Thursday, October 21, 2010

Suspension of Service

Yes, I'm afraid to have to inform you that Sandy McManus has applied for leave to take early Winter hibernation, and shall be doing so with immediate effect. Fact is, there's far too many things going on in my life these days, and the mere thought of blogging obliges me to groan internally.

So I'll be lying very low, although I'll still be keeping an eye on things - just not allowing myself to pass the expected SM comment on the wild proceedings of one of the country's top industries, the Tefl Trade.

And don't forget to send in for my amusement those pearls of wisdom that pass for management in the UK Tefl scene. I'm going to need a fair bit of cheering up over the coming months!

Hast pronto, comrades!

PS: BTW, I've switched on the moderation facility for the comments. Got to keep that Windsor loony at bay!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Great TEFL Inventions

Sandy McManus is extremely proud to introduce a novel departure on The Tefl Tradesman - a critical look at new developments in the field of pedagogical hardware and technology. To those of my critics (apparently there are some) who feel I am an educational luddite, wholly unqualified to pass comment on any classroom contraption beyond a stick of chalk and the ever-present cat-o-nine-tails, I proudly say 'bollocks!'.

No. 1. The Communicative Chair
This comfortable item of classroom furniture has been designed exclusively with the communicative classroom in mind. Those rubber spikes bend and fold when the occupant first sits down, whilst inside them, the carefully concealed steel pins gradually release themselves on a timer mechanism. After ten short minutes, the occupant is forced to get up and do some pointless mingling activity, ask a spectacularly dumb information-gap type of question, or ask their class colleagues how many times they watch TV, eat ice-cream, and fall over drunk.

These essential items can also be used in the staffroom, to stop teachers from falling asleep, and as a means of preventing the homeless ones from adopting the teachers' room as their downtown residence. These seats are indeed extremely versatile, and no serious language school should be without one - or a couple of dozen.

No. 2. The Tefl Taser
This recent addition to the tools employed by the forces of law and order has now been adapted for use in the classroom, and is gradually replacing the electric cattle prod as a means of ensuring total classroom compliance. When students appear reluctant to participate in the teacher's favourite senseless activities and pointless games, a quick high-voltage blast from the Tefl Taser restores the party atmosphere and keeps them in the mood for more mingling! This most versatile of educational tools can also be used, when turned up to maximum, to incinerate students who cheat in tests or do anything that annoys the teacher. The DOS can also think of other interesting ways of using them too, no doubt!

These two modern tools of classroom management can, when used in tandem, provide the students with a rich learning environment. Can your school seriously do without them?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

'Crap Jobs!' for (erm...) August!

OK, I know this monthly summary of the good, the bad, and the downright fuggin' ugly Tefl salaries on offer is more than a tad late already, but so what? I mean, is there any sane teacher out there who would actually consider applying for one of these dogshit jobs?

Oh, right ... I see.




1-to-1 Teacher

King Street College, London

£20 per hr

Academic Manager

Margate Language Centre

Not Given

Academic Manager

EF, London

Not Given

Academic Manager

London Meridian College

Not Given


Malvern House, London



Berlitz, Manchester



IH, Belfast

£20 - £22k

EAP Teachers

EF, Oxford

Not Given

EFL Teacher

London Empire Academy

£10-15 per hr

EFL Teacher

Inlingua, Manchester

Not Given

EFL Teacher

Belgravia College, London

£10 per hr

EFL Teacher

TTI School, London

Not Given

EFL Teacher

Inlingua, Swansea

Not Given

EFL Teacher

EF, Cambridge

Not Given

EFL Teacher

ELT, London

£12.40 to £15.50 per hr.

EFL Teacher

Inlingua, Cheltenham


EFL Teacher

ABC School, London

£10 per hr

EFL Teacher

London Meridian College


EFL Teacher

King Street College, London

Not Given

EFL Teacher

West London Business College

£11.00 - £14.00 per hour

ESP (Law) Teacher

BBSI, Bournemouth

£19 - £20k

Senior Teacher

Bloomsbury International

Not Given

Senior Teacher

Berlitz, Manchester


TOEFL Teacher

Kaplan Aspect, London

18.69 per hr

Anyway, let's get straight on with dishing out the honours, shall we? I mean, for starters, how many of these esteemed TEFL employers are being a shade too secretive about the attractive salaries they're offering? Ten, it appears. Clearly they're worried about being deluged with applications if they publish their generous rates of pay, so I congratulate them on making the sensible decision to merely whisper 'salary on application', or similar. Cunts.

The other usual suspects are also there, namely BBSI in Dorset, who somehow think that they'll get an experienced legal wizard to work for them for an unbelieveably miserly 19 thousand quid a year. And Berlitz in Manchester - what about them, eh?! Offering a mighty 1500 quid a month for a Senior Teacher position - baah!! Cunts the two of them.

