In Honor Of International Women’s Day: The Advantages Of Being Female In TEFL

bouquet.jpgIn honor of International Women’s Day: my thoughts on how being female can be an advantage in EFL.

As learners (and just as people), women do seem to enjoy talking more, that’s for sure. We also tend to listen better in general, which helps with language learning, and I’d say teaching as well. Somehow, I also think that, as a group, women are less likely to be concerned about making mistakes, though this isn’t true across the board of course.

But sure, women have to deal with machismo from time to time, but I think women teachers have an advantage in teaching EFL, specifically, teaching in-company classes.

As above, I can’t say it’s a universal truth, but here’s my example: I don’t know much about business or finance and I’d venture a guess that neither do most English teachers. I think it’s easier for me to “bat my eyelashes” so to speak, and say “Can you explain that?” to my (mostly older male) students than it would be for a guy teacher to do the same. It’s not like I flirt with them – dating a non-student is disastrous enough when it doesn’t work out and you still have to deal with the person – but I think it is easier for me to say “I don’t know” than it would be for a guy. That’s right, like with asking for directions.

Is this my personality? Perhaps. I certainly do like to give my opinion and share what I know, and may even come across as a know it all from time to time, but when I really don’t know something, I’m generally also comfortable saying so or simply remaining silent. Surely there are men who are like this and women who are not, but on the whole I think this pattern holds for many people.