Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cheap as China!

Yes, the research has been done, and the UK TEFL industry can now proudly claim that ... London's EFL schools are officially just as cheap as their counterparts in China! No doubt the odious Tony Millns and his smug cohort of Tefl-busters at EnglishUK are celebrating this fact as I write, swigging back pots of champagne (and real ale), and chuckling mercilessly at how the humble EFL teacher gets screwed time and time again in this country.

The truth is, of course, often stranger than fiction, and this article, written by the excellent Tefl-sleuth Melanie Butler of the EL Gazette, puts the reality of it all into sharp focus. I'll just concentrate my two-pennorth on two or three aspects of the article, the ones that most get me SO fuggin' angry!

Firstly, the saddest of sad truths is that there are some accredited private language schools in London charging just over a quid per class hour for general English courses, which apparently makes them cheaper than many language schools in China! Apparently, in the land of the billion squinty-eyed students, the hourly rates in many Chinese EFL schools are the equivalent of £1.80–4.50. By way of illuminating contrast, Ielts classes in India now cost £2 per hour - still more costly than many London schools!

OK, those were extreme examples, but take a look at this, direct from the article:

"The average price across London for the same course type is £6.40 per hour, compared with £6.66 an hour in 1987 – a drop in real terms of 66 per cent over the 22-year period."

As the article points out, these very low fees are leading to decreasing hourly rates for London EFL teachers, which range from £8–13 (equivalent to 9.20–15 Euros). To hammer home the point, Ms Butler notes that hourly rates for EFL teachers in Dublin and Madrid stand at 19–24 Euros, whilst there is a legal minimum rate of 15.88 Euros in France. So, we can't even keep up with our European colleagues on salaries!

The section that really infuriates me is this, though: "many teachers are forced to work long hours and the British Council, which specifically excludes terms and conditions from its accreditation criteria, has accredited schools where teachers routinely work 45 hours per week. "

Yes, that's right. The 'good old' British Council is essentially colluding with shoddy EFL school owners by deliberately turning a blind eye to a situation that can not in any way be said to work for the benefit of the students or the teachers. Only the crafty school owners derive any advantage from this state of things, in which teachers are overworked and underpaid. Well done, BC - I hope this makes you feel feckin' proud!

Anyway, I shall be contacting those smarmy c*nts at the BC over the next few days and seeking their opinion on the above. I have also, by some sneaky means, managed to get hold of several important (and presumably confidential) BC documents regarding the accreditation process that they carry out, and will be sharing these with you over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, if any of you downtrodded Teflers out there have any documents, stories, or compromising pictures to share about the BC and their accreditation at your school, please send the stuff my way:

I'll be more than grateful to receive them!


Anonymous said...

Snigger. Just goes to show you that efl teachers are a bunch of overpaid, underendowed fuckpigs

Martin Heal

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Nice remark, Martin. Would you by any chance be the Martin Heal who was advertising for EFL teachers for your school, the East London School of English (ELSE) a few months back, on

I'm sure your teachers will be chuffed to hear how much/little you value them! Or perhaps they know that already

Anonymous said...

spot on fuckwit. I eat eflers for breakfast

Anonymous said...

And just whom have you breakfasted upon today, MArtin - Jeremy Hamster?

Troy said...

'British Council Accredited' here in Spain means piss all. It means absolutely NOTHING in regards to teachers and their working conditions.

I knew a Canadian teacher who was hired by a 'BC accredited' school (a 'real' school not just a language school) here in Spain. She was promised working papers etc and flew over, got a flat etc. 2 weeks into her job she was given the sack because the process of getting her legal was too complicated. The owner of the school then thought he was doing her a favour paying her the 2 weeks she had worked!

She then complained to the BC (their 'accreditation' being of the reasons she chose the school) and was told flat out that teacher's working conditions are not in their scope. Nice to know.

None said...

That's some very interesting stuff, Troy. Perhaps you could supply us with some more info - names, dates, etc - so we can do a little 'research', and an interview with the school owner in question.

Just use the usual address.


Troy said...

@The Debt Collector As I mentioned, this wasn't your usual academy, but a grade school 'accredited' by the BC. If I remember correctly it was in Alzira near Valencia. One of the many 'British Schools' that are popping up all over the coast, taking advantage of nouveau riche Spanish parents that can't stand the thought of their little darlings actually sharing classrooms with Moroccans and Roma.

An interview with the fella would be impossible, as he is one of those Spanish 'caciques' who could care less about the school and himself barely speaks English. He's in it for the money...period, and after she talked to a lawyer, found out that he was well enough connected to be well above Spanish law.

The most brutal thing, besides the utter hell the woman went through, was that the school didn't even have simple things like a library or even white boards!? Excuses were given that it was new, but how the hell does the BC accredit this? When confronted with this (after refusing to act because of teacher mistreatment), their blanket answer was that they simply made sure a British curriculum was in use. RIGHT! A huge money swindle really.

Shaun Ryder said...

Aye, but this all gets lost down 'ere. This should be an article not a comment.


Good lord, man - you're on top of things, is this stuff true? Am also a bit confused about whether you're joking or this horrible stuff happens..


Sandy, am I going nuts but every time I come over to your page it's a different colour? Or...


The TEFL Tradesman said...

Karen, this is all totally true, unfortunately.

And you're right about the colour scheme - it's on a weekly rotation!

Anonymous said...

how about this job taken from london The students would make more than the teacher after completing their course!! sick of this industry!

Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults (ESOL) whilst using a wide range of teaching and learning resources already available within the organisation. Learners will be taught ESOL at Entry level's and/or Level 1.

Applicants need to have the following qualification, experience and skills:
• A TESOL / TEFL qualification is the minimum requirement
• Part or fully-qualified CELTA or ESOL core curriculum training applications is an added advantage
• Existing experience of using and creating teaching and learning resources is an added advantage
• Applicant must have experience of using ICT for communication and collaborative working whilst possessing a good interpersonal skills
• Be flexible to work within a team or as an individual
• Maintain appropriate records, monitor students’ progress.
• Carry out any other duties relating to this post
• Build on existing learning resources by creating lessons and resources whilst addressing differential learner needs.
• Open to travel within the UK as can be required to support various sites within the UK
• Possibility for relocation if any opportunity arises.
• Ability to speak any other languages is an added advantage (Kindly mention these when applying)

The rate would be between £6.50 to £8.50 (dependent on the applicants' qualification and/or experience).