Friday, May 27, 2011

EFL Teaching Demonstrations: Advice and Ideas

how to give a teaching demonstration at a university in AsiaEver been asked to give a teaching demonstration as part of a job interview for an English instructor job at a university in Asia?

If you have arrived at this post, I am guessing that you have. I am going to give advice in this post on how to prepare for and give a teaching demonstration.

I do not assume anything about the level of experience you may have. It well may be that you have no teaching experience whatsoever but have still managed to swing an interview for a university job as an English instructor (i.e., a TEFL teacher).

In some countries in Asia, a university job would be unthinkable without experience and/or a Masters degree or higher. In other countries, it is within reach for anyone with basic credentials (a Bachelor of Arts or equivalent degree and perhaps a TEFL certificate though the certificate is not always necessary) and no experience.

Types of Teaching Demonstrations

Two general types of teaching demonstrations are common for the university teaching job in Asia. First, the demonstration you give to the hiring committee from the university. Second, the demonstration you give to a class full of real students as the hiring committee observes from the back of the room.

This post will deal with how to give a teaching demonstration to a hiring committee (i.e., no real students present). And more specifically, I will tell you how to give the demonstration as a PowerPoint presentation. If you are looking for info on the other type of demonstration, you may still find some useful advice here.

Use PowerPoint for Your Teaching Demonstration

While not everyone excels at giving PowerPoint presentations, I am convinced that using PowerPoint in your demonstration will give you the best shot at winning the job. More on why I believe that later in this post.

Determine What Subject You Will be "Teaching"

The hiring committee will probably provide you with a topic that they expect you to teach during the demonstration. Still, narrow it down somewhat and make it your own. If they don't provide a topic, then all the better. Choose a topic that you are comfortable with and ensure that it is not too general.


Second, ensure that you know exactly how long the demonstration is supposed to be. They will probably tell you this right off the bat. But with the possible communication barrier, the fact that the university doing the hiring may not have much experience in these matters (perhaps it is a relatively new institution and they have not hired foreigners before), and your potential nervousness, this is easy to overlook.

Ask for the Opportunity to Give a PowerPoint Presentation

PowerPoint 2007 logoTry to get as many details as possible about the room where you will be giving the demonstration. Most importantly, ask whether there is audio visual equipment in the room. Most modern university classrooms in Asia are equipped with a computer and overhead projector so that you can load a PowerPoint presentation from a USB key into the computer and then display the presentation directly onto the overhead projector. Again, confirm all this with the human resources personnel at the university.

After determining that the room does have the necessary equipment, tell your contact from the university that you would like to give your demonstration using PowerPoint. Once you get agreement, confirm a second time by e-mail so that there is no confusion.

If there is no opportunity for using PowerPoint to give your presentation, then you might think the remainder of this post will be of little use to you. However, it may still benefit you to prepare a PowerPoint presentation and then print off the slides and use them as notes during your demonstration.

The Power of PowerPoint

Now, a few more words on why I feel a PowerPoint presentation will benefit you when giving a teaching demonstration. First, demonstrations in front of only a hiring committee are by their very nature artificial. When I am in front of a real class, teaching a subject I know well, I feed off the class and count on their reactions to push the class forward. Trying to pretend that the hiring committee are my students just wouldn't work for me. I could probably pull it off, but I would much prefer the alternative.

The PowerPoint presentation allows you to organize your thoughts beforehand and then follow through precisely, and it also takes away the guesswork as to how much the hiring committee are willing to "play along" (more on this later). Of course, you could eliminate that uncertainty completely and structure your demonstration as a dry presentation with no thought for "student" interaction at all. However, I don't believe that is the impression that you want to leave with the hiring committee.

Another benefit that comes from using PowerPoint is that the hiring committee will see you are comfortable with using technology. Also, this lets them know that you are likely to employ some varied methods when teaching if you are hired. A surprising number of foreign instructor luddites still haunt the halls of universities in Asia—any computer skills you demonstrate will provide you with an advantage.

Putting Together the PowerPoint Slide Show and Giving the Demonstration

I am going to give you an organizational template for preparing a PowerPoint slide show for a 20 minute teaching demonstration. If the committee asks you to give a full class-length demonstration (50 to 90 minutes), expand the slides accordingly.

With each slide description, I will also provide tips on how to present the information during the demonstration.

For this 20 minute presentation, I am using the topic “Finding a Topic and Main Idea in a Paragraph.” The language skill is reading.

