Some clips of Flight of the Conchords. "Business Time" and "Jenny" are partcularly great. Two very talented and funny Kiwis!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Anderson House, Bergamo, Italy

The scene is set the stage is lit and the pantomime begins. Enter onstage the villain Peter Frederick Anderson (P.F.A) a language school owner and a very unpleasant man according to the script.

As I went looking for my (by now very dirty) spade in the toolshed I started humming that tune from the film "The Italian Job" (you know the original great one not the useless sequel) what was it called...............? Oh yes! "The Self Preservation Society". What a great soundtrack if The Anderson House pantomime ever made it to the big screen.

These days the Inspector gets the distinct impression that The TEFL Blacklist is a Blacklist Preservation Society as so many threads are pulled from so many sites he has to save them for his discerning readers to view. Bring back good old fashioned shredding, as at least you knew where you stood.

Anyway I digress. Back to the panto........

I could point you to the links but as they will probably be made to disappear I cordially invite you to sit back, open up a bottle of fermented Yak's milk, belch freely and read what this very naughty language school owner has got up to recently . I'll just cut and paste the various allegations

(exit from stage, The extremely dashing, Inspector Mchammered of the Lard bellowing "betcha he did it")

The Plot

Posted on Saint Dave's. Last year there were financial problems at Anderson House. As a result, promised bonuses were apparently not paid to some staff (others did receive theirs). The problem, which, let's face it, is not unique was quite poorly handled by the owner. He insulted some teachers, apparently threatened others, and generally pissed most teachers off by several mindlessly vindictive acts (for example - telling one teacher he would be evaluated in the last week of his contract - then not showing up for the evaluation (twice)!). There was talk of legal action by some teachers at the end of the term. One other senior staff member (non-instructional) quit abruptly. The Director of Studies supposedly found out he was being released when someone pointed out an ad for his job on the internet.
For this year, contracts have been changed (lower salaries; bonuses based on the school's financial situation, etc.) so that a similar situation will presumably be avoided. But for several of those who worked at Anderson House last year, there is a justifiable residue of bitterness.

The Final Act

We have reached the limit of the overdraft allowance, we haven't paid the tax for June and July. Sorry, I'm not joking: we really are broke.
Da: Nick Bailey []
Inviato: mercoledì 2 agosto 2006 2.53
Oggetto: "I want my baby to be remembered" - as what?

Dear Peter,

It would be a shame for AH if your clients learn about the way your employees feel about you breaking your contract with them. I don't believe that you have insufficient funds to pay us the money that you are legally binded to pay us - and even if you do, the overdraft allowance for a s.r.l. would provide you with more than enough capital for you to meet your financial commitments to us.

Lets not make this messy,


Hi xxx,

How are you? I hope all's well.

Please forward this to your classmates as I don't have their email addresses, as well as your superiors. This link reflects the views of the teachers at Anderson House this year and I feel that the clients of the organisation I represented should understand our views.

Good luck with everything,


(Note by The Inspector. Don't waste your time trying to find that link. Saint Dave, the Directors' Darling pulled it. I bet his mum used to spank him for breaking his toys)

Bergamo House – Staff appraisals form by disgruntled

Bergamo House – Staff appraisals form

We would appreciate your comments regarding your experiences working with us this year. If you could please take the time to complete the following questionnaire it may aid us in providing a more pleasurable experience for our future “project workers”, as strangely very few of you seem to be interested in continuing on with us at Bergamo House.

Paying attention to the needs of our employees may have the previously unforeseen consequence of our “project workers” providing a more satisfactory service to our clients which, in turn, could well allow us to proceed with our primary objective - the expansion of The Empire;

1. Do you think that P.F.A. will actually take the time to read this?
a) Yes
b) NO
c) It depends on whether he’s taken his pills.
d) It depends on which pills he’s taken.

2. Should P.F.A. actually take the time to read this, do you think he will…

a) try to act upon the feedback he has been provided with.
b) consider himself far too superior to accept the advice of others and dismiss it accordingly.
c) try to think of another object on which to attach his name (cars – done!, bins – done! Sign in the toilet – done!)

3. Should P.F.A. actually try to act upon the feedback he has been provided with, do you think he will…

a) endeavour to provide his ‘project workers’ with improved working conditions.
b) rant to himself quietly because he really has no idea how to do his job.
c) take another pill.

4. How would you describe P.F.A.’s rapport with you and your fellow “project workers”?

a) Warm, friendly and full of concern about your daily lives.
b) He couldn’t give a shit ‘cos The Empire is more important.
c) It depends on whether he’s taken his pills.
d) It depends on which pills he’s taken.