The traditional Sandy McManus 'Golden Fuck-off Award' goes to those providers of EFL tuition who manage to pay ten quid an hour or less, and this month I shall be informing the following schools of their entry (or permanent inclusion) in the McManus Hall of Infamy - the London Empire Academy, the ABC School, London, and the Belgravia Academy, London. You lot are cunts too.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

13 ways to impress your students

I've been very glad to see that there are certain teachers on the TES forums who possess the same caring-sharing attitudes towards their students that I do. The brief excerpt below, containing suitable teacherly responses to the usual student complaint that “This is boring… !!” has been ever so slightly adapted to fit the EFL context. But the sentiments are as true as they have ever been.

"This is boring!!"

1. “Yeah, but not as boring as detention…”
2. “Bored are you? Let me check my ‘bovvered drawer’ (search in drawer) ‘nope, that’s empty” 3. “Good!”
4. “Maybe it is, but it needs to be finished by the end of the lesson so that you can go out to break.”
5. “Then make sure you learn it thoroughly… it’ll be even more boring if you have to revise it for a resit”!
6. “I didn’t realise you like me so much. Four lessons a week isn’t enough for you but hey, if you want to make it five during your lunch break, then I guess there’s not a lot I can do about it, except be flattered”
7. “Nope…..YOU are bored. There’s a difference.”
8. “What is that hideous noise? … Oh, it’s you.”
9. “I’m sure you’re trying to tell me something, but I’m not sure what.”
10. “What has two thumbs and doesn’t give a crap? (gestures at self with both thumbs and smiles!)
11. "... so is listening to you whine, but you're making me do that."
12. "... not as boring as the job you'll end up with if you don't pass."
13. "Get out of my sight you ignorant little pustule. You have the fascination of the texture of a genital wart yourself, so how dare you suggest that my pronouncements on the glorious English language are not engaging and delivered out of a genuine desire to advance the well of human understanding in the community of global communication!?"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Eastbourne School of English

I received a fine piece of 'intelli' the other day regarding another crackpot TEFL outfit, this time on the south coast of England, an area that seems to suffer from a glut of such cranky tinpot businesses. So, step forward and take a bow, please ... the Eastbourne School of English, in particular the apparently litigous Principal, Graham Shite (that's him alongside), who appears to take a peculiarly unpleasant attitude towards his staff and students alike.

This school is an absolute bloody shower, particularly the management. After a Christmas break, one brilliant and exceptionally popular teacher was told he couldn't go back to work because the staff and students didn't like him. When pressed on details, the Principal refused to give any. When politely pressed again, he decided to send a solicitor`s letter to the teacher threatening legal action!

Even worse, one male student who was accused of sexually assaulting a female student was simply passed on to another school, without warning the institution of his background, where he then proceeded to get a 14-year old girl pregnant.

In the same vein, another male student tried it on with a 16 year old girl, who rebuffed him. He then complained to the management. Incredibly, the female student was then told that she had to leave the host family she was sharing with the aforementioned student!

There have also been problems with disabled students (both physically and 'special needs'), who frequently turn up only to find there are no suitable facilities for them.

All of the above problems have stemmed from staggeringly poor management. These shameless and despicable people really need to be held to account!

Actually, I'm really glad that this school has had the spotlight turned on it, albeit somewhat belatedly, as I once did a summer stint there. In fact, it was during that balmy summer of ... ooh, a good while back, that I first met the 'teacher' who was to become ... English Droid!

And the good news is that - he's back! No, not at Eastbourne, which would be a disaster of humungous proportions, as I'm sure you'd agree. No, in fact the stupendously hilarious English Droid blog has somehow reinvented itself, after an extended vacation of a couple of years or more, and made a reappearance here.

Unfortunately I am not the first to discover English Droid's renaissance, and his welcome return has already been widely reported around the TEFL blogosphere. One regular blogger even referred to the English Droid blog as having "more wit and less filth than the TEFL Tradesman" (thanks, Darren!), and the compliment has been duly noted.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The First 'Crap Job!' of the Academic Year!

Oh yes indeedy, I feel that the 'Crap Jobs' category is going to be one of this year's high achievers. Just take a look at this dose of diarrhoea that has issued forth from the pedagogical buttocks of Manchester Metropolitan University.

Not only are they paying woefully inadequate wages for this type of post, which usually attracts at LEAST thirty quid an hour, they are actually paying BELOW THE NATIONAL AVERAGE! Or, in other words, you could earn more by emptying bins or press-ganging motorists into having their windscreens cleaned at traffic lights.

EFL Tutors x 4 Languages - Academic English courses for International Students.
Manchester Metropolitan University
Fixed Term Contract - 2 years from appointment.
Salary: Grade 5: £20,327 - £22,879 per annum.

We are seeking to appoint four full-time EAP tutors on two year fixed-term contracts to teach on our intensive Academic English courses for International Students.
You will have a degree or equivalent in a relevant subject area, a DELTA or equivalent qualification recognised by the British Council and you will be an excellent team-player. A PGCE, Certificate of Education, PGCAP or membership of the Higher Education Academy or similar qualification is desirable.

