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

Flight of the Conchords


Friday, March 07, 2008

Richard Bradford TEFL?

This comment was left by a Mr. Anonymous on the "Who Killed Sandy McManus" post. What The Inspector finds most interesting is not the content so much as who could have been the author. There are quite a few clues, in fact to work out what sort of person might have written it, in fact it's a bit like Cluedo. Who dunnit? Was it Colonel Mustard with a revolver in the Billiard Room. Before you read it here are the following pointers:

  • The author works in EFL
  • The author is 37/38 years old
  • The author first started working as an EFL teacher in 1994
  • The author is probably British as EFL rather than ESL is used to describe the profession.
  • The author left teaching in 2002
  • His last post paid £1000 a month so certain countries can be eliminated
  • He now clearly is rather full of himself
  • He looks down on EFL teachers now
  • He has a highly paid job and is either senior management or owner of a business
  • The business is not a language school
  • The author probably has poor people management skills. Arrogance does not make for a good working atmosphere in any business.

Well assuming that there are no red herrings in the comments I would guess that there are enough clues to have a pretty good guess as to who might be the author. Richard Bradford of Cactus TEFL would be a possibility but he doesn't own Cactus as far as The Inspector knows and the author has apparently started his own business. Cactus as agents don't actually run a language school but take a commission as agents for TEFL courses/English homestays/language courses they sell.

He/she is probably an agent in EFL hence the comment about wanting to take on someone with a salary of £40,000 and involving a fair bit of admin and some travelling.

Whoever you are Mr/Ms Anonymous thanks for the posting. What an insight into the mindset of an EFL agent!

Any other guesses as to who it might be? Anyway here it is ........................

"I used to find such comments on low wages tiresome but now they just amuse me.

I remember I instigated a bonus scheme to help people realise that if they did what only what they were contractually obliged to do, they could earn a little more. As I could have predicted when you give staff more for them doing what they have always done they become less happy. Why? Well, I’ll let you work that one out. In one instance of a teacher who was always late, got miffed because he didn’t get any bonus for the punctuality element. Can you believe it!

See if you can disagree with any of this

Most people who enter efl are young graduates who have very little ambition or skills and don’t have any prospect of a good career in the UK commensurate with their perceived value as a graduate so gain a cert to go and live abroad for a while. It has been a truism for at least two hundred years that if you can’t make it in the home country you go abroad. They go abroad and work for low wages which they don’t really care about as it seems like an extended holiday and are glad to have the chance to survive in a foreign country/culture. They are now qualified (long expensive training gives them a professional status as an efl teacher – well 4 weeks and £800).

They return for summer school work for a few years and then they start to think they are not really getting anywhere so they’ll return to the UK to make some real money commensurate with their value as a professional, qualified, experienced graduate.

Of course permanent posts are quite rare and almost all are poorly paid. Why is that? Because every year there are more and more “qualified teachers” (remember that long and expensive professional training?). For supposed graduates the fact that almost all of them have no grasp of the basic laws of supply and demand says something doesn’t it.

Remember however that the longer one stays in this business as a teacher the more entrenched in a losing mindset you will become. Hey presto the only outlet is to complain about how other people don’t give you things (higher wages) which are your birthright as a professional, qualified, experienced graduate. So wearying, so sad.

That is not to say there aren’t some nice people in the business but the overwhelming majority are those who have abjectly failed in their other chosen pursuit (usually artistic) and are complete losers in every way, boring, lazy and lacking ambition.

I think the apotheosis of this type is Sandy Mcmanus. If I didn’t have better things to do I would start a website to name and shame all the useless twats I have had to deal with, but why bother? It won’t improve my life. What will such people ever understand about working for six months, 15 hours a day, 7 days a week for no money at all, and you have had to remortgage to pay wages to the sort of “professionals” who walk off the job, and worse.

I’ve met hundreds of these types. Indeed I was one myself. Although I don’t remember complaining about how other people didn’t give me more money. My first efl job at the age of 26 paid £60 per week. That was in 1994. I have been in EFL since then and worked hard. Pay attention to that last sentence. My last job as a teacher in 2002 paid £1000 in a good week. In 2005 I earned £77,000. I once had a school but left that business as having to deal with all the criminals, shysters and useless teachers stressed me out too much. Still in EFL but do not own a language school (thank God). How much do I earn now? about £11,000 per month. If my financial predictions pan out in about 15 months it should be about £66,000 per month.