5. How have you enjoyed your time at Bergamo House?

a) It’s the best TEFL job I’ve had!
b) Fucking awful!
c) It depends on whether he’d taken his pills.
d) It depends on which pills he’d taken.

6. How many “project workers” have resigned from Bergamo House as a result of P.F.A. not listening to their concerns?

a) None
b) At least one a month
c) Can’t remember ‘cos I’ve started taking pills too!

7. Would you ask P.F.A. for a letter of reference?

a) Of course, he’s a model character whose opinion I respect more than my mother’s.
b) WHAT?
c) It depends on whether he’s taken his pills.
d) It depends on which pills he’s taken.

8. Imagine P.F.A. offered you a contract that paid €5000 a month for 20 contact hours a week, would you accept it?

a) Of course, the man has honour and I’d love to work for him again!
b) Yeah right! If I’d wanted to earn big cash by working for a crook, then I’d be working as a lawyer for Shell with much less stress.
c) I’d ask his doctor if he’d changed his pills and how long he was going to be on them for.

9. How much attention and forethought do you think goes into providing the “project workers” with a comfortable timetable?

a) My timetable has been perfect – no complaints at all.
b) About as much as when I played ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ for the first time at my fifth birthday party.
c) It depends on how high I was on P.F.A.’s list of most hated “project workers”.

Thank you for taking the time to read this questionnaire. However, as you anticipated in your answers to questions (1) and (2) we really don’t give a toss about your welfare and will continue to act like the wankers we are until we really do go bankrupt.

Da: Nick Bailey []
Inviato: lunedì 17 luglio 2006 13.29

Dear Peter,

I am writing to you further to receiving my payment following the end of my contract with Bergamo House. I would like to thank you for the prompt transfer of my salary for June 2006. However, I have not yet received the bonus for completion of my contract. The criteria for eligibility for this bonus is stated very clearly in the contract i.e.

13.1 Upon fulfilment and completion of the contract (February 1st, 2006 to June 30th, 2006) the teacher will receive a bonus of maximum €400,00 should the following conditions below be fulfilled:

€100,00 for punctuality and not one single complaint for being late. If the delay is caused by circumstances beyond the control of the teacher, it will not be considered.

€100,00 for absolute adherence to the dress code (see Appendix 1).

€100,00 for impeccable register keeping and admin work.

€100,00 for not having missed one single working day voluntarily, that is, not showing up or not finding appropriate cover for lessons in case of absence.

For these conditions to be fulfilled, the teacher should have zero non-conformity forms regarding the above descriptions.

I acknowledge the fact that I received non-conformity forms regarding my admin work as well as the occasion when I overslept, though please note that I was working a timetable which did not provide me with the 11 hours rest between finishing work and starting again the following day which is required by European law. However, I did not receive any non-conformity forms regarding my dress code or my punctuality and therefore should qualify for the €100 bonus for these two conditions.

I have appreciated your fairness and support throughout my period of employment and trust that you will be able to help me resolve this issue.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Bailey

(entrance on stage, that old TEFL tease, Inspector Mchammered of the Lard muttering incoherently to himself - after having unwisely drunk a litre of ferneted Yak's milk - "string the bugger up!")

Inspector McHammered of the Lard

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting to see all the collected comments regarding Anderson House. I worked there back in 2003, in my TEFL days, and it seems Peter's treatment of staff has not got any better. I lasted 4 months (thankfully illness took me home!), but I was among 4 teachers and the DOS who left within the space of a month.

Horrendous timetabling - I'd get home at 10.30pm (having hardly eaten all day - no time!) and had to drive out to a company first thing next morning. This included Saturday's, or calls on Saturday's when Peter couldn't be bothered teaching.

Every teacher that worked with me was picked up by Peter from some lessons and very often he'd stop the car at the side of the road to tell you your lessons weren't up to par (my students loved my classes!) and that we were easy to replace so we didn't matter! Doesn't really build a great atmosphere when all around you teachers are being threatened with the sack!

He's painted this image of himself as the perfect English gent in Bergamo, but it couldn't be further from the truth. He suffers severely from "small man syndrome" and I don't know how the long suffering Antonella puts up with him!

My former students all told me that attending Anderson House was very expensive, there always seemed to be plenty of students, so I can't imagine he'd be verging on bankruptcy.

As I mentioned before, I left due to illness and they wouldn't even pay my Ryanair flight home - that's how much respect they have for you!

It was my first and last TEFL job - never again!