So, not only do they want a teacher with degree and a DELTA or PGCE, they're looking for some sort of gullible twit who has joined the highly irrelevant 'Higher Education Academy'. And all for less then 2,000 quid a month?! What a SCREAM!!

But one thing, though - notice that there is no mention of any need for teaching or EAP experience in the advert. Clearly, they are not expecting applications from anybody who actually knows what they're doing!

And that's rather strange for a place that likes to promote itself as "The University for World-Class Professionals". Of course, I should have realised - they must have the 3rd world in mind, judging by the salaries they offer.

So, well done MMU. You've really got the 2010-2011 'Crap Jobs!' season off to a flying start!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"Yes, The Truth is an Odd Number, and Death is a Full Stop."

Indeed, I'm extremely sad to have to reveal that last Friday, the 13th of August (typical!), my life-time comrade-in-classroom capers, Dave the dodgy DOS, passed away, his drink-sodden spirit squelching its way heavenward in the late hours of the evening. Those cryptically wise words above were the sole substance of his final utterance, made as he gently lifted the last bottle of Fernet Branca to his quivering lips, before setting out on his pre-booked journey along Jacob's ladder (eh?!).

Actually it was MY bottle of FB he emptied, but let's not be too particular when discussing a man's departure from these mortal lands, eh? And as for the meaning of his ultimate pronouncement - I haven't a fuggin' clue!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

An Early Summer Bath

Shouldn't that be "Early Summer Break"? Well, maybe so, but I've been saving on water these past few years by only taking a bath once in every season. Apparently it's really good for the skin, and the smell doesn't get any worse after the first three or four weeks. You think I'm joking?!

Anyway, fact is that this blog will be dormant for the next couple of months - perhaps even until August - as Sandy departs for colder climes. It all depends how things go at my forthcoming resting place, pictured above. Y'see, my mate bought that pub, complete with stock, and swiftly boarded the place up, so's he could drink himself to death.

Only, the problem is, it's too much for him to drink alone, so he's invited me to stay with him until the booze obligingly shrinks and shrivels his liver and kindly dispatches him skyward. And I think he's also a bit worried about waking up dead one morning and having nobody around to get him buried. Poor fucker!

So, I've been volunteered into being the guy's guardian angel and getting him a proper Christian send-off. Otherwise, if the neighbours are the first to catch the sharp aroma of his lifeless pickled flesh, they'll send in the Social Services loonies - and they'll all drink what's left of his booze, the bastards!

No chances of that, mate - I'll be taking that!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wanted - Chavs to Learn TEFL

So, I guess the inevitable has finally arrived. Any old dosser can become an EFL teacher now, as apparently the criteria for signing up for an EFL teacher-training course have become, in sympathy with the UK salaries, rock bottom. Well done to the UK's unregulated and unprincipled Tefl Trade for bringing us to this current dystopian state of affairs!

I mean, just have a butcher's at the criteria for entry from the latest advert from that paragon of ethical teacher-training, British Study Centres...

Applicants must:

  • be at least 18 (It is generally recommended that candidates should be aged 20 or over, but candidates aged between 18 and 20 can be accepted at the centre’s discretion.)

  • have an awareness of language and a competence in both written and spoken English, which will enable them to undertake the course and prepare for teaching a range of levels

  • have the potential to develop the necessary skills to become effective teachers and to complete successfully the written assignments and the assessment of practice teaching.

So, not only do you not need a degree or higher education diploma of any kind, you don't even need an A-level or two. In fact, there's not a single mention of any academic or school-based qualification at all! Hats off to BSC for really scraping the bottom of the educational barrel here!

And just what do those rather guilty-looking phrases "an awareness of language" and "the potential to develop" really mean? More to the point, what are they trying to hide?

Presumably the first expression refers to the ability to differentiate between a noun and a verb, or is that a shade too demanding of the average 19-year-old scrotebag? Maybe if they can write "r u l8?" in standard English, they can make it on to the course, eh?!

Of course, the old cliche "potential to develop" can be skewed and screwed around to mean anyhing you really like, so it's quite meaningless here. How do they measure this 'potential'? Is it a visible entity, or does it come in the shape of the ability to pay the course fees?

Anyway, I've contacted the two charlatans responsible for press-ganging youngsters onto this course, but I'm still none the wiser yet. I wonder if they have any academic creds to speak of? Perhaps they'll be in touch after the weekend, the poor shameful souls.

Or maybe you'd be interested in having a chat with them? If so, you can contact the craven bastards as per below.

Good luck!!


CELTA in Oxford: Steve Haysham, Head of Teacher Training, British Study Centres School of English, Oxenford House, 13-15 Magdalen Street, Oxford OX1 3AE. Tel: +44 (0) 1865 246620

Trinity in Brighton: Anna Bate, Teacher Trainer, British Study Centres School of English, Fairfax House, 47 Cromwell Road, Brighton & Hove, BN3 3ER. Tel: +44 (0) 1273 731352

UPDATE: BSC have some of the crappiest summer jobs I've seen in a very long time! Look here for some REAL STINKERS - from as little as 190 quid a week!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Summer Schools - Seasonal Bonded Labour

Well, it's that time of the year again - time to slag off summer schools! But actually, as I've done this before (many times!) I think I'll just refer you to my previous scribblings before getting started on some new stuff.