I can hear the gasps of disbelief. Funny thing is, it isn’t that much. Loads of people in the City earn these sorts of figures. “Why, How?” Oh how I wish the Guardian would teach readers the basics of supply and demand, even a short article on working hard instead of waiting for handouts would be helpful

In case any of you think this is a silly boast, think again. Apart from the fact none of you know me, nor are you ever likely to, money in fact means very little. Making it is just a game. And no, I’m not going to tell you how. Just like wisdom, all the answers are out there, you’ve just got to work it out for yourself. Unfortunately very few of you will. I can guarantee that anyone who complains about how other people won’t give them something for free is unlikely ever to learn anything, which will ever help them get out of such a situation. The essence of success (if that is what you choose to call it, btw why are you all so avaricious?) is to work out how to give more to people while they give you less. Ok, I’m sure many of you didn’t know that, although I am confident that giving away that little secret will not help any of you. Stony ground.

Remember 95% (exactly) of the population will never amount to anything. Do you know why? I hope there will be a post with the correct answer. If there is, I will respond to it. Indeed if someone does come up with the correct answer and they need a leg up financially or in any other way, I’ll help them. I can guarantee however that almost all responses to this post will be negative and there ye shall remain. I’m rambling a little here but I haven’t quite lost faith in people yet. I am in fact looking for someone to do a job for me in EFL. Quite easy, quite a lot of admin, a little travelling and 40k for the right person.

None of you who work in schools and complain about your wages have ever spotted a decent employer and said to them, “I am going to do something for you for free because I like working here”, or “I want to be paid less” If any of you have any balls, just try it and see what happens. Those with the right attitude are always spotted sooner or later and given a chance to better themselves. There are many who started at the bottom with nothing and went right to the top. Do you think they got there by saying to those who mattered, I’m going to do less but I want more from you?

I expect you’ll all be posting how bad I am. I can’t see that I am but no doubt you’ll find something to bleat about. But before you do, consider who creates jobs, pays taxes which run the country and pays for all the health and education you lot consume. And who pays to look after the old and the sick? and gives more money away to charity than you lot earn in a year? What do you contribute?"

Posted by Anonymous


Alex Case said...

That's rather long, so let me summarize what I understood from it:

"I am a better person than you because I have more money"

I have no philosophical proof that that is not the case, but I don't believe it, and he could at least have got to the point a little quicker...

teacherman said...

Oooooh bitter!

Anonymous said...

Remember 95% (exactly) of the population will never amount to anything.

OK - I was in EFL in Italy for 4 years - the pay was so bad that I left - instead of complaining about how low the wages were (and, let's face it, it is an insult to a qualified professional) I realised that whilst there will always be a demand for EFL jobs, EFL employers will always take advantage and pay low wages on the consensus that you have the privilege of working abroad.

Therefore, the solution for me was to work for myself (in an artistic field I might add, fashion to be exact) and I am more than happy with my decision.

I am testament to the fact that not all EFL teachers are complete losers in every way, boring lazy and lacking ambition, as you so state on your post.

BTW, also met my husband whilst working as an EFL teacher - so it's not all so bad, eh?

complete losers in every way, boring, lazy and lacking ambition.

Sheikh Evara said...

What a sad and conceited person this fellow is. He clearly thinks that he is one of the 'elite' 5 or 10% who have made something of their lives, but what he really means is that he has made some dosh and not many others have - so he's a winner! Very insightful...

First point: merely making money is not commensurate with 'making something of yourself/your life'. There are plenty of other criteria for that - spiritual, educational, cultural, etc - not just the material. However, those of low intelligence usually fail to perceive this.

Talking of which, there are also plenty of people such as tradesmen and taxi-drivers who nowadays earn 1,000 quid a week. Does that mean they have made something of their lives? Our conceited and arrogant little ex-Tefl twerp seems to think so, if we go by his cretinous criteria.

As for the figures he bandies about - well, get real. A teaching couple working in the Gulf, properly experienced and qualified, can easily earn in excess of 50,000 quid PA for starters (tax-free, of course), and rapidly progress up the pay-scale. With the usual benefits such as paid school fees, free accommodation, and income from your property in the UK, you should be looking at between 80 and 100K per year.

Not bad, eh? And when you think of the 8 weeks of holidays, that you only have to work for ten months of the year to get 13 months' salary (one month's bonus salary for each year worked), then it becomes an attactive choice.

Of course, you can't earn anything like that in the UK - unless you have a senior post teaching in the state sector. The private EFL sector is, as we all know, polluted by parasites such as our conceited friend the Tefl entreprenuer. That's why I don't work there any more - and why most proper EFL teachers shouldn't either!

Anonymous said...

Well, whilst I agree that the poster in question seems to be quite bitter about the whole TEFL field, he has raised the issue -'what is success?'

