By Courtney Clark
Deborah Shor has been running her School of Etiquette in Jacksonville for two years now. Originally from New York, Shor spent much of her professional life in the fashion and retail industry. Eight years ago she opted for warmer weather and moved to Florida.
When Shor isn’t busy teaching manners, planning her classes or inventing new teaching methods, she enjoys cooking, baking, dining out and shopping.
- Why did you decide to teach etiquette?
There are so many children down here and my husband and I were eating out at dinner one night. Kids were carrying on at another table. I said to my husband, “These kids really need an etiquette program down here” and a light bulb went off in my head. I said, “I think I would like to give this a try.”
- Why is etiquette so important for children?
The definition of etiquette is “respect and consideration for others’ feelings.” Manners have become out of date and children can go further in life by acting and speaking appropriately. I try to teach them that if they are well-mannered, they will shine above the crowd in interviews and social situations.
- How does etiquette make dreams a reality for kids and help increase their confidence?
It teaches them confidence if they know how to act in a certain situation – if they know how to make small talk, how to sit next to somebody and make conversation – all of these things are self-esteem builders.
- What’s an example of a tool you teach that helps kids succeed? How do you teach it?
I teach the “Five S’s” for when children are making introductions: Stand, smile, shake their hand, say your name, and say “nice to meet you.” My teaching is hands-on and the kids love it.
- How has etiquette had the biggest impact on your life and how has what you learned as a child helped you succeed the most?
My mother raised me to be very well-mannered from an early age, and I really believe that because I was so well-poised and so well-spoken, it helped me succeed. I don’t believe I ever went on a job interview that I didn’t get.
Photo courtesy Deborah Shor
Deborah Shor with some of her young pupils.