OK, the truth is I'm feeling a bit uninspired for regular blogging these days, but I'm hoping the sight of some of my earlier eager-beaver stuff will get the creative juices flowing. Or maybe I should just crack open a couple of bottles of Old Speckled Hen, and get THOSE creative juices flowing, eh?!

summer school saturnalia [revisited]
May 31, 2009
In my previous posting about the sheer folly of committing yourself to a six-week sentence on a residential summer school, I promised (threatened?) to spill the beans on those other clowns in the equation, your 'professional' EFL ...

uk summer schools - a masochist writes...
May 27, 2009
Well, as the dreadful summer school season is swiftly marching towards us, I thought I'd dig out a few of my old 'dissertations' on the unfortunate subject, and present a sort of thematic approach to the coming few weeks' blogs on the ...

how to double your money at summer school!
Jun 03, 2009
Sincerely now, would you like to know how to make more money from your summer school than your employer intended to pay you? If so, read the piece below, kindly provided by a colleague of mine who has a legal background, and has put his ...

The TEFL Tradesman: Another Peek at TWIN
Jun 19, 2009
Let it serve as an example – one of the worst - of the genre of less-than-ideal summer Tefl employment. And remember - if you willingly sign up for this sort of punishment, you really only have yourself to blame! ...

Anyway, I do hope that's enough to keep you sterling Tefl troops going for a good while. I hope to be back here by the end of the week, insh'allah.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Eddie Yates' Second Career

Things are extremely busy here at the Sandy McManus ranch, and for a whole range of rip-roaring reasons - 50th birthday preparations, getting the cat neutered, preparing the first draft of my Tefl novel - so I make no apologies for recycling one of my favourite postings from about five years ago. For those unfortunate youngsters out there who have no idea who the inimitable Eddie Yates ever was, I refer you to google - and the picture alongside.


I had a bit of an 'incident' with one of the other teachers a few days back. Well, more like a couple of weeks ago, actually, but I've been brooding on it, I suppose. Anyway, it goes a bit like this.

I was asked to cover an afternoon class for a fellow Tefler who had to visit the dentist, and seeing as it would mean a few extra quid in the kitty, I was happy to oblige. A few minutes before the class is due to start, my 'colleague' thrusts a tatty old copy of Hardway Intermediate into my hands, telling me to start unit so-and-so on page whatever. When I ask him for the register, he claims he's lost it.

So, I trundle up to the classroom, start getting to know the students, and we get going. It's a very nice class, quite small and rather chatty, mostly Latin types, including a handful of rather attractive South American girls. We spend a fair deal of time just talking at first, then move on to the prescribed unit, kicking off with a bit of vocabulary to pre-teach, before a reading exercise.

Then I do my usual trick of asking the students to write half a dozen questions about the text. This usually shows that the students still have problems forming the correct structures for making questions in English - either no auxiliary verb, it's in the wrong place, or they put one in when it's not needed.

Cutting a rather long and none-too-exciting story short here, we spend a good deal of time on this, as the students clearly need further instruction and practice on it, and we obviously fail to cover all the work requested by my partner-in-crime. So, having assured myself that they understand at least the concept of the present perfect simple tense (not too difficult for speakers of Latin languages, I feel) I ask them to look at the relevant grammar section at the back of the book, and see if they can get their heads round that grammatical colossus, the present perfect continuous tense. Nothing too heavy, just sort of 'take a look and see what you think'. Then it's the end of class, and we all part on good terms. Money for old rope, really.

Next day, my partner is not a happy chappie. He storms into the staff room after lunch, waving his half-finished rollie cigarette around and accusing me of having deliberately scuppered his finely-tuned lesson plan. "How can they cope alone with the present perfect continuous" he bellows "when they're only Intermediate level?"

Sitting behind a table (actually, it's the only table in our putrid squat-like staffroom), I gaze up at him, and take him in. Dressed like a dustman, with a grubby green t-shirt, baggy black trousers and a tatty flak-jacket on, he looked just like a middle-aged glue-sniffer. It was at this moment that I automatically dubbed him 'Eddie Yates'.

For those of you who don't know, Eddie Yates was a character in Coronation Street back in the 1970s, maybe 1980s too, back when the programme contained a good deal of subtle and sympathetic humour, rather than the current obsession with spite. Eddie worked as a binman, and was a lodger with Stan Ogden, the local window cleaner, and his long-suffering wife Hilda. Together, the three of them made up some of the most humorous working class zeros you could imagine.

Eddie, of course, was as idle as shit and dressed like a tramp; Stan was little better, and boasted a beer-gut the size of a small town. His wife Hilda became a well-loved legend, with her curlers, headscarf, and fag clinging to the corner of her mouth, not to mention that irritating, nagging, Lancashire accent.

