Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spam, spam, spam...

Well, I s'pose it's not every day that a fly takes a dive straight into my web; in fact, I can't recall it ever having happened before. But yesterday I got myself lucky, as that well-known provider of quality online and weekend TEFL courses, i-to-i, popped an unsolicited message into my inbox. Just have a quick butcher's hook at this cheeky little e-mail below...

Dear Sandy McManus,

I have recently come across your blog and noticed it provides some great information.

I would like to ask whether you would consider listing our site www.i-to-i.com/tefl/ as a resource on the following page of your blog (http://tefltradesman.blogspot.com/) as we offer many opportunities qualified ESL/TEFL teachers and would like to offer additional information for your readers.

Please visit us at www.i-to-i.com/tefl/ to check whether our web page would be a useful addition to your resource links.

If you have any further questions about our services or our requested listing please feel free to e-mail me.

For your convenience I have provided the following link:
http://www.i-to-i.com/tefl/">i-to-i TEFL

Many Thanks
Lloyd Cooke

You're a true genius, Lloyd, contacting me out of the blue like that. I guess you'll be getting in touch with Inspector McHammered of the TEFL Blacklist soon, to make the same crafty appeal for a spot of free advertising, eh? Well, don't bother mate, as he rumbled your lot and their little caper some time ago. Just click on the links below for a 'taster' of some of the 'taster courses' in TEFL that they offer...




In fact, according to the Inspector, i-to-i have such a great reputation in the TEFL trade because they have recognised that "it's all about selling courses, in the case of i-to-i of less value than parrot droppings." Of course, I've no doubt these parrot droppings produce high-flyers in the classroom, too.

I mean, just take a look on their website at their 'two point TEFL promise' - which then somehow morphs into a 'three point TEFL promise' on another page. This truly generous and amazing pledge "guarantees your money back after the first seven days if you're not completely satisfied with the TEFL product you receive from us." In other words, they comply with the law on providing goods and services that are fit for their purpose - incredible, eh?!

The tedious bullshit goes on though, with the claim to "offer the best quality courses which are externally approved by the ODLQC and the SQMS." Yeah, who?!? Obviously far better than Trinity or Cambridge, or even the poor old British Council! Clearly they have no need for getting their teaching qualifications accredited by, for example, an organisation dedicated to verifying and approving teaching qualifications, eh? No, none at all, mate!

One item of the multiply articulated promise did strike me as quite true, though - "Our great experience ... ensures that we are unrivalled in the industry." Well, they certainly are unique when it comes to selling crappy online and weekend EFL courses that are recognised by absolutely NOBODY in the Tefl trade!

Maybe their singular reputation in the whacky world of Tefl has been achieved by this: "hiring only the best TEFL tutors, who have at least three years experience teaching overseas and possess a CELTA qualification." Wow, that's great - somebody with a Tefl Cert (but not one of theirs, I notice) and three years of teaching experience ... but no teacher-training qualifications or experience!

Well, I guess Lloyd Cooke, the sender of the cunning e-mail above, was right after all when he purred "your blog ... provides some great information". Thanks to you, Lloyd, it now provides a little more!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

So, Farewell Then, Dear Inspector...

It gives me great displeasure to report the disappearance, and probable death, of a fellow disser of TEFL toerags, Inspector McHammered of The Lard. Yes, the irrepressible author of the TEFL Blacklist, seen alongside at a luncheon held in his honour in Pamplona, has apparently either done a bunk or, more likely, been bonked on the head and left for dead. His final message, dated December 3, 2008, and titled "Thought for the Day" offered a mere crumb of a cryptic clue, and was as follows...

First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

You see, I feel somewhat guilty for the poor fellow's demise, as he is, so to speak, cut from my very own flesh. It was just about two years ago when The Inspector took over the reins of the TEFL Blacklist from yours truly, its founder, at a time when I was being hounded to death (well, almost) by, amongst others, a blackguard 'headmaster' from a tin-pot school in Japan, and an enraged father of a teenage girl from Jakarta, who mistakenly took me for his daughter's seducer (as IF!).

Anyhow, go there and pay your respects to one of TEFL's brighter sparks, a veritable "digger of the TEFL dirt" who always had the down-trodden Tefler's better interests at heart. By all accounts it appears he has died a bitter and lonely death, probably battered to pieces with one of his own extra-large sized cucumbers by some disgruntled TEFL charlatan whom the Inspector had exposed.

We'll miss you, dear Inspector, miss you and your cucumbers terribly!

PS: check here for a possible update...


