Notes from the TEFL Graveyard

Wistful reflections, petty glories.

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Location: The House of Usher, Brazil

I'm a flailing TEFL teacher who entered the profession over a decade ago to kill some time whilst I tried to find out what I really wanted to do. I like trying to write comedy (I once got to the semi-finals of a BBC Talent competition, ironically writing a sitcom based on TEFL), whilst trying to conquer genetically inherited procrastination... I am now based in Brazil, where I live with my wife and two chins.

Thursday, 12 February 2009


The Internet is something of a double-edged sword, I meekly opine.

There are times that I fret that it’s turning a whole generation of pasty, furtive boys into daylight intolerant hunchbacks with an overly strong handshake whose only real ambition is to find the address of THAT nightclub where THOSE kinds of parties take place with the SHAME-FREE CZECH AND HUNGARIAN GIRLS.

Teenage girls tend to use the web to jabber with their mates (with whom they’ve just spent the whole school day jabbering, but still manage to find something they haven’t yet jabbered about), and finding older men to become obsessed with, be seduced by and eventually meet when visiting them during a spell spent at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, all while secretly conspiring to marry the baby-faced one out of the latest boy band at the drop of a hat.

Then there is the descent of English into a kind of impenetrable code written by monkeys with typewriters in the throes of a protracted work to rule.

As far as social networking in concerned, Brazilians prefer the largely unpopular elsewhere Orkut (aw-koot-chy) to the more Anglophone Facebook – and after initial resistance to virtual relationship-building, I now have an account in both, with the former attracting one friend (Show, perhaps a reflection of my popularity in my adopted country), while with the latter I am rapidly winning hearts and minds, with over twenty digital chums and counting.

No sooner had Crappers appeared than I tracked down Crockers (the incredible exploding TEFL teacher, recently avoiding any more munitions-related episodes, I gather), and we now exchange sharp social commentary via Facebook messages with a certain frequency.

Welsh drinks cabinet inhabitant and general legend, NPD, is back on the scene, to my huge relief, and I’ve actually Skyped him with a camera and everything, much to our collective delight.

Also surfacing from the swamp of largely suppressed memories are a Spanish girl I used to work with who has changed her name and metamorphosed into a professional model and artist, and several ex-schoolmates, one of whom miraculously appears to have found me by chance when she visited this blog (what are the chances of that? And she isn’t even a TEFL hireling…).

Other assorted ex-colleagues and hangers-on have also come running to worship at my online shrine – I would just like to take this opportunity to welcome you all and say what an utter pleasure it is to be in touch with you all again.

If any of you have any career advice to dole out, or knows of any non-TEFL job opportunities, please feel free to let rip.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


In an idle moment while supposed to be preparing classes, I came across this.

I received it by email back in about 2001 and it remains one of my all-time favourites. Some people just have too much time on their hands. Like me.