First, include a title page with the topic that you are presenting. You may want to Google an image of the school’s logo and place it on the title page. I think most schools would be OK with this but make your own judgment call. I once did this for a teaching demonstration and the hiring committee seemed to appreciate it.

Next, add an introduction slide, with your name, credentials and relevant experience. You may have already introduced yourself to the hiring committee but this is a good chance to highlight your qualifications.

Then, put in a preview slide. Indicate what you hope to achieve in this “class.” Of course, you can skip the pretenses and title the slide “Goals for this Demonstration” if you want. I would include no more than five bullet points on this slide:

—Three main sections in this demonstration: present, practice, produce
—Within those three sections, I will help you learn how to:
—Identify a topic in a paragraph
—Identify a main idea in a paragraph
—Identify other parts of paragraph

Notice that the first bullet point indicates the basic teaching methodology that you are using and provides an overall organizational structure to your demonstration.


The next few slides will form the “present” component of your demonstration. The first slide following the preview slide contains a definition of a paragraph topic plus three statements that could be paragraph topics.

The subsequent slide discusses why a topic of a paragraph should neither be too general nor too specific.

The next slide is a short paragraph. During the presentation, I would discuss the paragraph briefly, and perhaps go over some of the most difficult vocabulary.

The following slide is a multiple choice question that asks the “students” to pick which answer qualifies as the best topic for the paragraph from the previous slide.

Caution: if you plan on querying the hiring committee as if they were students, make the answer so clear that it would be impossible for anyone to pick an incorrect option. Or, simply guide them to the answer and avoid direct and potentially embarrassing interaction.

The following slide asks why it is important for a student to know this information and then answers that question with a list of benefits. This shows the hiring committee that you know the importance of making lessons as relevant as possible. By highlighting benefits, you are also demonstrating that you know one way to motivate your students to learn.

The next four slides present information as follows: one slide about main ideas, one that points out what to be careful of when determining the main idea of a paragraph, and one that discusses other parts of a paragraph (body, conclusion/transition sentence).

The next slide provides more details for students on how to identify all the parts of a paragraph.


Then, the practice section of the slide show begins. Introduce a slide with a paragraph (longer than the previous one you included).

Step outside the demonstration at this stage. Tell the hiring committee that at this point in a real class you would hand out a paragraph and get students to determine the topic, main idea, and type of paragraph. Perhaps you would tell the students to work in groups. Depending on how much time you have left, and how comfortable you now feel with the hiring committee, you may want them to go ahead and try this exercise as if they were your students.

The next slide will include four possible main ideas. Ask your students which one best represents the main idea of the paragraph from the previous slide.

You are now close to wrapping up the demonstration.


The following slide moves into the "produce" stage of the demonstration. This slide details an assignment that you would give to your students following this lesson. The students are to find a paragraph and identify the topic, main idea and type of paragraph.

You can then add a conclusion slide that summarizes what you have taught during the demonstration.

Summary of Teaching Demonstration

The exact details of the above slides are not as important as the structure that I used. Of course, it is unlikely that you will have the same topic for your demonstration. But if you follow this general pattern, I believe that you can do well.

—Break the entire presentation into a present, practice, and produce format. You can add a running footer at the bottom of the slide show that indicates when you are moving from one section to another and/or you can announce this transition to the hiring committee (for details on how to add a running footer, see this post).

—For each topic within the “present” section, include a definition and/or explanation, and exceptions or areas to be careful about.

—Include relevant examples of everything that you explain.

—Explain why your students should want to learn what you are teaching (benefits).

—Move into the practice stage and demonstrate that you allow your students to test out the information you have given them. Take the hiring committee through a guided “practice” or allow them to answer some questions.

—Include a “produce” stage. With different grammar points, you could include this as an “in-class” stage as opposed to homework.

—Step outside the demonstration scenario when you think it is helpful, and tell the hiring committee what you would do in a real classroom situation.

—Conclude with a summary of what you have taught.

Other Things to Consider

Rehearse your PowerPoint presentation as many times as you need to get it down cold. If possible, rehearse in front of a few friends and have them be as critical as possible and ask any questions that come to mind. Also, make sure to supplement the slides with extra information. For more information on the practical aspects of creating the slideshow in PowerPoint 2007, and more tips on how to give a memorable presentation, see this post.