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Evil Dr Kim, Internet Stalker and Drug-crazed TEFL Shaman

It gives me no pleasure to admit that this very blog has been attacked by an internet stalker and charlatan of an extremely merciless nature. Those of you who have been awake for long enough over the past few days, will have undoubtedly noticed the malevolent, brooding presence of a viciously satirical and condescending poster on the Laughing Coyote blog-posting of January 8th.

Well, after exhaustive enquiries, and the promise of a sack load of juicy dog-bones for the Korean internet authorities, I can reveal that the vandalism has been the handiwork of none other than Dr Kim Min Su, that irrepressible mongrel muncher and squinty-eyed peddler of alternative TEFL techniques. Take a good look at his photo above, and burn the image deep into one of your remaining brain cells. Here I am happy to expose the Asian charlatan, in one of the rare existing photographs of the founder of the 'Ganja, Grammar and Giggles' method, as he tucks into a bowl or two of his favourite Korean canine cuisine, sheepdog soup followed by poodle with noodles.

Meanwhile, have a look below at the sort of tripe he peddles, to unsuspecting and gullible TEFL academics and practitioners and their groupies. Shame on him - and you!!

The Institute of Visionary Language Art and Design

Reconsidering Ganja, Grammar and Giggles
A lecture by Dr Kim Min Su
IVLAD auditorium

English as a Foreign Language (EFL) visionary Dr. Kim Min Su will be giving a special lecture presenting his controversial research project, Ganja, Grammar and Giggles. Dr. Kim will present his findings that the rate of language acquisition can accelerate by more than 25% for smoker-tokers, compared to non-smoking learners.

Highlights of the lecture will include an overview showing that smoking marijuana considerably lowers both the affective—and the affected—filter, of both EFL students and staff. His research also indicated that an additional 7% can be acquired if the learners smoke via a bong, versus other paraphernalia.

As a result, Kim calls for all English teachers internationally to immediately "light up—and pass the wealth to your students."

A forthcoming book detailing this innovative research will be published by IVLAD in fall 2006.

So, you have been warned! Beware the evil machinations of this TEFL poseur and lover of medium-rare Bonzo-burgers!! Otherwise, you'll end up producing English like this...

Development of moral attitudes and values of professional responsibility, accountability, and effectiveness. Students will produce planning sheets before the factories of industrialization. Even when all the rest of his life for enjoyment. The finished piece is shown at left.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Built Like a British Council Bulldog [again]

Well, it's been a busy old week for me, what with all the kerfuffle going on at this blog. Oh, I do enjoy a scrap, I do! Anyway, so I make no excuses for offloading one from the old TeflTrade archives on you again. This offering, by the way, is one of my personal favourites, and one of yours too, judging by some of the comments added. You are more than welcome, of course, to add to the pile of bile by clicking on the 'Comments' button.

Just to get myself back into the habit of throwing abuse at deserving TEFL causes, I've decided to resurrect one of my favourite postings from the sadly defunct TeflTrade (RIP) archives. I do hope you enjoy reading this one - I certainly had a lot of fun writing it!

Built like a British Council Bulldog

I mentioned in an earlier posting that I had once worked for the British Council. That wasn't entirely accurate, though, as in fact I've worked for them twice, in quite different parts of the world. There was, however, one constant factor in all this, and that was the fact that in both cases my immediate boss was a woman - a real, larger-than-life, British Council woman (or bulldog, if you prefer).

Now, I'm no misogynist, but I am now entirely sure that BC woman represents a specific sub-species of humanity. Probably bred in some obscure village on the East coast of Britain, where the winds howl and prowl menacingly, and the temperature never rises much above 10centigrade, they dedicate themselves from an early age to the twin tasks of promoting themselves abroad at the BC's expense, and hounding young EFL teachers off to an early departure from their chosen post of foreign residence.

They come in one size only, which is large, although extra large is an option I have heard of, but never actually witnessed myself. As for character, sweet is not an available option either. They tend to be grim, with the sense of humour obviously removed at an early age, all in order to facilitate their main task of pushing teachers about and generally getting on everybody's wick.

Their character is often reflected in their facial features, as large bloodshot eyes (all the better to see you with, my dear) stare out of pudgy, sweaty faces, and a mouth the size of an elephant's arse spits saliva at you over wonky yellow teeth (all the better to ...) - teeth that even the most determined of NHS dentists would balk at fixing.

On occasions you might just about notice the lips adorned with a smidgeon of red stuff. This is either lipstick, which has been applied in a half-hearted attempt to remind herself that she is a female, after all; or red wine, for which she may well have a secret passion that none would dare to accuse her of. Yes, alcohol and BC woman often appear together in the least likely of places - but then again, hush now, my child (rumours, mere rumours)...

