Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Are you hired for your looks or your brains?

I once heard an ESL teacher in Saudi Arabia say that: " Saudi student's (females) don't care whether their teacher is good or not, as long as she is good-looking they will like her and they won't look at her teaching."

That may be true for some students; the ones who come to English class merely to socialize and kill time or  maybe the ones who judge books by their covers.

Personally, I do not think students' in Saudi Arabia are looking for teachers who look like they were enrolled in mass media beauty pageants. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; if your students like you, they will see you as beautiful just as you will see them.

From my experience with the Saudi students I taught, they are not shallow and they will respect and like a teacher when they see that the teacher cares about them as human beings and about their learning. When we support students' learning for all the right reasons, and the students know the reasons behind that, there will most likely be a strong bond of trust between the teacher and students.

One of my students said I looked nice on a day where I was wearing a plain gray t-shirt and a plain jean skirt. That tells you a lot about how students view their teachers.

I think people care more about what the services they are provided with rather than the service provider's looks. If I went to a hospital for a surgery, I would search for a surgeon who could carry out the operation successfully rather than look for a good-looking surgeon. If a person is going to the doctor just because he/she is good looking then they might rather be sick than healthy as the saying: "An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but if the doctor is cute, then screw the fruit."

There are people who argue that there are some jobs that are usually given to good-looking people such as: marketing/advertisement jobs, secretarial jobs, and jobs in the media. It may be true, and that would mean that people in these jobs will most likely lose their jobs when they lose their main asset.

One of my friends was working at a company as a graphic designer, and when decided she wanted to wear the hijab (islamic dress code), her boss was very disturbed when he saw her wearing it. He told her why she had not asked him about it before (as if it is his choice). She told me that she was very upset because was still producing the same quality of work, and that the company was supposedly paying her for her brains and ideas rather than the way she looked.

I really hope that professionals are judged based on their professionalism rather than their looks. This does not mean that they should not dress decently enough for their job, but they should be seen for more than their outer shell.