If at any point during the demonstration you feel you are not connecting with the hiring committee, slow things down. Also, throw in a few statements like this when necessary: “Of course, in a real classroom situation, I would make sure that all students understood this concept before moving on.”

Regardless of how hot the weather is in the country where you are doing the demonstration, I encourage male applicants to wear a suit and tie, and female applicants to wear the same kind of smart attire they would wear to any other kind of serious job interview.

Research your demonstration topic as thoroughly as possible. Be prepared to take questions in the middle of the demonstration or after you have finished.

Also, there is a good chance that following the demonstration, the hiring committee will ask you about such things as classroom management, dealing with different levels of students in the same class, and practical concerns like your attendance record at past jobs and whether or not you have any job references.

After you create your PowerPoint presentation, save it onto a USB key. Save it in both 97-2003 and 2007 versions. While saving it in the most recent version should be enough, it never hurts to be on the safe side. Another safeguard against last minute glitches is to e-mail the presentation to yourself. If there are problems with transferring the presentation from your USB key at the university, ask to use the internet and download the presentation from your e-mail.

Finally, in the worst case scenario, you get to the demonstration at the appointed time and you are simply unable to use the computer; perhaps it is not working. Prepare for this unlikely catastrophe by printing off the slideshow. If you have to instead give the demonstration using a whiteboard, you could follow your plan fairly closely and also show the hiring committee that you can adapt and think on your feet.

Regardless of how confident you are in your upcoming demonstration, it can be a nerve-wracking experience for the simple fact that a potential job is on the line. However, I believe that if you give your demonstration as a PowerPoint presentation, you will have more control over the situation and ultimately be able to demonstrate more of your teaching skills in the process.

Good luck!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Teachers and Students Interacting Online: The Facebook Debate

facebook logoMany school boards in western countries now have policies that forbid teachers from interacting with students on various social media platforms such as Facebook.

In Thailand, most foreign teachers face no such restrictions and make the decision on their own about whether to accept invitations from their students for a growing litany of social networking services that allow people to "connect" online.

I believe that it is unwise to engage in any online communication with students. Adding a student as a friend on Facebook, chatting, or even handing out your email address to a student are all risky. It's all about perception.

Imagine This Scenario

Imagine that a few students convince you to add them as friends on Facebook. Word gets out. Other students feel that those friended students have an advantage. I've always sensed that some students feel their final marks have little to do with what they have accomplished in the course. Allowing two castes of students to develop in the classroom—friended and non-friended— would only fuel such speculation.

A good final mark for friended students might convince others that they had an unfair advantage. In most cases a good mark would only be coincidence, but some students wouldn't see it that way.

But, you may say, why don't those other students also ask if they can friend their teacher on Facebook? Everyone can be Facebook friends! Yipeee!

Well, many students are too shy to ever make this kind of request. Others think it is just not appropriate. And even in this day and age, many students are still not active in the online world and don't have a Facebook account.

But avoiding online interactions with students is not just about perception. It is possible that ostensibly harmless little interactions with students can influence you come grading time.

Remaining Objective and Avoiding Favouritism

For example, maybe an image of a student who you have chatted with flashes in your mind as you are grading her paper and you sympathize with her just a little bit more. Perhaps you give out an extra half mark here and a half mark there. Maybe you think to yourself, "Ah, yes, I think I know what she was getting at..."

Which is why I always make a point of getting to know Thai students by their nicknames. Most students write their full names (often in Thai) on assignments and exams, and this allows me to mark without knowing for certain whose work I am judging. I believe the smartest ones sense this and so some of them also include their nicknames on assignments as well. (I also tell my students that while their penmanship does not affect the grade I give them on a writing assignment, neatly written work nonetheless can have a positive psychological effect.)

It just so happens that most of the students who include their nicknames are the ones who I have gotten to know a bit for whatever reason. Perhaps they have stayed after class to talk to me about homework or they have asked me to look over their résumés or other documents in English with which they need help. (Note: anecdotes in this post refer to university-aged students.)

Couldn't teachers who associate with students online also blind assignments and exams so as to avoid favouritism? No doubt, but online discussions with students would make it more likely that teachers would recognize their writing style. Regardless, that still doesn't account for the perception angle.


The only exception I would make for interacting with students online would be when organizing some kind of project or course-long research that is in part or whole done online. In this situation, I would ensure that all students participated and that all students had access to computers and the internet.

