Saturday, February 21, 2009

How To Bully Your Way to the Top of the TEFL Tree!

Oh yes, it's time for one from the archives again, lads'n'lassies. This one proved very popular at the time, and one DoS even told me he'd pinned it up on the staff-room wall. I wonder if he's still working at the same place now?!

Here are some of Sandy's tips for giving feedback to a teacher following an observed lesson, all designed to assert your authority as DOS and thoroughly destroy your unfortunate employee's confidence. This is not some duff idea taken from the pages of a naff Tefl handbook written by some half-drunken Italian hermit - it's a tried and tested technique that I have honed over many years of systematic humiliation of gullible Tefl pricks.

So, get ready for ... Sandy's Seven Golden Rules for Observation Feedback!

Go through the lesson plan with the teacher BEFORE the observation. Here you’ll get the chance to laugh at his lamentable activities, and suggest changes to the entire structure of the lesson. Ask the teacher what his aims are, and laugh audibly; ask him for his contingency plan if things don’t work out, adding that he'll probably need a good one. On no account should you listen to the twerp wittering on about any difficulties he has with the class. Just point out firmly that he should have already ironed out any problems he has had with any difficult individuals - after all, he's been teaching them for at least two days.

Of course, if you really want to leave the pimply Tefler without an ounce of self-esteem, just forget the pre-observation stuff and turn up announced, waving your clipboard and sitting very obtrusively near the white-board. This approach will probably cause the wimp of a teacher to drop his photocopies and start mumbling to the class incomprehensibly, but just be firm and bark "pull yourself together, laddie". Also, if you take this approach, you are much better able to judge the lesson in terms of what the bugger thinks he can get away with when nobody's looking, compared to the sort of old textbook Tefl tosh he'd serve up if you'd given him notice.

Write up your observation notes carefully and give the teacher a copy. Make sure you underline all the negative points, and bring the teacher's attention to your extremely judgemental comments - words like CRAP! and JEESUS! - by using red highlighter. I recommend giving the teacher a copy in advance of the feedback session, just to let him mull things over, consider resigning, contemplate suicide, etc. You might like to pin a copy of your notes to the school noticeboard too, all in the name of 'transparency', providing cheap entertainment, and asserting your authority.

Don't start with that old chestnut, "So, how do YOU think it went?" Only incorrigible Tefl tossers do this, and the last thing you want to do is waste your time listening to this timid little fart waffling on about how good his lesson was, while you sit there nodding off to sleep. It's far better to be creative and dispense with established Tefl protocol, especially if the pubs are about to open. Just steam right in, screw up your face into a resemblance of a bulldog straining to have a shit, and croak "What the FUCK do you think you were doing, Jason?!"

Even if you did think it was a good lesson, learn how to frame your criticism to cause maximum damage. After all, a demoralised teacher is no personal threat to you, and you can look forward to enjoying a lot more of the same sport if your teachers fear you. Personally, I would gloss over any positive points, dismissing them as 'textbook maneouvres' and 'basic teaching techniques', and really come out blasting heavy with the negatives. Most EFL teachers will be expecting you to start off with the plus points, so wiping the teacher's crap in his face from the very first moment will really put the sad bastard's back to the wall.

Start nitpicking as soon as possible. After all, it’s easy for you to sit back and be all perfectionist about it - that's your job - and you don't want the poor little runt of a teacher to feel too comfortable, do you? Confess to feeling completely bewildered by the 'problems' you have witnessed, and ask the teacher if he has ever tried to do anything about it before. Then start to focus on the really important issues, like the students' opportunities to speak, error correction, pronunciation, making sure all students were involved, use of a warmer, making the lesson interactive, etc. Whatever the teacher did, be ruthless in your criticism of it - state firmly that there was either too much or not enough of the above Tefl waffle, and that he should reconsider his approach to lesson planning and classroom management, if not his entire career in the whacky world of Tefl.

If necessary, just to confirm your status as The Boss, make a casual reference to Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development theory. Point out as an aside, but with a clear degree of caustic criticism in your voice, the accepted and self-evident need for a truly effective teacher to provide differentiated elements of cognitive scaffolding when the students are carrying out challenging problem solving activities independently or in collaboration with their classroom peers - and then tell him he's an ignorant cunt.

Make a long list of all the points that you’d like to see development of when it comes to the next observation, and thrust them into the teacher's hand with a dismissive grunt. As you stand up to leave the teachers' room (your feedback should always be given in the teachers' room, where there is a captive audience), make it very clear to the mug in question that next time you’ll be focusing on ALL the points you have just mentioned - even though you were far from satisfied with the rest of the lesson. Finally, suggest that your by now gibbering wreck of a Tefler observe other teachers as often as possible, using every available break period to "make yourself useful in the classroom". You might even consider mentioning that you'll be sending other teachers into his class, as "peer observation should include the lows as well as the highs".

PS: On no account ask the teachers if they thought your feedback was fair. I mean, why should you worry about fairness - you are the boss after all?! Also, never EVER allow your teachers to observe you. They just wouldn't understand.

Finally, my thanks go to Mike Long for allowing me to ruthlessly lampoon his well-considered advice (see link below) for would-be Directors of Studies. At least, I think he said it was OK...


El Rico said...

Mr Macmanus,

I'm sad to have to break the news but there is no top to the TEFL tree. There is also no bottom,. but that's only because no one has managed to descend low enough.

All the best,


Anonymous said...

I can think of one person who made it to the depths. I think he's still there.

Sandy's Maid said...

I now back in Manila because Sandy McManus is cornhole twat! I cook and clean for that smelly Irish man, and I pick up after his rodents, I mean children.

