Over the last week I've been reading this excellent book by Guy Kawasaki called "Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition." Mainly written for entrepreneurs, this book nonetheless has a number of fascinating points that can be applied across the board for people of all professional backgrounds.
Even though many teachers in Ukraine/Russia end up in tutoring business, we find ourselves being at a loss when it comes to working with clients, developing excellent customer service, and meeting the students' needs. Somehow we convince ourselves of the fact that slacking off is sometimes OK "since everyone else does that anyway." We rarely think of the consequences of one lousy lesson, or one unhappy customer, or one student whose objectives haven't been met due to lack of professionalism on our part.
One striking thing that I read in the book is that people tend to share the bad news more eagerly than the good news. You might call it "negative evangelism," but the truth is that people are more likely to share their dissatisfaction with our services than the fact that they are pleased with something. This shocking news woke me to the reality of my own discipline as a teacher. In a way, I can no longer say, "well, I didn't have the time to prepare, but maybe tomorrow it will be better..." The reality of it is tomorrow I may have no more students coming back to me because I have simply slacked off, skipped a lesson, underperformed, and jeopardized my professionalism and future referrals.
So, knowing that bad news travels faster than the good one, let us no longer resort to our comfortable excuses, whatever they might be.
PS: After purchasing this book at amazon, I discovered a great website where you can get a chance to price any book before buying it (no hidden costs!). Check this out: http://www.gettextbooks.com/ Hope you'll get your copy of the "Irreverent guide" and learn the things we never knew while studying at Philology departments.