So, Eddie it had to be. Not for the humour, mind, but for the attire and the idleness. Of course, I realised that the source of his ire was that he'd hoped I would teach his charges all about the present perfect continuous, thus relieving him of the onerous task. But I hadn't (you see, I focused on the students' needs - teach the students, not the materials, kidder!), and he'd wandered into the class, probably still half under the influence of the dentist's anaesthetic, and found himself in deepest do-do territory.

"It's called discovery learning" I shouted at him as he scuttled out of the staff room, in preparation for another rollie outside at the staff cancer table. Ten minutes later he wandered back in. "It's OK now" he gasped, "I've calmed down". As if that made everything all right.

There then followed a brief discussion, in which I tried to outline some of the principles, as best I could recall, of the idea of 'discovery learning'. Lovingly referred to in some quarters as 'fuck-off-and-find-out', it does actually have some pedagogical pedigree about it.

But Eddie was having none of it. His ignorance was obviously greater then my illumination. "But they're only Intermediates" he kept chuffing, like a steam train stuck on a loop line.

You see, that's what I really love about this job - working with such enlightened and professional people. Dress like a slob, speak like a slob, and think like one too.

Eddie Yates, welcome to your second career!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sandy McManus - Exposed At Last!

I guess a lot of you out there have missed out on this latest revelation, but I have apparently been outed as ... Philip Kerr! No, I don't mean the Philip Kerr from Scotland who writes intriguing novels, I mean the English one who writes EFL books. Yes, that's him in the piccy alongside - not a scrap as handsome as the real article, I can tell you!

Anyway, I'll have you all know that I take this misunderstanding as a serious affront to my writing skills and general integrity. I mean, comparing the multi-talented blogger Sandy McManus with a mere scribbler of Tefl tat - oh, come on, fer chrissake!

If you still don't have a clue what I'm on about, which is entirely understandable, may I refer you to my Windsor Swindler blog, where the object of my attentions, the odious convicted fraudster and Tefl pariah Paul Lowe, believes he has unearthed the truth behind my identity. That's right - he thinks I'm Philip Kerr, and that PK is just me without the unkempt facial hair.

If you look at this particular blog posting from last month, which highlights Paul Lowe's aggressive attempts to rejoin the Tefl fraternity by his usual means of bullying and threatening the wrath of a lawyer or two, you'll notice that it has attracted almost 150 comments to date - must be some sort of record, no?

Anyway, you'll probably also notice that most of these comments come from the supremely troubled mind of Mr Lowe himself, in the name of 'the tefl enquirer'. A lot of his comments are also posted anonymously, which probably reflects his bipolar mental and emotional state, but the 'defecatory' style of writing is immediately recognisable as belonging to the Berkshire Bullshitter alone.

Coming abruptly to the point, he firmly believes that he has unfrocked the unfortunate Mr Kerr as the driving force behind Sandy McManus. Yes, I kid thee not, matey. Have a look at this, for an example...

Anonymous said... the brussels sprout and the family of vegetables!!!!‏

From: sandy mcmanus (

Sent: 22 April 2010 10:27:11


the brussels sprout and the family of vegetables!!!! guess what we're having for dinner???? heeeeeeeeeeheeeeeeeee
PHILIP KERR seems remarkably quiet these days but... wait what is this ????? his magnificent legal teams all clad in the real true truthful armour of shining true truth have begun massing at the borders of truthland in the county to TRUTHSHIRE and now we can see their shining swords of truth-ness and truth badges all shouting about the TRUTH today tomorrow and the next day and.....

And there's lots more of the same verbal equivalent of a retarded pensioner dribbling into his cold soup. All in all, it makes for very sad reading indeed.

In fact, this entire 'incident', if I can call it that, has finally made me realise what others have been telling me for years - that Paul Lowe has serious mental and emotional problems. I mean, I do remember that during his trail for fraud last year his lawyer entered a plea of mitigation, referring to his client's 'depersonalisation disorder', but it didn't register with me - in fact, I thought it was just another attempt by the Swindler to avoid the grasp of justice.

Now, however, I do understand that he is a seriously sick man, one who deserves our sympathy rather than our enmity. I mean, who else but a mentally disturbed person would seriously claim to be "a brilliant man with an unmistakable mark of genius upon him", or would claim for himself "sheer class, sheer verve and wit and balls enough to go for it", not to mention believing himself to be one of "those ... who are set apart by class, education and innate intellect".

And if you still don't believe me, try this ...

This is a letter to all of those in the TEFL and EFL Industry who will, no doubt, have been dimly aware of a foul smell from one quarter of the industry for a very long time now-

the man making the smell poses as "sandy MacManus" a disaffected teacher and vox popular (he imagines) of the tefl world

we have very good intelligence now that this man is none other than Philip KERR, a minor figure in EFL/TEFL already and someone you may not, even his wife and children, mother and father, may not have associated with these acts of poison sociopathological obsession-

Philip KERR has been spreading his caustic and often obscene messages across various media and it is now time to expose him to the industry and beyond

we wait to hear what he is intending to say on the matter (maybe he will employ a lawyer to scare us off!) .... we will keep you posted.