Directly to you, anonymous - I agree with your definition about giving more for less - all about the dynamics of exchange, which is something I try to apply every day.

As to your question, why '95% of the population will never amount to anything' (and I think you meant financially speaking), I sense you're thinking about lack of real knowlegde about how money works plus the ability to CREATE one's own 'job'.

TEFL pro and happy

Kapitano said...

Have you ever notice how, the more someone tells you how intelligent / hard working / enlightened / capable / professional / etc. they are, the less intelligent / hard working / etc. they turn out to be?

There are those who speak at length about how much they listen, or who write long, long blog posts explaining how they don't need to explain themselves.

In this case, we have someone who tells people they're too stupid to understand his genius so there's no point in his writing at all. And then he says it again in the next paragraph. And the next ten.

Here's a hint. If you need to tell everyone how great you aren't.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, judging from most of these comments esp the hammer, you still don't get it.
Money is not the point. I only tried to put this in some sort of terms of reference you could understand.

Having a crap life in a bedsit, with no beauty and no spiritual life and whinging about not getting
paid enough allied with the fact that there is now a hunt for the truth-sayer says it all really. Avaricious losers.
Is there any difference between a whinging EFl "professional" (but who is really an artist/poet/musician/actor - really a failure
in these areas too as they cannot earn enough in their speciality to buy a pair of shoelaces-not that they wouldn't need
someone to show them how to tie them anyway) and an LA porn actor ("just waiting for that big break")

To the person who worked in Italy, on what basis do you call yourself a "qualified professional"?

To rag head sheikh. Where is the logic in your tosh? you said money is not concominant with making something of your life there are
spiritual aspects too, however taxi-drivers cannot have a spiritual life (presumably because they are not "qualified professionals")
They are however more employable and make a greater contribution than female sociologists like yourself.
Dodgy maths too. What sort of fucked up couple would want to live in the gulf? Therefore 90% of teachers there are likely
to be single earning 25K (why do you thing there is a premium? because it is a shithole - duh)
Not only can you not add up but completely miss the point. Business exists to make profit, workers work to make profit (known as
income) Would you work for free? No. So why should other people work for free and give you jobs. So the person who enables
you to but your Guardian is a parasite? Great logic.

No Kapitano I haven't noticed that. It is not the assertions that matter but the source. I would agree totally with your statement
"Have you ever notice how, the more someone tells you how intelligent / hard working / enlightened
/ capable / professional / etc. they are, the less intelligent / hard working / etc. they turn out to be?" -as applied to most
EFL teachers. However there is a whole world of people out there, many types of which you probably haven't met.

Wait for it. One of you dears will find a typo and then all bets are off!!!

Come on mr hammer, let's crank it up

Anonymous said...

I do accept that some people see teaching English as a means of financing an extented holiday, and some people do it because they can't get anything better than shop work or call centre work back in the UK. I have known people with no qualifications, and lacking the most basic grasp of English grammar, get jobs as English teachers. These jobs are usually badly paid, in school run by shysters, and the teachers are often poorly motivated and don't really give a shit. Quite frankly, I pity the poor students who are wasting their money.

However, there are people out there who see teaching English as a profession. I have a first class honours degree in English Literature, plus CELTA and DELTA, and I work for one of most prestigious language institues in Italy. I have a genuine love of the language, a thorough grasp of grammar and phonetics, and teaching methodology, and most of all I want my students to succeed. Why is my chosen vocation any different from that of a good History teacher or college lecturer?

To suggest that most people in the industry 'have abjectly failed in their other chosen pursuit (usually artistic) and are complete losers in every way, boring, lazy and lacking ambition' is deeply insulting. While, of course it is true for some, I'm sure that it is true in many indistries, such as 'the city', where a little neptism can get one a cushy job.

I don't wish to get on my high horse, and perhaps I am working in a slightly rarified environment where people do consider themselves to be professionals, but, Mr Annonymous, your post appears to me be a perpetuation of a tired old stereotype about the EFL industry. But then, stereotypes are always a good replacement for actually thinking about a situation.

No 15 said...

Anonymous makes some very interesting ponts, mostly valid!

Warren Buffet once said, "Can you really explain to a fish what it's like to walk on land? One day on land is worth a thousand years of talking about it, and one day running a business has exactly the same kind of value."

TEFL teachers who have never run a business themselves, but continually harangue owners and management in TEFL schools because they don't get paid enough, need to realise that shareholder's risk is at stake - paying big salaries to those with a 4 week qualification will make the business untenable.

Sadly, TEFL teachers only realise this once they participate in the greater market or become owners themselves.

The individual holds the key to their success (or failures). Blaming them on other parties is not helpful.