We should, however, feel more than a touch of empathy for poor BC woman, who has quite probably been very unlucky where romance has been concerned. Due to this absence of affection and tenderness, which is in all probability a matter of fate, and in no way related to her monstrous appearance and character, she has developed a hide to match that of an aged rhinoceros. So never, ever, even consider contradicting her - to do so could well place your life in jeopardy.

She has also developed, owing to a lack of maternal direction and impulses, an ambition that far exceeds her grasp and ability. Not for her the patter of tiny feet, but more the scurrying of adult trotters, as wave after wave of predictably (if not predictable) male EFL teachers rushes to avoid her presence. Remember, she measures her success in the number of male hides she can stack under her ample desk.

For it is only in her presence, especially on a Friday morning, that you will see and feel the full force of her ambitions and frustrations thrust upon you. The BC bulldog cometh! Woof-woof! Gnaw-gnash! Flee-e-e-ee...!!

Just think - if Genghis Khan had possessed a battalion of these gals, he would have reached the west coast of Ireland in no time at all.

First Published: Saturday, 17 September 2005

A Selection of Comments made on the original posting...

A visitor' left this comment on 21 Sep 05
I worked for the BC for 9 years and I am not a weirdo :) In my humble opinion, BC bosses come in 4 varieties: 1: a bunch of East End barrow-boys, ruthless and cruel, with a proven knack of "flogging courses". Can be heard in meetings with external clients saying "I've got a lav-ley English course for you mate, I can throw in a couple of free course books and SAC access for the same price, innit?". This variety comes in the male version, and the fat BC woman version. Recruitment states that they must speak with SE London accents.2: Gay. Camp queen of BC teaching centre, also incredibly ruthless, and spends most of the time in the office slagging off teachers for being ugly, straight, and/or useless.3: Thin female vamp type. Can't manage but shagged someone at Spring Gardens.4: Straight male, nice person. Usually resigns after a couple of postings as they always get posted to Saudi.

'A visitor' left this comment on 18 Sep 05
The guy who was in charge at the BC in Recife was just like you described (but a guy!). Then he moved on and a friend of mine took over, she was OK actually, but then she started to get the urge to wear tweed, and sensible shoes and...well, she left the BC and the last I heard she was back to her old self living it up in Spain. All the teachers I've ever met that work for the BC are really weird, insular and frightened beasties who rarely venture forth from the BC premises. When they do scuttle from the school to their digs it's always in a pack and they beat off the locals with big sticks. Thank God I never worked for them.

'A visitor' left this comment on 18 Sep 05
Spookily accurate, Sandy. Makes me shiver.

'A visitor' left this comment on 18 Sep 05

I know that woman! It really is the BC woman. I was once co-ordinated by one in a small Eastern European country. She used to tell me that she lived the life of a monk. (Trying not to touch her willy?) BC woman takes these contracts to add to her experience for later on, even as she's getting old. I wonder where BC women go to retire, or do they just keep working until the bitter end, in their tweed uniform from M&S? There's another type of TEFL career woman who's almost identical to BC woman, except she doesn't work for BC. She can be a mean bitch: "Well, I didn't have a fridge for the two years I lived in Ulan Baator, so I don't know why you're complaining about yours being broken - you can live without it." Or: "I see you have a ten-minute gap in your timetable for today (from 9 til 10), so I want you to help me with something ." I feel an ill chill even remembering the type.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Laughing Coyote? Or is it a Mad Hyena?!

Let me take you, for once, over the sea and across the miles to another continent. There, in a land called Mexico, exists a language school whose owner has - can you believe this? - blacklisted a handful of teachers and posted their names and apparent crimes on the school's website!

Welcome to The Laughing Coyote School of English. Or not. You see, some teachers only seem to last a short while before they get accused of everything, from paedophilia to being a muslim fanatic, and hounded out of the country. Some of the poor victims claim that they actually paid the school to take a teaching course, and ended up teaching classes without any input at all. And when they complained, this is what the Laughing Coyote offered in response - a blacklisting!

Here is a list of some the 'felons' and their apparent crimes

*CHRISTOPHER - Criminal background, Distruction of property, Intimate relationship with a student, Pornography.

Hardly excessive, is it? I mean, which of us Teflers doesn't have some sort of criminal background, hasn't had an intimate relationship with a student, and hasn't, at some time or other, took solace in the sordid delights of a glossy wank-mag?! I can't think of a single one!

This next guy looks a real bastard, though - better be really careful here!