Even in that case, more technologically savvy students will have an advantage, but then, some students will always have an advantage in every academic situation. The point is, if the project requires online work, the teacher can make sure to give more attention to students who do no have a lot of experience in the online world.

What Motivates Teachers to Interact with Students Online?

facebook like iconSome teachers will continue to interact with students online, and the majority will never be aware of any problems because of it. Most of the negative fallout from such a decision is subtle and hard to quantify.

Perhaps some teachers are drawn into the adolescent mentality and like to be popular amongst their students for reasons other than how well they help them learn and grow.

If you are still unsure, ask yourself this question: is interacting with some students online any different than, in pre-internet days, talking on the phone with some students and inviting some students over to your place for dinner and a chat?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tefl Classroom Games: War Ships

Tefl grid games war shipsWar Ships is the mother of all grid games and great for review and revision in the TEFL classroom. I often play this game with my students in the last class of the semester.

More than most TEFL games, War Ships requires a very thorough explanation of the rules before proceeding. If there is some confusion, go slowly and repeat using slightly different language.

What You Need

For this game, you will need a game sheet for each student. You can download the sheet at the bottom of this blog post. The game sheet described in this post uses past simple and present continuous verb tenses. However, you can use this game with any verb tense or grammar point. Download the generic game sheet at the bottom of this post and fill in the categories according to your plan.

Time Requirements

This game usually takes approximately 90 minutes to play, which includes explaining the rules to your students. While this may seem like a fair amount of time to invest toward playing a game, it is well worth it. I can almost guarantee universal participation and a great atmosphere in the classroom when you play this game.

With a smaller class whose English is quite good, I have explained all the rules and played one game in as short as 45 minutes. Because the game is partly based on chance, it is hard to predict exactly how long each game will take. Better to give yourself more time than you may need. You can always play another round if there is time left. Nothing more frustrating for your students than for the class to finish before a winner is declared.

How to Explain Rules of War Ships to Students

Explaining this game to students and getting everything set up can take 20 minutes or more. However, it is well worth taking the time to ensure maximum understanding and benefit is gained.

First, hand out a sheet with the following vocabulary: shoot, hit, miss, sink, aircraft carrier, battleship, submarine. You can download a sheet with the vocabulary at the bottom of this blog post or you can go over the information on the whiteboard in your classroom.

Next, draw a simple table on the whiteboard and label the top row 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and the left column a, b, c, d, e. Then, draw an x in any of the quadrants that appear in the table that you have drawn. Ask a student where the x is located. It may take a bit of prompting, but you should be able to elicit the correct response (a, 4 or 4, a, or whatever the correct answer may be). Draw a few more exes in various locations in the table and get some of the other students to answer. Make sure all students are clear on this before proceeding.

Then, draw an exact replica on the whiteboard (see image further down) of the grid that you will use when playing the game. Point out that along the top row of the grid are the seven subject pronouns. Along the left-most column of the grid are the verb tense categories—you have Past Simple Positive, Past Simple Negative, and Past Simple Question, and the same positive, negative, and question categories for present continuous.

Now, point to one of the squares in the grid and demonstrate which verb tense category and subject pronoun it represents. If the square represents Past Simple Positive, with the pronoun "I," a team would "shoot" at that square by making a sentence such as "I went to the mall yesterday."

Next, on the whiteboard draw 3 rectangles next to the grid. Label the smallest rectangle "submarine = 2 squares," the next rectangle "battleship = 3 squares," and the longest rectangle "aircraft carrier = 4 squares." Point to the submarine rectangle and then draw a "submarine" that occupies 2 squares on the grid. To keep the game simpler, I recommend allowing the teams to only draw the ships vertically and horizontally and not diagonally.


Submarine = 2 squares


Battleship = 3 squares

aircraft carrier

Aircraft carrier = 4 squares

Now, go over the concept of "shooting" by forming the relevant sentences again. Provide an example for a square near the submarine that you have drawn on the grid. Indicate that this shot would be a "miss" (see image below). Choose a student in the class and have her "shoot" at one of the squares over which the submarine is drawn. Indicate that this is a "hit."

war ships game grid example

Next, separate the class into two teams and hand out the game sheets. Make it clear to the students that the top grid is where they must draw their ships, and the bottom grid is where they record their "shots" at the other team. Give the teams a few minutes together to decide where they want to draw their ships. All the members of the same team must draw their ships in the same location on their game sheets! It is worth having a look at all the students' game sheets to make sure that no one has incorrectly drawn their ships in a different location than their teammates.

