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, 30 April 2009

... IT IS NOW!

Today is my last day at the school.

It'll be a relief, not least because I've been combining it with ploughing my way through a variety of enormous translations, like a 16th-century Bandeirante hacking his way throught the Mata Atlântica, and various tribes of breakfasting indigenous peoples, with a razor sharp facão.

Thanks to all who have sent their missives of advice, best wishes, and ego-eroding insults, the latter of which, the sages tell us, are the work of our greatest friends.

I recently received an entertaining drive-by insult, which is the very stuff that makes the Internet such a bubbling cauldron of free speech. For those that missed it, here it is reproduced verbatim for posterity:

Anonymous said...
I am watching you AND your irksome architraves. Behind my veil I am LUGHING HA HA HA at your woebegone non-spark FAILURE OF EFFULGENCE.
I am THE breakfast man.

The spelling, the syntax, the inventive use of a moulded or ornamental band framing a rectangular opening - it all points to it being a current or ex-student of mine.

Another good reason to pack up my troubles in my old kit bag and smile, smile, smile.

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Saturday, 4 April 2009


I've done it.

On Tuesday I finally resigned from public life as a TEFL teacher to spend more time with my family and my laptop. The owner of the school where I perform my daily masquerades tried to persuade me to stay, but, in a rare display of assertiveness, I held my ground and stated my decision was final. Now I intend to etch a better living from translation, though I'll be giving a few private classes and still teaching on Saturdays at my friend Bert's school.

No more daily 60-kilometre round trips. More male voice choir singing. Less time for blogging. An urgent need to learn touch typing.

Today, I was so made up about it all I got utterly arseholed on Brahma* at a birthday party in Piracicaba. And I don't even like Brahma.

The end of an era. Thank fuck for that.

* To avoid any confusion, Brahma is a popular Brazilian lager, noted for its bitter aftertaste. It is not a favourite steed of mine, nor a courtesan from the Indian subcontinent.

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