Indeed, I shall certainly keep you posted on this matter. However, more importantly, as a result of my tardy recognition of PK's warped emotional and mental condition, I shall be discontinuing the Windsor Swindler blog very soon. I mean, although it may be a noble thing to publicly hassle a convicted liar, cheat and general Tefl pariah, it's extremely unedifying to find oneself guilty of hounding a person who has serious mental issues to cope with. Therefore the plug will be pulled on the blog at the end of this month.

Anyway, it's not as if there isn't enough information available on the web about the Berkshire Bully's illegal and unethical ways. Just google 'Paul Lowe' or 'Windsor English' and you'll see what I mean.

So bye-bye Paul ... it's been a long and complicated relationship, ours has, and ultimately I just feel sorry for you - but not half as sorry as I feel for your victims. May you rot in Hell.

SM (not PK)

Friday, April 16, 2010

TEFL Mythodology #3 - The Sexical Approach

The Sexical Approach is popularly believed to be a cunning method for both teaching foreign languages and seducing students, and was developed by an unemployed EFL teacher called Michael Lewdis in the 1990s. This technique has enjoyed great popularity in EFL schools all over the world, and was thought to have been responsible for the large increase in sexually-transmitted diseases that swamped Europe in the later years of the decade.

The basic concept on which this approach rests is the idea that EFL teachers enjoy shagging more than teaching, so if the latter can be exploited as a route to the former, all will be well in the classroom. Therefore, in the Sexical Approach, instruction focuses on carefully chosen fixed expressions that occur frequently in dialogues, and which Lewdis claims often result in a legover. The teaching of chunks and set phrases are therefore cunningly skewed to be able to reflect a sexual agenda, and then become common in the student's English, resulting in frequent sexual encounters for EFL teachers, both male and female.

In his review of the approach, Dieter Kranz wrote "The Sexical Approach can be summarized in a few words: bunk-ups and blow-jobs. The language consists not merely of traditional grammar and vocabulary, but often of multi-word prefabricated chunks that can be employed in a wide range of sexual situations." For example, the simple question 'Where is your toilet?' can be given a sexual purpose, especially if the speaker wishes to 'clean up' after a steamy session on the couch. Equally, the word 'toilet' can be replaced with 'bedroom' or 'condom', and a whole range of legover opportunities arise for the fortunate EFL teacher.

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 13 - 'Kiss an Israeli' Day!

That's right! Sandy McManus goes all agitprop and token political gestures with an anti-Israeli rant.

Actually, I don't need to rant. Just look at the facts, especially concerning the horrors of everyday life in occupied Palestine, from these extremely enlightening websites...

If you're still not motivated to rush out and shag a Zionist imperialist with a long beard and a funny hat, just bear in mind the following comparisons...
  • Israel and South Africa (apartheid regimes)
  • Israel and Nazi Germany ('lebensraum' - West Bank - to the East for the 'Master Race')
  • Israel and America (colonialism that eradicates native cultures and people)

Yes, spare a thought for the dispossessed Palestinians, who are losing their land on a daily basis and being treated like third class citizens in their own country. Well done to Israel and their government of colonising religious fascists!

And give some thought to the good old US of A, those champions of democracy who prop up an occupying military power (the second largest army in the world!) and its apartheid regime to the tune of tens of billions of dollars per year in aid and preferential trade agreements. Without them, Israel would be ... well, just a small country led by a regime of ethnic-cleansing bigots and murderers.

You can read all about it here:

Or you just might prefer not to think about it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sandy's Alternative Guide to EFL Conference Protocol

Go on - admit it. You went, didn't you. And it was twice as dreadful as they told you it would be - wasn't it! Well, you've only got yourself to blame, intcha, eh? Next time, pay attention to Sandy, right...?

So what in Judge Dread's name am I waffling about this time? Well, that Tefl conference that took place recently in Harrogate - yes, fuggin' Harrogate, of all places! I mean, if I could think of a place that conjures up visions of premature death through chronic boredom, it just has to be Harrogate. I bet even the old biddies snort crack up there, the place is so dull.

Anyway, just so that you don't get caught out again next year, here's Sandy's Alternative Guide to Tefl Conferences. Even if you do get the short straw next time, following this advice will entail your being remembered as a true Tefl hero and odd-ball for a good while - or at least until the next conference, anyway. More importantly, I can guarantee that you'll NEVER be sent to attend an EFL conference again, unless your employer wants his humble language school to suffer the same sort of very public shaming and professional humiliation twice.

First and foremost is the dress code. Never EVER attend in a suit or even dressed in smart-casual mode, as this will announce to all the Tefl world that you are but another saddo who couldn't get a job in management at Tesco's and chose the tacky Tefl path instead. And anoraks don't really belong to the 21st century, do they, so that option's out too. Fancy dress, as in the piccy above, could be an option, but you might be thought of as a mere eccentric, rather then the weirdo that you truly are.

