Notes from the TEFL Graveyard

Wistful reflections, petty glories.

My Photo
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, 24 December 2009


The following happened today. I started chuckling, then after a short time found myself openly weeping.

- My Christmas text message to some of my students of English:

"Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and health, wealth and happiness for 2010!"

- The response from Francisco, whom I have been teaching for the last five months:


Any way, Mery Crismas everbody!

Labels: , , ,

Friday, 11 December 2009


Just back from the Christmas do at the school where I teach my last remaining English lesson of a Saturday morning. The pupils under my care sang a more or less recognisable Danny Boy (not strictly Christmas, but the only sheet music I had in English), then we sat outside in the sickly humid night chatting until the rain came and we had to pack away all the chairs and move the keyboard indoors.

I'm home now, alone apart from our Lhasa Apso, Shanti, who is lying beside me for a change, but only because I am the only other animate object in the vicinity. Show has gone to Campinas to fetch our niece, and pop-in-law is receiving an homenagem for being a founder member of the local Rotary Club. If there's one things Brazilians love, it's the homenagem - all echoey halls and people in suits that are either a size too big or a size too small for them.

Incidentally, Antarctica have just released a new beer that I've felt motivated to sup on, "Sub Zero", which, the can gushes, is "doubly filtered below 0ÂșC" - through a Russian miner's underpants by the taste of the sour froth. Another alcoholic equivalent of a car accident hits the Brazilian beer market. But, as my glassy-eyed compatriots used to mumble in the toilets of the Lord Nelson on Poole Quay, while Jimmy Pithe brought the house down with his inevitable rendition of Has Anybody Seen My Cock?, "Gets yer there, dunnit?" - wherever your there may be.

I still can't quite believe I was forty this week. Goes so quickly, seems like yesterday, blah, blah, blah, but it is uncharted territory. At least I've outlived Jim Morrison by thirteen years, by my calculations. Missed my family a lot this time, a couple of continents away. Mater turned seventy-five less than a month ago, another milestone I wish I could have celebrated in her company.

But that's the price we pay for the sickly humid nights drinking piss water, I guess.

Labels: , , , ,