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

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Harrow House International Colleges

Yet another totally plausible tale of woe . Posted on the "Mr Andrew Kirby, formerly of Harrow House" section. They don't seem to have improved over the years. This "school" appears one to avoid. Bargepoles out troops. Any comments, especially from Harrow House would be welcome.

"I am a TEFL teacher and I have recently sponsored a student on a Harrow House sandwich course. I have been appalled at the college's lack of duty of care for the student over the whole placement period. They cut short his initial time at the college on the basis of having an early prime placement for him. It eventually transpired that HH just wanted to get him placed "somewhere" and placed him at Alton Towers. here, he received no college initiated contact or follow-up and Alton Towers just used him as a "labourer" with absolutely no interest in his personal development. The management and supervisory staff (who were of dubious management calibre) were only interested in getting tables cleared and re-set for the large number of guest covers. He was placed by a local estate agent in "homestay" accommodation - supposedly to help with his use of spoken English. HH took no interest or part in this, leaving it to Alton Towers who didn't care where he lived so long as he got to work on time. (.....and incidentally made him pay his fare every day - out of taxed income - for the staff bus!)The "homestay" was with a single man of 67 years of age who spent little time in the house and when he did, he heavily smoked cigarettes. (The student is a non-smoker). Representations by me to the college were met with a "mind your own business" attitude. The student of course, being a foreign national preferred to tolerate the situation rather than raise any issues. He is now nearing the end of his placement at Alton Towers and has hated what should have been an enhancing life experience in a foreign country. His English has hardly improved at all and his Hospitality Industry experience has been limited to subservient restaurant activities in a low class high-volume restaurant. Eight days from the end of his placement, he has had absolutely no contact from the college about where he will be staying for the final 2 weeks of his course in Swanage. I would urge any foreign student considering HH to think again and find another college providing a hospitality course in the UK. On a scale of 1 (poor) to 10 (Excellent) I rate this college and its hospitality sandwich course as minus 10!"

?Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Oscar Results 2008

The annual TEFL Blacklist Oscars were delayed owing to a late flurry of worthy (or should it be worthless) candidates. In truth your noble sleuth has been spoilt for choice this year. The TEFL Blacklist has attracted tales of woe galore.
The TEFL business is riddled with sharks. Be very careful when accepting a job and remember to read the contract carefully.


1. WORST JOB BOARD. The winner by a mile is They are worse than Dave's ESL Cafe in that at least Dave Sperling does provide a forum and allow some debate. allow none. The list of crap jobs they  advertise is endless and they accept adverts from anyone.

2. WORST FRANCHISE. International House. Call it an affiliate if you will, it all amounts to the same thing - money. The Covent Garden flagship centre is good but after that who knows as standards differ so widely. As long as anyone can pay the affiliate fee then they are allowed to use the name with lip service being paid to quality. Abuse of what, used to be, a hallmark of quality.

3. WORST SCHOOL. A really tough one this. There were so many candidates. The winner is New Zealand Centre for Culture and Education in Gangnam, South Korea. This outfit should be avoided at all cost.

4. WORST TEFL COURSE PROVIDER. i to i. Rip off merchants making megabucks through selling worthless TEFL certificates. A disgraceful outfit whose "certificates" are total crap. If you want a decent TEFL certificate, make sure that it is at least Cambridge or Trinity certified. Avoid all online courses, correspondence courses, weekend courses etc. unless you only want to go to some rubbish school in the middle of nowhere.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Depravity in Education

Mass suspension of 'wild' pupils

A screen grab of Xavier College, Melbourne, Australia
The school charges A$16,000 a year in fees for final-year students

"The entire graduating class at an exclusive Australian boys school has been suspended over "unacceptable" end-of-term antics.

Up to 100 of 250 Year 12 students at Xavier College, Melbourne, allegedly took part in the "muck-up day" trouble.

They ran through the school wearing only their school ties as G-strings, and set off fireworks at a nearby railway station, media reports say.

