In the wake of the recent General Teaching Council guidelines forbidding teachers from letting their hair down too much at weekends (see 'Teachers moan that new code of conduct will stop them getting drunk at weekends'), the British Council and English UK have no lost no time in jumping on the proverbial bandwagon, and have drawn up plans forbidding EFL teachers from smoking and drinking to excess ... and more or less everything else.
Don't believe me? Just take a look at this summary of a recent press-release, published jointly by those two stentorian defenders of teaching standards and performance in the UK. The document, published after consultation with several well-known and teetotal Teflers from International House at a series of meetings held in the Lamb & Flag, Conduit Street, London, is guaranteed to invoke strong opposition from a good number of the UK Tefl industry's particularly hedonistic practitioners.
A draft version of the so-called Code to Regulate the Advancement of Professional Performance (CRAPP) states that all EFL teachers will be expected to 'maintain standards of behaviour both inside and outside school that are appropriate to their membership of an important and responsible profession - TEFL'. In accordance with this concept, sleeping with their own or each other's students, as well as shagging their own colleagues (either inside or outside the staff room) are to become strictly forbidden.
Moreover, it also expects Teflers to 'maintain reasonable standards in their own behaviour that enable them to uphold public trust and confidence in their profession'. As a result of this apparently vague but sweeping statement, many Teflers now fear that smoking dope and sniffing coke with their colleagues and students will soon have to be confined to the weekends, with that 'midweek staffroom binge' becoming a thing of the past.
Although a late addition to the code states that it 'does not limit an EFL teacher's right to a private life', many EFL Teachers are apparently demanding the right to get drunk, stoned, and almost everything else at weekends as they protest against this allegedly draconian code of conduct. A couple of quick calls to several of the Tefl Tradesman's colleagues in the UK revealed the following strength of sentiments against the plans to effectively neuter Teflers' free time activities.
Several prominent Teflers (Kevin and Darren from Bournemouth) are in fact considering setting up an online petition calling for the scrapping of "these fuckin' absurd rules that tell us to stay sober for almost five days a week". The petition was to be up and running by the end of the weekend, but both Kevin and Darren have not been seen since entering a Westbourne pub early on Friday evening.
Another Tefler was equally vociferous in his opposition to the draft. "Why should I have to be sober to teach Headway?" rambled Jason, from a school in Brighton."I've done it so many times now I don't even have to look at the pages anymore" he ventured, before tripping over a discarded copy of Murphy's Grammar and falling into his school basement.
Another teacher from Brighton, who wished only to be known as "Miss Whipp", complained that she would no longer be able to appear in her own online porn programme, nor encourage her students to indulge in 'exploratory sex' at her 'weekend therapy sessions'. "This has put an end to our midnight dogging sessions on the beach" she moaned, adding that the proposals are "completely unwarranted - it's pure harrassment of lower middle-class loafers like us" . Several of her colleagues appeared to agree, stating that it was "entirely unreasonable to expect Teflers to behave in a reasonable way like that."
Both the British Council and English UK were unavailable for comment earlier today, but one insider assured me that Teflers with Celtas would obviously be given a greater amount of leeway in their choice of recreational poison, whereas those with Diplomas would be restricted a little more - no spirits or hard drugs, for example. Any teachers possessing Masters degrees in TEFL would, of course, be limited to paracetamol wih codeine, with the occasional whiff of 'therapeutic' aromatherapy concoctions.