Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Terrific Teaching Colleagues

Well, it's time for that madcap midget again - Mario Rinvoludicrous! Actually, he's one of my EFL heroes, being, as he is, absolutely unafraid to swim against the tide of tacky mediocrity that often floods the whacky world of modern EFL. The fact that he often swims accompanied by a large rubber ring in the shape of a cute yellow duck is irrelevant, in my eyes.

Anyway, here's an offering of his that I've managed to 'bowdlerise' (must look that one up some day) in order to make it more acceptable for the discerning Tefl Tradesman public. It's been adapted from an article in Humanising Language Teaching, concerning teachers who are deemed to be failing, and how they are 'revealed' in school inspectors’ reports.

Although Mario invites us into his world of dysfunctional teachers by stating "Let us look at three teachers ... who are clearly totally out of place in any school environment", I rather feel quite at home with all of them. My comments are, of course, in italics, as measured responses to the school inspector's callous and undeserved verbal lashings.

Teacher 1

Mr. R seems happy to ignore the minimum obligations of his job. [Too right - ignorance is bliss, after all!]
This state of affairs is fully known to Mr. R’s colleagues, superiors and students. [Damn right - and they don't give a toss either!]
In this situation Mr. R lives a state of permanent aggression and takes every opportunity to create conflict and tension in the school. [There's my man - a born fighter!]
Mr. R does not know the curriculum and does not wish to get to know it. [Absolutely - no careerist crap for Mr R!]
In class he reads the newspaper. [Shame on him - should be into Viz and Loaded!]
Mr. R has other interests. [Oh dear - a teacher with a real life!]

Working as he does in an evening school, he has another daytime job. [Ha - underpaid, that's his problem!]
His absences are numerous and he never lets people know in advance, which makes it very hard to find people to stand in for him. [Right on, Mr R - keep the bastards on their toes!]
Mr. R spends his time verbally attacking the Head and the Deputy Head. [What else are they for - we all slag them off relentlessly, don't we?!]
During my meeting with him, Mr. R declared that his students “are animals who are worthy only of my contempt.” [I salute you, Mr R - you take no prisoners, and tell it like it is!]

Apparently, Mr. R went even further and physically attacked the Deputy Head, and nearly had a fight with his own angry students. The man was a true hero! I guess even the inspectors were impressed with his feisty attitude, as after initially demanding his transfer to a daytime school, it was then decided to keep him where he was and merely monitor his teaching for a year. No doubt they wanted to see even more of him and his idiosyncratic approach to the pedagogical profession!

Teacher 2

At times when Ms G was quiet she would lean on the window sill and look out, staying silent for hours on end. [Ah - a practitioner of Taoism and the dogme approach.]
At other times she would pull a novel out of her bag and settle down to read it. [So? Don't teachers have the right to read in class, as well as the students?!]
Occasionally she would cry for the whole of the lesson. [Hmm. Usually I cry after a lesson, but rarely during it.]

The class representatives in the January of that year complained that “so far we have done nothing; the teacher never explains anything, she writes a few phrases on the blackboard and then quickly rubs them out.” [As much as that, eh? And the students have the nerve to bloody complain!]
If a student asks her anything she responds with insults and threats. [Perfectly acceptable teaching method in my opinion.]
Most of her class groups have decided to ignore her. [My classes often end up the same way - again, what's the problem here?]
To avoid being got at during her lessons, the students do their homework, study other subjects, and read the paper - the inspector says that a modus vivendi has been created, based on mutual silence. [See - a mutually acceptable outcome, just like a class contract!]

According to Mario, in her interview with the inspector Ms G let on that "for many years the idea of entering into dialogue with the students has seemed to her to be immensely psychologically difficult, and even to say the name of the subject she is meant to teach leaves her feeling sick." Well, we can ALL sympathise with that, can't we...

Amazingly, our practitioner of the Silent Way got through four inspections! In fact, the inspector’s final decision in the case of Ms G was that “given her state of strong demotivation, total absence of didactic intent and dramatic relational difficulties, Ms G should be transferred to non-teaching duties.” Exactly - promotion to Director of Studies!!

Teacher 3

For the last one, I'll just leave you with the inspector's comments. As you can see, she is a victim of cruel and teasing students, all of whom need to be gassed or dealt with in a suitably extreme way. The final remarks, that she "feels liberated" as she is relieved of her teaching duties upon doctor's orders, evoke a lot of sympathy, I believe.

For fifteen years she’s been teaching in the same school without any complaints against her. In October 2004 Mrs. C began to feel got at by her colleagues. “they’ve marginalized me,” she told the inspector. Her students have no pity. They see her in difficulties and take full advantage. They laugh in her face and mock her for being badly dressed.

Mrs. C is absent from school more and more often; she is sucked into a negative spiral. At first she tells the inspector that there is nothing wrong, but then finally admits, in her last meeting with him, that there has been a change:

“I have always taught. I do the same things I did years ago. It’s the students that have changed. I can’t understand them anymore, and I don’t see why they don’t follow me.”

She then admits she is in the grip of anxiety and that the very idea of leaving home and walking into her classroom fills her with moral and physical dread. A medical examination allows her to give up teaching. She feels liberated.

Original Source: http://www.hltmag.co.uk/apr09/sart03.htm


Anonymous said...

Thought you'd find this absolutely hilarious. Has to be an all-time record, no? Add it to your 'crap jobs'. They want a Master's degree and they pay the grand total of 6 pounds an hour!!! It's 2009 and wages are plummeting!

Or, how about this one? Also 6 quid an hour, and the one essential requirement of the job? No, not a CELTA or any experience: You must have the amazing ability "to speak English" Fuck!

Anonymous said...