It is also very important that all members of both teams record their shots at the other team on the bottom grid (grid labeled "Enemy Team"), and their opponents shots at them on the top grid (grid labeled "My Team").

Playing the Game

The teams should sit in a row facing each other. Team 1 begins with one member of the team briefly consulting with her teammates and deciding where they want to "shoot." Based on the square on the bottom grid where they want to shoot, the student then speaks out the statement or question.

Because the other team may not be able to quickly decipher exactly what the category of the question was, you (the teacher) can summarize. For example, "past simple, negative, pronoun 'she.' " You can also point to the relevant square on the grid that you should still have on the whiteboard.

After a student "shoots," the opposing team responds by saying "hit" or "miss." The team will respond "sink" if a particular ship has been hit the required number of times (submarine is sunk by 2 hits, battleship 3 hits and aircraft carrier 4 hits).

Then, team 2 shoots. Go back and forth in this manner with all students taking turns at making sentences and responding (as the excitement level rises, the teams will be shouting in unison "hit" or "miss").

I advise that you keep a close eye on both teams and their game sheets and make sure that all students are accurately recording their hits and misses on the bottom grid as well as the hits and misses of the other team on the top grid. It is easy for them to make a mistake in this regard—either by recording the hit or miss in the wrong square or recording the shots on the incorrect grid. Nothing derails this game faster than a dispute over a previous shot and whether it was a hit or miss.

Continue playing until one team has sunk all the ships of the opposing team.

This is probably the most consistently effective and rewarding TEFL game that I play with my students. When students are eager to speak in English and forget about the usual stress and worry that goes along with it, you know that you have found a successful game.


Download the following game sheets and vocabulary sheet for use with the above game.

War Ships game sheet: past simple/present continuous

War Ships game sheet: generic

War Ships vocabulary sheet

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Linkedin and the Workplace: Self-destructive Behaviour

Weirdness and Self-destructive Behaviour in the Workplace and Online

Linkedin logoThe workplace can be a weird and wonderful place where you showcase your creativity, forge professional relationships, and contribute to the organization and hopefully to society at large.

Where does the weird come in?

Amongst those professional people with whom you work, there are still an awful lot of strange actions that take place and utterances that are made. The workplace can often seem like a dysfunctional family—and you often do spend more time with your colleagues than with your family.

Before we look at why people engage in self-destructive behaviour on the job and online, let's categorize employee performance into three general areas: competencies, responsibilities, and emotions.

Competencies is self-explanatory: is the employee capable of performing the job duties in an effective and skilled manner?

Responsibilities relate to things like punctuality, meeting deadlines and following through on commitments that you have made to co-workers.

Emotions refer to the way that people conduct themselves in the workplace. The behaviour they display, the comments they make and their overall composure while in the office all fall under the umbrella of emotions.

In my experience, it is the area of emotions that trips up most people in the workplace. Or, as one instructor so memorably told me a few years ago, employers are most interested in how well you play in the sandbox. By the time you get to the stage where you are in serious contention for a job, the employer probably believes that you can perform the relevant duties. But can you consistently interact in a professional way with a wide variety of people from different backgrounds who hold different views?

Reasons for Self-destructive Behaviour in the Workplace

What makes people say inexplicably rude or inappropriate things in the workplace? In general, a person works their way to that point after a period of time with an organization. There are a number of ways that I have seen this play out.

I'm in a Select Group

First, the individual who believes that they have accrued a significant amount of capital in the workplace based on their performance. With that capital, they apparently believe comes the right to start making comments on topics that they know to be off limits in the workplace (the comments are usually sexual or aggressive in nature). They seem aware of what they are doing and are thrilled because they believe they are in a different category than others.

You Can't Fake it Forever

Second, people who become more and more comfortable in the workplace over time and start to let their true colours show. To some degree, all people fall prey to this. However, the smartest, either by experience or simply because of more self-awareness, monitor themselves in this regard and do not let things get out of hand. Or, they catch themselves when they realize that they have started to cross boundaries.

I'm Having a Bad Day so Watch Out

Third, stressed-out individuals who believe that changing circumstances in the workplace justify their behaviour or comments. These are the people who do not do well under pressure and feel that they can unload by cursing or venting in other ways that they should know are unacceptable.

