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.

Monday, 8 August 2011


My recent absence may be explained, if not justified, by my having moved to the warmer climes of Campinas, pronounced "Cam-penis", which pleases the 12-year old inside my shorts. Leaving my in-laws peering wild-eyed over the parapet of their own lunacy, bless 'em, we have left them to their lectures and bickering, finally transferring our worldly possessions to a place of our own, a move which has been a modest 9 years at the planning stage. If I'd known that would happen, I'd still be drinking lunchtime pints and eating scampi in the Dorset Soldier in Corfe Mullen of a weekend and trying to get excited about football on a big screen.

Our worldly possessions have been packed, unpacked and carefully arranged, we await the arrival of our new sofa, dining table and chairs and TV stand unit thingy, netting has been strategically placed in front of our eighth-floor balcony and windows to prevent our 1.5-year-old from practising skydiving, though she does seem determined to push at least one item through the gaps in said netting, most recently the TV remote control. If I am deported for reckless endangerment or failing to restrain a child, it won't be for lack of foresight.

The irony of all this is that, as our costs have risen considerably, it appears an imminent return to TEFL is on the cards, but this time, it shall be different. I've calculated that if I can get 4 students to study 2 hours a week at the rate I plan to charge, this should cover our monthly food expenses at least.

Inside our gated compound surrounded by machine gun nests, there are 4 blocks of flats, each boasting 14 floors with 4, 3-bedroom flats on each (a total of 224 flats). If each contains at least 2 adults (no children please, for all that's sacred), that's around 450 potential students - and I just need 4 to think it's sophisticated to have a native-speaking private English teacher and I'm in the black.

Mind you, when I started a school with my friend Bert in Alumínio, I confidently predicted that, if only 1% of the nearby factory workforce of 5,000 wanted English classes, we'd have 50 students right off the bat - we quietly closed one year later having reached a peak student body of 12. But this time it'll be different - from now on, TEFL shall no longer be my master, but my mistress - albeit a fairly overly made-up and coarse one who you probably wouldn't want to take to the Henley Regatta.

More live news on my TEFL comeback as and when it happens! (Distant cheering/sobbing).

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Blogger TeflSecretagent said...

Welcome back!

9 August 2011 at 02:48  
Blogger Scarlet Blue said...

Good heavens! I might sign up myself, if you'll make me fit for the Henley Regatta.
Yep, I'm asking too much.

9 August 2011 at 07:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have a twelve year old inside your pants? I'm surprised your editor let that one through.

10 August 2011 at 02:21  
Blogger M C Ward said...

Thanks, Mr. Bond.

Hello again Scarlet - nice of you to drop by.

Anonymous, you've got an eye for a potential conviction - thanks.

10 August 2011 at 12:01  
Blogger AlexPup said...

'from now on, TEFL shall no longer be my master, but my mistress'
I've been keeping it in mind for 4 month now. The only downside to this is I feel I'm being used, hence I call myself an EFL prostitute, which at my age and for my gender is humiliatingly unappealing.
Anyway, luck with the potential four.

11 August 2011 at 08:51  
Blogger The reluctant tefl wizard. said...

Wishing the author luck in his new tefl plans.

Hoping for more entertaining blog posts. Maybe one day you could compile your notes into a book?
Just a thought..

7 October 2011 at 20:29  

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