(Sorry the above contains no links so I tried again)

Thought you'd find this absolutely hilarious. Has to be an all-time record, no? Add it to your 'crap jobs'. They want a Master's degree and they pay the grand total of 6 pounds an hour!!! It's 2009 and wages are plummeting!


[I like the way it's called Bradford College. It's actually in south Manchester]

Or, how about this one? Also 6 quid an hour, and the one essential requirement of the job? No, not a CELTA or any experience: You must have the amazing ability "to speak English" Fuck!


Anonymous said...

Those juicy job ads in full due to shitty links:


Hours 5 DAYS
Wage 6p/h
Work Pattern Days
Employer Bradford College of Professional Studies
Employer RefEL312002
Closing Date 21/05/2009
Pension Pension available


Must have a Masters Degree in English or equivalent. Duties will include offering teaching support to the students.Successful applicants are required to provide an enhanced disclosure. Disclosure expense will be met by employer.

How to apply
You can apply for this job by sending a CV/written application to Qaiser Shah at Bradford College of Professional Studies, 69 HAMILTON ROAD, MANCHESTER, M13 0PD.

Next one:

. . Home>Customers>Search for a job My Favourites

Here are the job details [help]
Back to Results
Save This Job
Next Job Previous Job


Wage £6 PER HOUR
Work Pattern Days , Weekends
Employer Hitha Apdirahnan
Pension No details held


Must have previous experience with teaching the English language. Will be teaching on a one-to-one basis the English language, for around 3-6 months. An essential requirement of the job is the ability to speak English.

How to apply
You can apply for this job by telephoning 07928 763684 and asking for Hitha.

These guys should be named and shamed. I could make more cleaning toilets.

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Great stuff, Anon - thanks a million! Named and shamed - well, you've already done that. But I'll get on the case, give them a call, and see what fun we can have!

Anonymous said...

Sandy see 29 December comment below. Yes TEFL in the UK is ridiculous, but when are you going to race your pimped out Mercedes to the airport like the others?

The TEFL Tradesman said...

No Mercedes, mate - just a second hand Volvo. I've received no marching orders as yet, but you never know round here. I could well be joining you in a UK dole queue after summer - who the fugg knows?

Anonymous said...

Stay safe and keep an eye on the intl news. Reports of a lot of people fooled in different ways. Sad. Was supposed to be a dream for many.

Advice is delete all of these specific mentions off your site and lie low. Hard times. New media law. Fine and maybe worse. Better safe than...

Anonymous said...

there are a TON of PhD studentships on offer in the UK due to govt change in priority. 13-15k tax-free + loans I presume. If in certain fields, could help fund retraining (or quietly doing it for 1-2 years to find something). Maybe business fields are best and pull in intl experience, also as univ teaching should pay more. pay is not ideal but as we know tefl rates are dire here and will not change for a couple of generations. obviously a third tier back-up and hopefully good changes occur where you are.

ikon said...

Problem is, how do you get a PhD studentship if you've just done TEFL/TESOL your adult life? No-one is going to take you on unless you have a (good) degree in an unrelated field.

Anonymous said...

I think it is tricky but teaching (any) business english internationally could become an international business or communications studies. CV needs a hard re-angle. or focusing on the geographical area. It certainly helps if there are other things to add, but there are so many on offer!
An older PhD can be attractive in that if one opts to do it, chances are it will be taken seriously and completed.
Based on experience feedback seems to depend on who one is speaking to. some might want to put you in a rigid heirarchy; others may see you as more of a colleague to supervise like a manager on the next tier. Generally speaking, supervisors with intl experience may be best.
Don't give up hope!

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Nil Desperandum, mate - that's me! If the crunch comes this way, I'll make a living back home driving a minicab. I've done it before, and don't mind doing it again, as it will surely be more lucrative than EFL in the UK right now - or ever!

Anonymous said...

Until then, enjoy your pimped out Volvo and a place that sounds like it has the ingredients for the most unbelievable non-fiction on the planet!

Anonymous said...

Business school fraudsters sentenced for false ad

3:51pm Fri 8th May 09:: written by court reporter

A pair of fraudsters who duped students at their language school by falsely claiming links with a prestigious London college narrowly avoided jail today.

Reading Crown Court heard how Paul Lowe, 51, and Ashley Arnold, 36, claimed their Windsor Schools business had been approved by Trinity College London - one of only two UK bodies to provide top level TEFL certification.

A judge was told that Trinity College withdrew this certification from January 2007 after Windsor Schools racked up £36,000 in unpaid fees.
But Lowe, who owned the Osborne Road business, and group manager Arnold continued to advertise the school as having the lucrative accreditation.

Paul Lowe, who had pleaded guilty to 10 breaches of the Trade Descriptions Act and five of the Fraud Act at an earlier hearing, was given a 40 week suspended sentence and ordered to do 200 hours community service.
He was also told the pay costs of £3,000 and pay £453 compensation to a former student.

Ashley Arnold was ordered to do 250 hours community service and told to pay costs of £2,000 and £453 compensation.
He had pleaded guilty to five breaches of the Trade Descriptions Act at an earlier hearing, and Judge John Reddihough accepted he had played a 'subsidiary' role in the fraud.

Mr Reddihough added: "I hope you have both learnt your lesson and realise you could have both gone to prison today."

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Stealing my thunder, eh, Anon.? Ha!! Never mind...

Anyway, just take a look at my entry for today - there's more meat on it than yours!

Anonymous said...

Fuck. Fuck.Fuck.Have to call the lady-boy off...Dammit!

Anonymous said...

Do the authorities (eg: Dept of Educ, Employment or immigration - whatever they are all called these days = ever investigate such patently dodgy schools? 6 quid an hour.. is that per contact hour, she asked sweetly.

Big S