No, you need to think 'MAXIMUM IMPACT', which typically involves having large amounts of nose-rings on show, cheesy henna tattooes on your arms, and plenty of spotty flesh on display. Nipple piercings are an option, but best left for the post conference bash at the pub, when you do your Lisa Minelli impressions on the pool table. Of course, the sort of attire that accompanies these shenanigans is the loose-fitting beach variety, so stock up on flip-flops and speedo shorts, with one of those luminous singlets with the number 69 on it in broad type. There, you look like a true Tefl conference hero now!

But clothes alone do not the Tefler make, so it's important to adopt the required behavioural patterns of the determined conference clone - right?! I mean, you want to be absolutely sure of making the desired impression, so make sure that you always sit right at the very front of every session that you attend. Smile inanely like some old duffer on medication, wink knowingly at the presenter, just to make her/him feel extra nervous, and scratch your nether regions frequently.

Then, in order to cause maximum discomfort and annoyance to each speaker, laugh at the wrong moments, especially the most inappropriate ones. If you feel your attention slipping, start playing with the ring-tones on your phone, at full volume of course, and then stand up and apologise profusely and loudly to everybody present. Sit down with a loud fart, and then stand up and apologise again. Then sit down again slowly and start fishing in your bag for a sandwich or a sausage roll - which you naturally offer to your neighbour first. Pick out your toe-jam with a tooth-pick, and flick the stick at the presenter, just to show your appreciation.

Interrupting and asking stupid questions will make it very clear that you haven't understood a single word of the presenter's codswallop, and will annoy your fellow Teflers immensely. Feel the ripples of discomfort pulsate with agonising predictability as you butt in with "But didn't Krashen write Headway?" or "Yeah, that Vygotsky guy - didn't he give a presentation here last year?".

Another important thing to bear in mind is that food is often supplied free at some stage of the conference, so make sure you bring enough doggy-bags with you. Even if the grub is not free of charge, just lurch up to unsuspecting diners and shout "Are you gonna eat that last little sausage?" while waving your grubby little doggy bag at them. You'll be surprised at the responses you get, I can assure you.

When you get back to your school and go through the tiresome rigmarole of a 'cascade session' with your colleagues - the lucky ones who didn't get forced to go - create a presentation to remember. Show them your colourful and carefully correlated pie-charts full of simplified regression analysis relating to the number of 'erm' and 'um' utterances you heard. They'll be truly impressed - especially your boss.

I kid you not - you'll NEVER get asked (or told) to attend another Tefl conference in your life. And that just HAS to be good news, eh!?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Rods of Destiny

Look, I know I've been keeping very quiet about this for several years now, but I feel the time is ripe for an outing - and I don't mean a day-trip to Margate. You see, it happened quite by chance, after I dropped a few of them on the floor when I was working at the London School of English many years back, and since then I've been hooked on it. I mean, I made a prediction at the time, and it came true!

So what am I on ... about? Why, the rods, of course, the rods! I've been predicting the future with the aid of my trusty cuisenaire rods for a good ten years now, and I have to 'fess up that I'm a convinced (but perhaps not convincing) Cuisenairomancer. And that's nothing to do with shagging in the kitchen, by the way.

In fact, although the noble art of Cuisenairomancy is not recognised by the NHS (or anybody else), I firmly believe that every teacher who has a few of these magic rods in his/her box of tricks possesses the ability to divine the future. Let me give you an example or two, and see if you're with me or not, eh?

Firstly, it's important to use just seven long rods, and take them out of the bag one by one, as you softly intone a Nepalese mantra. The pale colours should emerge first - yellow, light green - leading up to the darker ones, such as dark red, blue, and black. Place them gently and randomly on the desk in front of you, then stand up and turn round twice.

Are all the rods in the same place? They should be! Have you fallen over? If so, you're probably pissed or still hung over, and the whole exercise will be futile. Go back to bed and try again tomorrow.

Now, take all of the rods in your left hand and throw them gently into the air. Remember to stop singing the mantra and keep your mouth closed as you do this, otherwise the consequences could be fatal. As the rods lie resting on the floor, recite the names of Liverpool's greatest goalscorers. Close your eyes and inhale deeply for one minute exactly.

Now, the position the rods have assumed upon landing on the floor is the most important thing in the art of Cuisenairomancy, so pay careful attention to the following details. Get this wrong and you might be assigning yourself a place in hell, or end up committing yourself to a British Council contract in North Korea for two years.

Closely study the patterns that the rods have made on the floor. Two dark rods pointing away from you mean that you will have to work hard for anything useful in your life - but as an EFL teacher you probably know that already. If you can decipher the shape of the number four made by any of the rods, that means trouble at the workplace - so you might want to go and pick a fight with the DoS, just to gain the advantage of surprise.

However, the most important sign is an unbroken circle or square (OK, perhaps even a triangle). If the rods make such a shape or pattern on the floor, you can make a prediction - which will definitely come true! This is what happened to me that fateful day at the LSE back in 1999, and I correctly predicted that I would get the sack by the end of the week. Amazing!

