I'm extremely happy to dish the proverbial dirt on another typical Tefl toerag who serves to drives down standards in our wonderful industry. If you ever have the misfortune to meet this specimen, don’t trust him as, according to the correspondence below, he is an accomplished liar and bullshitter.
The man’s name is Ralph Connor, and his dodgy Tefl operation goes under the name of the Living Language Tree (http://www.livinglanguagetree.com/).
He describes it as a “training organisation”, but in truth he is a solo
operator who hires either his drinking partners or newly qualified TEFL
teachers with no experience. Worse, he continues to hire people
entirely without teaching qualifications to teach classes of teenagers
ranging from 12 to 15 years old. He is unable to work with children in
the UK, due to his previous conviction for drug offences. He has also
hired teachers who have drug convictions and who are forbidden from
teaching in the UK. His stable of teachers is very small and consists
largely of his dubious “mates”.
His website is a master
class in bullshit and spurious claims. He claims to represent a
“community of experts”, and offers services like “specialist research”
and “teacher training and voice coaching”. However, he is not qualified
as a teacher trainer or a voice coach, and his only research tool is
Wikipedia. He is not a specialist in any subject except the brewing
He is hired to run English courses by a
number of schools in Austria for children aged 12 to 16. These schools
are in Klagenfurt (Bundesreal Gymnasium, Klagenfurt-Viktring, 9073
Klagenfurt-Viktring), Linz (BG/WRG Gymnasium, Kornerstrasse Linz) and
Baden. You can find an example of his achievements with Austrian
has employed some very dubious individuals who have no TEFL
qualifications at all. For instance, his website states that he provides
filmmaking course, which is combined with TEFL instruction. When asked
about this course and whom he had in mind as a teacher, Mr Connor
confessed that the man he had in mind was a fellow drinking partner.
When questioned further (he was quite drunk at that time, which is
probably why it was so easy to extract these confessional details), he
admitted that this
drinking buddy had no TEFL qualifications. He said that he enjoyed
him simply because “He’s got no qualifications. He likes a drink and he
big personality.” Some of the inexperienced teachers he hires also feel
into going out drinking with him. He creates the impression that this is
expected of them, and they feel he will not hire them again if they
Of course, being an alcoholic himself, Ralph
Connor prefers to hire those who enjoy drinking. This is no surprise, as
those who have had the misfortune of working for him will have seen him
begin his drinking at 2pm and carry on until 5.30am on a school night.
He will then proceed onwards to school reeking of alcohol and sleepwalk
through the day until he can resume his binge. Those Teflers who are not
similarly inclined will be swiftly dropped from his books. At least
they can say that
they have had close experience one of the hairier corners of the TEFL
He also purports to offer teacher training. This
would be laughable, given such a delusional claim, if it wasn’t so
infuriating and aggravating, because it is individuals such as Mr Ralph
Connor who are responsible for driving down standards in the TEFL
industry. Mr Connor does not have a DELTA, CELTA or a PGCE to back up
such a claim.
English in Action (www.englishinaction.com)
employed him for a number of years. He left their employ for reasons
unknown, and his version of the matter changes depending on his
audience. The head of English in the school in Linz later revealed that
Mr Connor offered to undercut EIA and that is how he founded his
business. He poached his clients from EIA. I understand that EIA are
still very unhappy with him over this.
we go then. Does anybody else have experience of working with this most
charming and talented Tefl leech, Mr Ralph Connor?
UPDATE: Mr Connor was convicted of drugs offences (possession and supply) in South Wales in 1999, according to a certain Cambrian newspaper. Moreover, his only teaching qualification is a Tefl certificate that he did by the grace of the Cheltenham dole office.