Forgot to Take your Self-awareness Supplements

Fourth, those lacking in self-awareness. They simply don't realize when they are crossing boundaries. And no doubt this is a trait that to some degree afflicts all of the above types as well (even the first type, for they should still know that they do not get a free pass simply because they excel in certain areas).

The main thing to consider through all this is: people, for the most part, cannot conceal their true selves over a long period of time. I have seen this in every organization I have worked, both small and large. A few people develop this strange compulsion to make inappropriate comments and seem to believe that they are admired by others for "daring" to say things that others will not. However, usually it is not admiration that they see in the faces of others who look at them when they cut loose. It is a facial expression that is trying to communicate, "how could you be so stupid?"

The Fallout

But wait, you might be thinking, I do work in a place like this, and apparently nothing is being done about it.

Of course, some workplaces do allow this kind of behaviour. And what is the long-term result? Resentment on the part of employees who do know how to conduct themselves and an increasingly toxic environment over time. Despite those who invoke tired claims of "political correctness gone wild," changes to eliminate nasty behaviour in the workplace came about for a reason...the vast majority of people want to work in an atmosphere that is free of insults, harassment and unpleasant individuals.

Another thing to consider: if this kind of behaviour is taking place in your workplace, there is a good chance that it is being noted by management. In the modern-day office it is not always an easy matter to fire (un)professionals, regardless of how they are conducting themselves. But when the time comes, and it almost inevitably does for the the serial spewers of unwise statements, those comments will often be the deciding factor in letting someone go.

Similarities Online: Linkedin Unpleasantness

Just as in the workplace, a remarkable number of people show poor judgment on Linkedin when posting in group discussions and in the questions and answers section. Linkedin has achieved that rarest of feats in the online world: it has convinced the vast majority of users to use their real names. So posting unwise comments is even more surprising (or less, if you long ago stopped being shocked at people's behaviour and willingness to harm their own reputations).

In some ways, the damage done through sarcastic, unprofessional or downright nasty comments on Linkedin is worse. Because the comments are in writing and they're a permanent record for all to see. Sure, you can edit or delete the worst of them on reflection but people can take screen shots and you have no idea who is watching.

How to Avoid Self-destructive Comments and Behaviour

How do you keep from sliding toward the self-destructive side? Here are 10 ways to avoid poor behaviour in the workplace and on Linkedin.

1. Never say anything bad about anyone, ever. Gossiping in the workplace can become a bad habit with only too many people ready to enable your addiction. Avoid at all costs.

2. Consider how your comments could be interpreted by people from different backgrounds, religious beliefs and sensitivities. If it is possible that anyone could take offense, don't make the comment.

3. Avoid the big 5: religion, politics, gender relations, race, and weight. It's just not worth it! Save your ideas about these topics for home or the pub.

4. Remember that you are not as clever as you think, and others do NOT necessarily share your sense of humour. So many problems arise in the workplace because of misguided attempts at humour. Or just as often, someone utters a nasty comment under the guise of making a joke. How often have you heard the defense, "I was only joking"? Not many people left who will take you seriously if you trot out this lame attempt at deflecting responsibility.

5. You know those colleagues who seem to like your edgy comments in the workplace? It's just as likely that they are enjoying the spectacle of you slowly self-destructing and are simply marveling at your lack of self-awareness. Be aware of your relationships in the workplace and other people's ulterior motives.

6. Make a conscious effort to avoid getting too close with colleagues. Sure you want to have good relationships with your co-workers. But they are your co-workers first and you should draw a line somewhere. Some of the biggest problems that I have seen over the years have come from cliques in the workplace and the inevitable melodrama that develops.

7. Work at cultivating your professional self. For some people, there is little difference between their at-home self and their work self. And for some, that works. For others, however, a concerted effort may be required to determine who exactly you want to present yourself as in the workplace. This isn't being a phony. It is simply being aware of the reality of today's workplace.

8. Use the 10 second rule. This is a tried and true method for engaging in some good old fashioned self-editing. Feeling your emotions rise and a comment coming to mind at about the same time? Relax for a few seconds. Reconsider. And then, more than likely, refrain from saying it.

9. Say something nice instead. Every workplace has one. The person who always has something good to say about everyone. Become that person.

10. Remember that just because there is no immediate negative fallout from a borderline comment that you have made, does not mean your are being given tacit approval. People remember what you say!

Good luck and stay professional!