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.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Contrary to a common misconception, TEFL has not finally got the better of me and forced me into an early retirement consisting of crafts, art therapy and medication in an institutionalised environment, life has been tossing me hither and thither with almost reckless abandon. The upshot being, I'm back, and this time I mean it.

Back from Campinas, which turned out to be a costly move on so many fronts, but now firmly ensconced in a rather fetching house with a big yard, a generous barbecue area, electric lighting and running water.

Again, it's election time, and our new neighbour is one of the chosen ones who drives around town with wedding disco speakers tied to the roof of his car urging us all to vote for his candidate - luckily, I can't vote being a foreigner, so a) I can safely ignore him, and b) no one can blame me when it all goes tits up.

A woman called today to do a pre-election survey. One of the questions was, "Is there any candidate you look at and think, "No way"? I mumbled that, no, I didn't really have anything against any of them.

What I wanted to say in the real world was, "Yes, that gibbering little chump Mendes, who, when he isn't gibbering, is wearing the grin of a man who's just won a particularly closely contested farting competition."

But alas I didn't, meaning that the opinion poll results are now irreversibly skewed, so it's anybody's election.


Blogger xerxes said...

If you mumble in Portuguese, what does the result sound like? My own attitude is that the language sounds as though it would be fun to learn, if only because, at least in Brazil, they don't seem to be hung up on silly things like grammar or pronunciation.

11 September 2013 at 17:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Via Lingua TEFL course in Florence, Italy is a total scam. The school intentionally misleads potential students on its website by claiming that 85% of graduates of the TEFL course get a job within 1-30 days from finishing the course. This is a blatant lie. Most of the people from the course go home without a job. The school provides very little in the way of support. Their idea of an exclusive lifetime job network for graduates is a binder full of print outs of job postings from and Daves ESL cafe.

Furthermore, the housing they provide is subpar and the owner of the school when confronted about these issues becomes very hostile. Via Lingua is basically a marketing scheme- they’ll say whatever they can (mislead, or leave out important information about the job market or working visas, etc) so they can get you to sign up for their course. They have about five or six websites all saying the same stuff and they’ve paid bloggers and ESL sites like ESL Base to do free advertising. It’s not a professional school in any sense of the word. However, on the bright side (can’t all be bad, right)- Florence is a beautiful city!

Time for this school to be added to the TEFL blacklist. Via Lingua, you’re on notice.

12 March 2014 at 14:50  
Blogger M C Ward said...

xerxes, very perceptive of you. Spoken Portuguese is a very laissez faire affair, but when they write formally, you're transported right back to 16th century Portugal. Anon, thanks for pointing this shower out to us - a depressingly familiar story, unfortunately. Shysters seem drawn to this business for some reason.

13 March 2014 at 22:39  

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