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

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Paul Lowe. A Threat to Free Speech!

Paul Lowe is becoming a real nuisance. The Inspector has received this request from Alex Case and is pleased to offer whatever help he can. The beauty of the Internet and especially Google is that everyone has a voice. Mr Paul Lowe is now attempting to silence any voice that might be even mildly critical of his business methods - remember this is the same person that was selling fraudulent Trinity certified TEFL courses after he had been struck off by Trinity. A lot of teachers graduated to find that their TEFL certificates were Mickey Mouse qualifications.
So this is what Alex requests.........

"If you could put this up as its own post or spread the word in any
other way, would be much appreciated:

An appeal to TEFLers everywhere.

I would be grateful if you could help me and TEFLers everywhere by
sparing ten minutes to read this and do one of the actions suggested

Some background: 2 weeks ago a certain Paul Lowe of Windsor
Schools/Windsor TEFL came out of nowhere and into my life by
threatening to sue me and the owner of the site my blog,TEFLtastic, is
on. Obviously boosted by the success this effortless method had in
shutting down Sandy McManus's TEFLtrade blog and Wally Windsor's site,
he didn't even think it was worth spending a few minutes checking what
TEFLtastic had to say about him before firing off a threatening email.
I can say that with full confidence because before I reprinted his
email mentioning legal action there was not one reference to Paul Lowe
or Windsor Schools on my blog.

So, why should you care? Apart from the specific loss of a couple of
blogs, I would argue that there is a major principle at stake here, one
that could affect all of us and one that we are approaching a critical
period with.

The TEFL world on the internet is rapidly changing from one where a
quick Google search can bring up a full and colourful range of views
from teachers, students, trainees and the occasional crank, to one
where any TEFL related searches will find you yet again on Cactus TEFL
or i-to-i TEFL. My accidental brush with Mr Lowe has helped me come up
with a plan to tackle that loss of our influence. Whether it will be a
successful last stand or not I can't say, but here's how to go out with
our guns blazing:

My proposal is to make a lesson of Mr Paul Lowe of Windsor
Schools/Windsor TEFL that other school owners and TEFL training
organisations can learn from by making sure that everyone who searches
for him on the internet hears what we have to say, and making sure
there are enough of us saying it that he has to give up the use of
unjustified threatening emails to silence us. As diversity of voices is
the whole point, I won't even suggest what you could say about him, but
here are some simple and time efficient ways of using this opportunity
to show the TEFL big boys we won't be gagged:
- Paste this and/or your own comments into an email and send it to
everyone you know, especially people in TEFL
- Leave a brief message of support here or anywhere else he or his
school get a mention
- Google him or his school and only click on the pages that give an
independant viewpoint
- Give links to such pages in your blog, MSN page, Facebook page, email
signature etc.
- Paste this post and/or make a comment in your blog with suitable
tags, or in any of those other places mentioned above
- Start a new thread on this topic in TEFL and other forums
- Start a suitably titled new blog with info and links on Paul Lowe and
Windsor TEFL-it takes literally 5 minutes to set up a free blog on
Blogger or Wordpress,and if I can anyone can!
- Write to Paul himself at and let
him know what you think

I hope I have convinced you that by making our voices heard in this way
we can all benefit in the longer term, or at least that I am genuine in
my attempts and worth 5 minutes of your time to help.Any help at all
would be much appreciated


Alex Case, TEFL teacher and blogger."

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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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