Thursday, March 26, 2009

The UK TEFL Scene - Hobos and Humbug

The other day I logged in to my old TeflTrade (RIP) blog-city account, just for old times' sake I guess. There I found a message that arrived about a year ago, and which I hadn't even opened. I reckon it accurately expresses the scornful opinions of many reluctant UK Teflers on the futility of their ill-chosen 'profession'.

Sandy, Great pity to lose you. We need someone outspoken: understandable that you lost heart. Too often I noticed deleted, interesting stuff which probably was due to you being threatened by British Council, schools etc. We need people like you, however. Inescapable fact is that to be an EFL teacher you have to come to terms with being poor, even in a 'good' school. Graduates now often start in jobs at £26,000+ per year (usually in a financial institution) and EFL is, quite frankly, a hobo career: OK for a year or so when young but unrealistic later on. It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't all so pretentious, but the way schools market themselves is nauseating: superfluous crap masking the economic facts that the staff can hardly afford to buy a garden shed for themselves to live in! EFL as a real career is only available to one in a thousand: the occasional one who can get a university job or somesuch: even that is extremely limited and modest. Sandy: thanks for exposing the pretence and humbug. Thank you, thank you. Philo

Well said, Philo. As an example of the pretentious shit that emanates from most EFL schools in the UK, I have a prime example here, from the Bournemouth Business School International. Look at this job advert from from a few months ago -

BBSI is looking for an experienced and qualified, EFL-trained teacher of Legal Studies, International and Commercial Law. The successful candidate will have a professional study background in legal fields, and will ideally have worked within the legal profession. S/he will have a broad knowledge of law rather than be a specialist.

So, not just a TEFL qualification, but professional experience and a qualification in Law. And what sort of salary are they offering for this pearl of a job?

Salary circa £16000.00 - £17000.00 depending on experience and qualifications. Supplementary earning may be possible at the rate of £14.00 per hour.

Hmm - cracking, eh? You can expect a starting salary of just over 300 quid a week - on a par with a checkout girl at Tesco's (with none of the perks, obviously!). As Philo said above, on that sort of money, you just might be able to afford a shed to live in - or maybe the BBSI director will rent you one in his garden?

Of course, if you're more ambitious, you might want to apply for this prime TEFL post, also at that shining example of TEFL bullshit, BBSI...

We are seeking an experienced and qualified individual for the role of Senior Tutor, Law. Prime responsibilities as a key member of our strong and supportive tutorial cadre would be the supervision of those BBSI staff associated with training in law and the ongoing management of all aspects of course planning, structure, content and teaching resources within the Law Department. The successful candidate would have a professional background in the legal profession and have extensive experience in teaching Legal English to international students.

The ideal candidate will possess a Law Degree, or similar, and have a CELTA or DELTA qualification, plus at least 2 years' sound teaching experience in a quality school or college.

Salary for a Senior tutor is circa £18,000.00 - £19,000.00, depending on the candidate's experience and qualifications. Supplementary earning may also be possible pro-rata for extra hours worked.

Oh wow!! A wonderful 19,000 quid for a job in a management and supervisory role! How can you possibly resist it?! And you don't need anything more than a Law degree , a Diploma, and a couple of years of experience teaching in a "quality college" - which probably excludes any internal candidates!

So, are you ready to go for it? If so, contact this old dragon, the DoS known as Gill Casey. Yes, I know - she looks hard enough to bite your bollocks off from 30 yards, so take care! You can e-mail the old boiler on - or maybe you'd rather turn up in person? The address is Bournemouth Business School International, 26 St Peters Road, Bournemouth BH1 2LW. But just make sure you've got your armour plated y-fronts on.

Anyway, last year I had this to say about the place and the dog-shit jobs they were offering:

"... the nauseatingly self-proclaiming blurb drones on. 'BBSI has a policy of constant innovation ...' it barks, which probably means they'll give you the sack as soon as it suits them."

Has the place improved since then? Somehow I doubt it.

Remember the motto - At BBSI, Crap Always Comes First!