*ALEXANDER -Robbery, Moral Issues, Substance abuse

Yeah, I bet he once stole an office pen (robbery), and didn't think twice about taking it back (moral issues). The substance abuse was probably inhaling the gas from his lighter as he lit a ciggy.

But the real villains appear to be these two ultra-criminal types...

*NICOLE -Radical Muslim Views, Sleep disorder, Pathological liar, Bi-polar, Psychological Issues, obsessive compulsive behavior

*TODD - Students observed teacher putting coccaine on candy and offer it to the young kids class, Foul language used in class, Smoking in the school and during classes, Prostitutes brought to school in the night and evening on weekends false identity, Meth illegal drug found in his apartment in the school, Major Distuction of 2 Schools, of property, Theft of all accounting of the 2 schools, Embezzelment, Threatened a mexican female assistant to not disclose information, Broke the neck of the kids students pet female bird, Harssment of teachers, student and families mainly women

So Todd strangled the class parrot in a daze of coke and crystal meth, did he, before making off with the school's accounts? Sounds quite a decent chap to me.

By the way, the above are all allegations made by the school's crackpot owners, allegations to which the teachers involved have had no opportunity to respond. Just in case you think I'm kidding, click here to visit the actual page.

Now, there I was, just thinking that it's about time somebody gave this nutcase of a school a dedicated blog of their own, when - boom! - one appears just like that!


Now, who could possibly be behind it? Do you have any ideas...?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wring Out the Old, Wring In the New...! [UPDATED]

Or, in other words, just keep on recycling the same old stuff - but try polishing it a bit harder this year, eh?! You see, I just can't seem to shake off my unfortunate attitude of what one critic has called 'professional self-hate' (thanks for that, Mario!), can I. Although, I prefer to call it 'ironic reaffirmation', which is a rather neat phrase that I picked up from Private Eye recently.

Hey, did you notice? I wrote the paragraph above as an introduction to my TeflTrade blog entry of exactly one year back. Not that I'm particularly proud of it - just too hung over to write my own intro for this year. Christ, all I did was destroy six large bottles of black German beer, and they seem to have exacted their revenge in a brutal way - nazi bastards! Anyway, here are the details, my personal almanac, for my reinvigorated TEFL Tradesman of 2009.

Firstly, let me state that, despite several attempts by the sinister forces of TEFL darkness and destruction to silence Sandy McManus in 2008, this old bugger keeps getting stronger and stronger. That pathetic c*nt of a w*nker known as "Michael Flynn" threw in the towel several months back, as he finally realised that he was wasting his precious time in trying to out dear old SM. Shrewd move, Mikey boy.

More to the point, that most despicable and loathsome slug of the UK Tefl Trade, Paul Lowe (a.k.a. The Windsor Swindler), will be getting his long-overdue come-uppance at a trial in March this year. Further details of this wonderful spectacle will be given at a later date, as the whole thing is sub-judice at the moment, and I have no wish to jeopardise the due processes of the law. Rest assured, however, that an extremely full and frank account of the proceedings will be given on this very blog!

So, what will there be to look forward to on The TEFL Tradesman in 2009? Well, there'll be the usual exposure of the unethical and dodgy charlatans (see above) that appear to infest the whacky world of TEFL in the UK, and these postings will be labelled as 'Spot the Shyster'. See how organised and anal I'm getting in my old age, eh, attempting to classify all my scribblings!

Then there'll be a return of the much-missed 'Crap Jobs!' section, in which I highlight some of the least desirable UK jobs masquerading as "exciting Tefl opportunities!". This time round I'll also be phoning up the scumbags responsible for bringing these awfully underpaid dog's breath of jobs to market, in an effort to understand, insult and humiliate them. Exciting, eh?!

The sort of half-humanistic and stoned-hippie crap that passes as respectable TEFL classroom shenanagins will also be exposed and severely lampooned, in a new section to be entitled 'TEFL Mythodology'. Those of you who are more than half awake will realise that I've made a couple of postings in that category already.

Anything else will be labelled as 'Piles' at the moment, until I can think of a more appropriate title. I'm quite fond of my piles (see piccy alongside - uck!!), as they do keep me company at the most stressful of moments, so the least I could do was give them their own category on this blog.

Oh, and the swearing's got to go - or be toned down at least. Otherwise the wife is gonna grab the modem lead and wrap it round my neck. Something to do with 'assuming parental responsibility', apparently. Or it's no shagging for a month!

So, I look forward to doing a whole lot of shagging, I mean sharing, with you all over the next twelve months!

PS: If you're new to all this Tefl Trade / TEFL Tradesman stuff, just click on these links below and have yourself a quick read.



Cheerio, comrades...!