Classes have been cancelled until Wednesday, the scheduled final day.

Vehicles 'damaged'

The trouble began at lunchtime on Monday - "muck-up day", an unofficial tradition of graduating students taking part in end-of-term pranks and other activities.

They were blind drunk and some of them could barely stand. My kids have been through muck-up day, but I've never seen anything like that
Local resident

Police said they received numerous complaints relating to up to 100 students running rampage in the neighbourhood.

They were said to have harassed drivers and disrupted traffic, and there are also allegations that vehicles were damaged.

The students - aged 17 and 18 - are also accused of running semi-naked through the school grounds and setting off fireworks at the nearby Balaclava railway station.

One student was admitted to hospital with multiple fractures in his leg after a playground game reportedly got out of hand.

One neighbourhood resident wrote to The Age newspaper alleging the students were drunk and badly behaved.

"Their behaviour was disgraceful," the man said.

"They were blind drunk and some of them could barely stand. My kids have been through muck-up day, but I've never seen anything like that."

'Contravened boundaries'

In response the school has cancelled all classes until Wednesday, which would have been the final day of teaching.

Exams are due to begin at the end of the month for the Year 12 students, said to pay A$16,000 (US$11,000; £6,500) a year in fees to attend the Roman Catholic school.

In a statement, the school said the boys had "contravened the boundaries of sensible behaviour" while playing a game, and that the "unacceptable" conduct had forced it to cancel remaining classes.

It did not refer to the trouble off-campus, but police have threatened criminal charges against the pupils involved.

BBC website readers have been sending in their comments:

What ever happened to a good wallop across the head! That's what these boys are lacking! When I went to Catholic School (graduate of 1995) we were taught respect, and were disciplined accordingly if having stepped out of line. The problem is these little rich kids have never learnt respect for others, never learnt how to take responsibility for their actions and certainly have no idea on social etiquette. Bring back the cane! :-)
Cleve Rynehart, Melbourne, Australia

I attended and enjoyed what seems to be a similar academic boys school in Canada. We also had an unofficial "muck-up day" called "grub day" and the tradition ended in much the same way: behaviour and stunts taken too far so it was cancelled.

The consensus at the time was that an unsustainable, escalating pattern of one-upmanship, whereby each graduating class felt a need to make things more extreme and wilder than the previous year, was the problem. Clever became vulgar, and fun became outrageous.
Jim Fuite, Edmonton, Canada

Glad to see not much has changed since my departure from Xavier in 1968. Now, if only the Jesuits would bring back the 15-inch strap (with the two inlaid Aussie pennies at one end), all would be right with life. Well done boys . . . you've made some of us old timers proud.
Timothy Lynch, Los Angeles, CA USA

As a Xavier alumni, it is disappointing to hear that the actions of a minority of students taking things too far have tarnished the reputation of a great educational institution. If indeed these allegations are true then they should be disciplined. However, how did the residents know they were all Xavier students? At my muck-up day, everyone (including students from other private schools in Kew, of which there are many) took off their ties and blazers, so it would have been very difficult for onlookers to distinguish which school the students belonged to. I think it might be another case of the media reporting everything it hears without actually checking the facts.
Peter C, London

It's almost like a tradition in all boarding school facilities for final year and graduating students to do something really wild and crazy before leaving school. We did it during my time by boycotting almost all regular school activities and had to sign an undertaking to be of good behaviour in the process. It's part of growing up...
Israel Ambe Ayongwa, Jonkoping, Sweden

It was disgusting, these young lads were urinating in my fish pond,and kicking over my gnomes. I have never seen anything like it, I have lived here for 28 years, and my gnomes have never been attacked like this before.
Sheila Outrigger, Melbourne

They beheaded five of my gnomes and knocked over my brand-new bird bath. It's a disgrace, they have no respect for others and I blame, as always, the parents.
Lucinda R, Melbourne"

Courtesy of the BBC.......