To date I have also predicted England beating Germany 5-1 away, the winners of the past three Grand Nationals, and Alex Case getting married. Of course, there have been a few 'near-misses', too, notably my prediction that I would be chosen to represent the Science Fiction Loony Party in the last UK elections. Unfortunately, I was arrested for thieving a couple of Robert Rankin books instead, and was doing a small spot of porridge at the time the rest of the nation were choosing their political masters. But the odd bum prediction should be seen as casting no shadow over the entire science of Cuisenairomancy, I believe.

Of course, it takes a good while to understand every secret message behind the manifold permutations of the seven magic rods, but have no fear; my book "Cuisenairomancy for Teflers" will be appearing soon, and the discerning EFL teacher can add these rare and exotic skills to his/her ever-expanding range of off-the-wall teaching techniques and quirky classroom tricks.

As for my forthcoming predictions, let me see ... Yes, Scott Thornbury will marry Pete Sharma, and Brighton and Hove Albion will avoid relegation. There will also be a severe earthquake in Harrogate during next month's IATEFL conference, and every Tefl guru you can name will be swept out to sea in the ensuing tsunami.

Don't believe me? Just come back here in a year's time, and we'll see who's got it right or not, mate!

PS: If you don't have any rods at hand, frozen chipolatas might just do the trick instead.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Congratulations to Language Solutions - Cunt Employer of the Year!

I must say that this one truly beggars belief - almost had me gagging in contempt, in fact. Just imagine this: your wife, who is living in a foreign country, suddenly dies, so you request a few days of compassionate leave to do the funeral arrangements. On top of that, you need to consider just how you will cope looking after your four now motherless children.

Upon your return to work, after a mere three days of leave, you are dismissed - without reason. Even worse, you are told to leave the country as soon as possible, despite having done nothing wrong, but merely to please the whim of a manager.

Sounds impossible? Well, step forward - Language Solutions UK! I'm sure that the company's director, Mark Trier, will be feeling extremely proud of himself today, having achieved the "Cunt Employer of the Year" accolade by the end of March!

So well done, Language Solutions - you really deserve it! Illegal and immoral dismissal in the same blow!!

Here's a letter from the dismissed employee in question, in which he outlines the facts and puts his case. But Mr Trier's ears are firmly closed; his eyes are wide open, though - he can only see those dollar signs!


Dear Sirs,

I am writing to bring to light an issue of employment law with regards the termination of the contract of Mr ABC, a technical English Trainer at BP's CTTC, Sangachal, Azerbaijan - managed by TTE/Petrofac for BP Plc.

I was working for Professional Language Solutions (PLS), based in London and recruited by their office in London on a 1 year contract from May 6th 2009 to May 6th 2010 in CTTC, Sangachal.

My contract was terminated verbally on 26th Feb by the ELS (PLS - Azerbaijan company name) manager Chris Owen after 3 days sick leave. I was told only that my line manager (Irada Sulyanova - TTE senior trainer) wanted me out and that she had cited 'lack of continuity'. I was given no verbal or written warning and no written termination and asked to leave the country asap. I was forced to leave on 6th March.

I am aware that LS want their contract renewed for another 5 years and the tender is now due.

To clarify the reason for my sick leave, my wife died on the night of the 23rd Feb and I had 3 days off compassionate leave to make arrangements and to help our children cope. I informed my line manager immediately as per proceedings and was told it was OK to take the leave. I was asked to come into work on the Friday evening and then informed I was not to return to CTTC. I was not allowed to appeal the decision or even return to discuss the matter with managers.

I was devastated at the loss of my wife, let alone being treated like that and when I discussed this issue privately with trainees and trainers at CTTC, I was informed that they had been told I had resigned. So misleading statements were being perpetuated by senior managers at CTTC as it was not true that I had resigned. Again, a flagrant breach of BP standards which the BP trainees are now aware of and very disillusioned by.

I emailed Mark Trier of PLS to honour my contract as I had done nothing wrong but I was told that TTE wanted me out and they would only give me 1 month's notice. I have since sent another email again asking for the money due to me on 11th March - giving 5 days to respond prior to further action - and have had no response to date.

I have now reported the case to BIS who are responsible for enforcing the UK Employment Agencies Act 1973 as well as ACAS. My contract states that I must be given suitable warnings in line with UK law - this was ignored. To date I have not been notified in writing of my dismissal as per my contract.

I would like a full explanation and reason for my termination as well as full compensation of my contract to the end and compensation for loss of earnings, travel, accommodation and more than anything the stress associated with the loss of my job after losing my wife. I am now in the UK with nowhere to live and jobless.

I have no direct issue with BP here as I know they were not informed, however, it is not satisfactory that BP allows their main contractors to act in such a manner not conforming with their international standards and UK employment laws and therefore damaging their reputation.
Please confirm receipt and I would be grateful for a response within 5 working days before I proceed with the case.

Kind regards

Anyway, here's a picture of the chief cunt in question, Mark Trier. Perhaps you'd like to e-mail him on and send him your heartiest congratulations?

NB: More on this case later. SM