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DoS – Director of Studies

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photo credit: Pixabay (license)

DoS is an acronym standing for Director of Studies.

The DoS is a member of staff in larger, more professional TEFL schools. They are responsible for administering the academic side of the school which will often mean dealing with teachers and the material used in teaching.

The duties of a DoS vary, but will often include:

  • managing teachers which will include the hiring & firing of academic staff
  • observing teachers and assessing their performance
  • organizing professional development courses for the teachers
  • preparing the timetable for the school classes
  • preparing the curriculum and syllabus for a class
  • reviewing and selecting material for courses (ie books to be used)
  • making sure the courses run by the school are of a good standard
  • ensuring the highest level of safety and welfare for the students
  • checking class attendance overall
  • dealing with problem students (and sometimes their parents as well)

Of course many of these tasks will be carried out in conjunction with the class teacher.

Qualifications for the DoS

Although there are no specific standards for a DoS, common qualifications for the job will include a degree and a higher TEFL Certificate plus several years experience.

In many cases the DoS will also teach which allows them to get a first-hand view of what happens in a class and keep their finger on the pulse of the school. Likewise the DoS will need to keep abreast of current developments in TEFL which could range from implementing a Facebook usage policy amongst teachers and students to reviewing and overseeing the installation of new technology in the classroom.

A good DoS will be able to inspire confidence in their teachers and also motivate them. A good part of the DoS’s job will include professional development and this will involve identifying the areas in which teaching staff need to be updated, the kind of help they need and the best way to implement it.

DoS Problems

A DoS is liable to face a number of problems in their work.

Their position puts them in middle-management, between the teachers and the school owners (or higher admin). This can be difficult when there are disputes over working hours, pay and suchlike with the teachers often seeing the DoS as part of the management and the school owners seeing the DoS as part of the workforce where in fact, neither are true.

A second common DoS problem is when it comes to the firing of teachers. Sometimes when the DoS has been promoted from the ranks (as it were) it can be difficult to fire someone who was once a friend and ally.

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