Help The Aged

Retired teachers have problems you haven't even considered yet.

An 85-year-old retired EFL teacher was requested by his doctor for a sperm count 
as part of his physical examination. The doctor gave the man a jar and said, 
'Take this jar home and bring back a semen sample tomorrow.'

The next day the 85-year-old man reappeared at the doctor's office and 
gave him the jar, which was as clean and empty as on the previous day. 

The doctor asked what happened and the man replied, 'Well, doctor, let me explain.......

  • First I tried with my right hand, but nothing.
  • Then I had another go 
with my left hand, but still nothing. 

  • Then I begged my wife for help. She tried with her right hand, then with 
her left...... still nothing.
  • She then went for it with her mouth, first with the teeth in, 
then with her teeth out......still nothing.

We even asked Kirsty, our next door neighbour and she joined in too, first 
with both hands, then an armpit, and she even tried squeezing it 
between her knees, but still nothing.

The doctor was shocked! '

You asked your neighbour?

The old man sighed.......

Yes, none of us could get the jar open.

Friday, October 17, 2008

RFT Turkey

All this is to be found on the Turkey section but they deserve a special page of their own. Bargepoles at the ready as this outfit sound awful:

I worked for a recruitment company RFT. The job was ın Turkey and ıt sounded wonderful but the students were horrıble! I was told by RFT that I should resign and they would fınd me another job! The job they offered me I could not afford to take. The salary was much to low to survıve ın Turkey. I later resıgned and my contract states they must provıde a plane tıcket to your home country. When ıt came to purchase the tıcket they just avoıded my calls and threaten to deport me. They brought me to Turkey !


This outfit is still advertising for TEFL teachers through 'Serious Teachers' website.


I also worked for RFT in Turkey and had a terrible time.

The company is run by Koray and Zanore.

My girlfriend and I were told we would have four camps each. But when we arrived after spending 300 Euros each on transport we were told there was only one for my girlfriend and two for me.

My girlfriend's camp was only part-time, so she made only US$750 in two months - not even enough to live on.

Koray agreed to pay my girlfriend a per diem of US $400 to help her survive.

The worst thing was that when it was time to leave, Koray refused to pay our flight money (which our contract said we were entitled to).

Koray said he wouldn't pay the flight money because he'd given my girlfriend the per diem!

There were many, many other problems with these guys. AVOID!


I have been corresponding with Zanore from RFT, and have been thinking about taking a job with them. This makes me nervous, can anyone say more about them?


Hi I'm currently also looking at working in Turkey and have been contacted by RFT. I get so sick of schools taking advantage of the teachers. Anyone know of a good school in Turkey?


RFT Turkey has cheated me out of money. They simply refused to pay me for working a summer camp. They are deceitful and unprofessional. Be wary of them. Try to find a job elsewhere. They are also doing other weird things there.


Wow! I am so sorry to hear that others have gone through the same trials and tribulations with RFT.

They brought us here promising us many things. Not riches and fame mind you, but just your basic necessities.

We were lied to in every way you can imagine.

I stress that this is not a bitter rant. We did all that they asked, and remained incredibly patient and loyal to RFT.

They lied about where we would live, where we would teach, what we would teach, how often we would teach, what they would furnish the house with (NOTHING), permits, time-off if we needed it, and sooo many other things.

In a nutshell, they are without a doubt the worst people to ever run a business. This sentiment is echoed by everyone we met who was here with RFT at the time. They cannot be trusted. If you do complain about things you will be threatened with deportation, police, etc.

Zanore and Koray actually dated too. This made matters worse. They screamed and yelled in front of employees. They forced some newcomers to live with them at their office/residence because they had nowhere to put them.

They fired people on a regular basis for absolutely no valid reason. They even fired their one and only office worker/recruiter because she stood up to them and defended the teachers' rights. She too was threatened with the police.

We have left Turkey since, but we did meet many good people here in Istanbul. There are lots of good schools around. It is ABSOLUTELY worth coming over here, just heed our words....STAY AWAY FROM RFT!!!