M. le Prof d'Anglais said...

Check out BSSI's "Key Staff" page and count the teachers. You could count them on the fingers of one thumb.

Just shows where their priorities lie. The "PA to the Executive Director" is more important than the poor sods who actually do the teaching.

What a shower of shites.

Anonymous said...

Why would anyone with a law degree accept 19k????????????????

I don't believe this advert is real.

Anonymous said...

Once more the stunted EPITOME of all that is VILE and BALEFUL in this world POURS FORTH his incontinent SPLEEEN. The non-spark is like a rabbit being lectured on THE PROCESSES OF NUCLEAR FUSION or a baboon reading a bit of TOLSTOY (eh wot he sez, oo that then, oo that Tolsty then eh). YOU have not GRASPED the principles of effULGENCE, DECORUM and EDUCATION.
Today I slaughtered a labrador and now I wear its ears as ear muffs - no hear the non SPARK, no SEE because of SQUIRREL TAIL VEIL. HA HA HA how jealous you lowly troglodytes must be, yearning under your YOLK for the pitiful liberties of your oh so liberated BLOGS.
Signed in dog blood THE BREAKFAST MAN

Anonymous said...

Ah, Mr Lowe - welcome back! How go things in Reading library these days? Have you just finished your weekly therapy session?

We're all looking forward very much indeed to your forthcoming court appearance in South East London. Extra security and reporters have been hired, just in case you decide to do a runner or give us a performance of your sub-Shakespeare vocal abilities.

Meanwhile, there's a certain American gentleman, a Mr McNamara, I believe, who feels very annoyed by your recent decision to snaffle the B&B fees he paid in advance. He's busy trashing your name the length and breadth of the USA, so don't expect too many tourists from that part of the world this summer, will you?!

Anonymous said...

I thought the Breakfast Bitch, I mean the Breakfast Man, was our old friend the Baron.

Those matters at the House of Windsor aren't sorted yet? Why not?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now a fucking labrador. I hope you choke on dog piss you psycho.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Do I detect the hand of the Evil Dr Kim at work here? I have my suspicions... Own up, you labrador lover!

Anonymous said...

I see the Breakfast Bitch has been frightened off by my superior intellect. His squirrel tail veil fell off on the street and a bulldog promptly pissed on it while crapping on BBs shoes.

Then a bunch of young lads chased him into the park and fed him his labrador ear muffs.

Then as it got dark, large naked girls appeared out of the trees and sat on him, as he gasped for breath looking up to a distant star. In his last breath, "Why?"

Alex Case said...

I usually find these posts about pay levels tedious, but this one really stands out. It also ties in nicely with the whole CLIL thing going on all over the world- TEFL teachers being asked to teach another subject in English for half the pay of a real teacher of that subject. It's often tempting because it's so much more interesting than teaching grammar, but teaching a subject without having any training to do so (even if you know the subject well) makes our job even more of a sham than being called teacher after a 4 week course. So, let's just make this clear now shall we- no CLIL without extra pay and training! Any chance that TEFL teachers can actually stick together on this point?

Soap Distant said...

CLIL? Isn't that the funny thing ladies have in their fanny? What's it got to do with EFL = English as a Fanny Language?!

LunchMaster said...

Dear Breakfast "Man",
I SEE your spirit IS now hiding behind the distant star. I look up and can see THE quivering shadow of your PISS-stained squirrel tail veil.

I am standing COMPLETELY over Scotland. My gallactic LEATHER w-h-i-p is ready--I just cracked it ON northern Iceland creating a small, precise EARTHquake.

If you DARE to come back and SOIL OUR beautiful England, you'll be placed down into the BOWELS of Birmingham, licking my cow-dung covered b-o-o-t-s. Then you WILL say, "YES, Master, I like IT. And Sandy, I AM S-O-R-R-Y"

The Lunch Master

LunchMaster said...

That's RIGHT, Breakfast Man, you stay behind that DISTANT star like a good BOY.

I crack my whip against SATURN. With my secret POWER, motherfukkas hear me

Anonymous said...

I am very, very sorry, LunchMaster. I am sorry Sandy. You W-I-N.

The Breakfast Man