to describe their English teacher, I think they would give quite different descriptions. But again, everything my students know about me is true.
In neither situation did I lie about myself, but I did adapt myself to what I thought the other party needed in order to get us where we needed to go. So, as I thought to myself in my class after lunch, in many ways, being a mortgage adviser isn’t always that different to being a teacher really.
Disclaimer: I’m actually quite proud of this, but I never sold insurance to someone who didn’t need it. That might be a thought to follow up on tomorrow actually.