Yeah dıtto to the last post. Zanore and Koray lie and fight in front of people. They at tımes can be nice but only to serve their purposes. This isnt a bitter rant either, only a warning. They can find you a school to work for but they offer little support. They seem to take their commissions and run. Dont ever put yourself in a position where they owe you money.

RFT's website is one of the finest exercises in fiction I have ever read. It says teachers are given psychometric tests and have all their qualifications checked out.

When I worked for them, they were literally grabbing backpackers off the street and giving them fake degrees so they could teach.

I should add that they simply refused to give me all the pay they owed me. Koray said I had been "expensive" because he had to pay our English recruiter Paul Rogers 400 pounds for my CV. Therefore, he refused to pay my flight money.

I was incredulous and very loudly gave him a piece of my mind. Didn't get my money though!

Avoid these charlatans at all costs.

Key words: "Paul Rogers" Koray Zanore RFT Turkey

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

LCI Academy LCI Kids Club in Yeonsu-Gu, Incheon, South Korea

Left on the EFL/ESL Jobs in Korea section. Why are there so many of these stories coming from Korea?
Any Comments?
"Thought this would be of interest. This was sent to the National Pension Office, Ministry of Labour as well as recruiters of esl teachers.To Whom This May Concern:The only reason I am writing this letter is so what is right and fair can be done. Hopefully with the awareness of the following conditions The Ministry of Labour will take notice as well as other prospective teachers. I had worked at LCI Academy/LCI Kids Club in Yeonsu-Gu, Incheon, South Korea for the past year 2007-2008. As a Manager I had seen many things happen that were not fair, but until now, the scademy had not crossed the legal lines so I thought the issues of concern were nothing more than “cultural differences”. Two big reasons for concern are the embezzlement of teacher’s pension funds and misappropriation of severance pay. It has been noticed that the school has failed to report the teachers’ correct salaries to the Pension Office. Due to this, when teachers have gone to leave Korea and collect their pension they are showed an incorrect salary on the paperwork from the Pension Office. What the school is doing is taking 4.5% of the current salary and only giving the Pension Office 4.5% of the salary that was reported to them. The school is keeping the difference. When this was brought to the attention of the school they said they would pay the teacher the difference – the money that the school had been putting into their own funds. This school needs to be educated on the process of reporting and allocating pension funds. If they are given an opportunity, I think they should be viewed as ignorant businessmen and be shown the correct way to work with pension.In addition to the Pension scheme, the Directors at LCI Academy had failed to pay the teachers the correct severance until it was brought to their attention. Legally, they are obligated to pay the correct amount of severance. “Severance is calculated on the average salary of the previous 3 months.”I think this process needs to be regulated by the Ministry of Labor due to the negligence of the part of the school’s oversight. I feel in the future they may fall back into this negligence if they are not monitored. It has been my insight that these directors are not very honest men and will take advantage of foreigners when they think they will get away with it. At the very minimal I am asking the Ministry to give a courtesy call to the school and educate these directors on the processes. I as well as other teachers from this school appreciate your attention to this matter. Kindest regards."
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
  1. Nominate a School for Blacklisting

Monday, October 06, 2008

The End?

Your noble sleuth has been a bit off colour of late. A tad bilious shall we say. Bad news I am sorry to report. The Inspector is giving serious consideration to closing the TEFL Blacklist down. Security is everything at Scotland Lard and mine has been compromised.
Sandy seems to have been outed and I'm next in line.
If The TEFL Blacklist does disappear suddenly, at least you'll know why. Hopefully someone will see the bugger (probably PL) off but if he gets any closer then I'll just pull the plug in the ineterests of self preservation.
If that happens I would like to thank everyone who has offered their support and has been spared nasty experiences in rotten schools as a result of The TEL Blacklist.
It may not happen but I'm prepared for the worst.
It will be a great shame if it happens.