I tell you real reason he fire me. He come to my room behind kitchen late at night in January. He want some "nookie from his cookie" he say. I say no way I am good Christian girl. His wife is beautiful but heavy vodka drinker [start at 11AM at the pool with orange juice and she start complaining at 1PM until she pass out], but no excuse go talk to her.

You want Sandy real name and address? I need money no problem. I not far from Mandarin Oriental,, pool is nice there, no drunk vodka lady and no smelly Sandy.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Slander! Libel! Defamation! I love them all!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

HA HA HA HA I AM NOT DEAD YOU OBSCENE RUNT>That's the sound of a higher being mocking YOU non-sparks and your brylcreem coiffed preening, your twittering on your very famoous blogs. YOU ARE BELOW ME geographically and on the sliding scale of evolutionary nonsuch timing and datelines. Get it, TEFLERS? You CANT even READ, did I ever say 20 FEB was when my hubris creature would sink his ferrile claws into your scammy bonces? NO I MERELY set that as an arbitrary DEAD line DEAD DEAD LINE. Now it too late to stop THE INEVIRTABLE coulD BE A HUNDRED YEARS OR NEXT week. The voices very loud today, strident and piercing. I CAN control them ICAN take back my LIFE I am not dead. NOT true about the vending machine, that's a slander you will regret as he himself has PAID a HEAVY PRICE. LAUGH ON (slaps head, DUH they don't get it nO they don't do they shall we tell them he he no) HA HA HA LAUGH on UNTIL YOU meet your ARCHITRAVE.

Anonymous said...

HA HA HA I'm still chortling at your INANITY your aimless fluffing and corpsing, your imaginary friends, brain cell goes to meet a brain cell and begets a TEFLER a NON SPARK BE SILENT YOU VOICES

Anonymous said...

Yes, Paul - we can all see that there are indeed voices in your head. Is it The Devil? Or your own inane ramblings? Go back to your Shrink immediately!!

Sandy's Maid said...

You want name and adress of Sandy's location? No problem. I need little money. I drink at Mandarin Orintal bar. Cost money.

I give my direction. I have secret bank acount in place call Nigeria. You send money. I send information. I am good Christian girl. I need money for aunt. She is sick. But I help anyone. Jesus tell me it is okay.

Sandy's Maid said...


Things from house of Sandy
> Photo of Sandy play in pool with children
> ELT book--smell like beer and he write swearing on pages
> Photo of Sandy's dirty kitchen (I take last year after I go away just one week in Manila), I sign it and date it
> Photo of Sandy near managers. He write bad things in photo
> List of girl photos Sandy look at on home computer
> Telephone bill of Sandy and vodka lady
> Sandy swimming trunk. I wash if you like. Some of you Internet people sick.

How much you pay on tefltradesman ebay? I take credit card. I am good Christian girl. I send to you. Jesus say okay.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

What!! First libel and defamation, and now blackmail! This is MUCH better than I can do!

I take my hat off to you, Imelda - you're obviously far smarter than we imagined at first. BUT,... do I detect the evil work of Dr Kim behind this all...?!?

Imeldelina said...

Sandy, you are very bad man!! Jesus don't like you! I work for you, Nadia and rodents over 4 years and you never say my name correct!

Dr Kim is nice man. He know you very well. He say maybe I treach beginer English on Internet for institute. I take the treacher test Friday last.

Okay you cheap, I mean rich Western people. What you want buy of Sandy things?

Anonymous said...

VOICES TODAY loud getting LOUDER not the VOICes of Reason but of DOOM destiny the foreshadowed and prejudicted abstract KANGAROOO COURT well I shall not be CAUGHT

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Yes, Paul (for it is he - Paul Lowe), but aren't you, erm ... dead? We all thought you'd gotten yerself done in at one of your local 'cottages'. Shame, really - that you apparently weren't killed, I mean.

Never mind - soon come, eh?!

Anonymous said...

Paul Lowe probably has a mother/sister who looks like Amy Shitehouse. Just bell-ended one in feckin Soho. I think it was Paul Lowe's mother/favourite sister... Tee-hee, she'll be farting and weeing spunk for a while...ha-bloody-ha!

William Frederickson [possibly wiping his cock on Paul 'Gaylord' Lowe's curtains]

The TEFL Tradesman said...

I thought you were a devout muslim, 'William'. Or are you going "undercover" for the Manchester School of English and their jihadist ideas?

Anonymous said...

Not at all-i just want to be utterly offensive,Mr Mcmanus. And pay homage to Messrs. Brand and Woss.Some 'anonymous' arse-hole said that we should 'look into' our 'hearts' as regards our lambasting of Paul 'Bent-Arse' Lowe and be nice to him...Gentlemen- i suggest that we go heterosexually forth to Windsor in our best gimp suits and do something to take 'Pained Paul's'mind off his problems [as well as the fact that i shook a woman by the surname of Lowe's tambourine recently.]We shall take a length of tubing and half a dozen gerbils or baby chinchillas with us.
Paul Lowe will REALLY have something to be 'pained' about
when half a dozen rodents are squeaking,scratching and biting their last in his lower intestine and rectum!
Also- we need a hammer and nails for this- his scrotum must be nailed to an immovable piece of furniture so that Paul doesn't escape the good,hard and sexually-degrading 'Lemmiwinksing' that he so rightly deserves.
And-no,Shaunie,you can't wear your 'Wonder Woman outfit','you batty- boy!

William Frederickson [use Amy Winehouse as a 'rule of thumb'when on the piss and 'badger-hunting?' You won't go wrong!