How To Get A Job In TEFL

12/02/2012 12:29

How To Get A Job In TEFL


Walking into a language `studio` in Buttapes asking for a job, they said, `Send us your CV.` E-mailing back that there was work, `with some companies`, sleeping all through the next day said something of my enthusiasm. Often a `dummy` lesson is required, and the dummy shows what it can do. Old hands throw away the textbook and demonstrate their skills at juggling; playing the guitar (simultaneously), and making those useless items from empty round Dairy Lea cheese slices boxes, and squeezy Fairy Liquid detergent bottles, which they show you how to make on BBC TV`s Blue Peter (1958-), and that invariably turn into a pipe rack. Without fail, it gets the nod.


 Attention drawn to the `window` of a classroom where a Philupyournose (with coke) teacher had written on the board: `It is raining yesterday.` He`d been through the interview process, and it was a ‘demo’ lesson. However, somehow they`d missed the fact that he didn`t know the difference between the past and present tenses. `Hey Mark!` we hailed him afterwards. `What was you want?` he retorted. `What`s the past tense of the verb `to be`?` we wanted to know. `You is joking,` he snorted, `any English worth his mustard know the pass tense is `been`.` Mark was reputedly among the chunkies addicted to heroine, who was often heard to describe her lifestyle as 'blowing chunks'.


 Mark was still working there when I left. The stud`nts liked him because he knew less than they. It was encouraging for them to operate under the umbrella of one who had as little clue as themselves about the present. He was also pleasant, which might not get you a job. However, it`s certainly how to keep one. I can`t manage pleasant, but I can do polite. I`m afraid that the idiocies of stud`nts would drive me crazy if I tried pleasantness. It`s too close to friendly for my liking. I can be warm and polite. However, pleasant and friendly doesn`t sit well with my teaching machinery. Stud`nts ask you to have tea with them and meet their mothers. I`ve never met a `mom` yet who looks like the Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima (1981-) and I consider the invitation a broken promise if she doesn`t.


 ELT tools become dulled when it`s about maintaining relationships and that rapport much spoken of by management as essential for the smooth running of a group. You spend all your time being `accessible` and `flexible` that time passes and the stud`nts have forgotten to open their books because you didn`t have time for that. The secret for the true ELT professional is - chocolate. It produces the same chemical in the brain as when you are in love. I scientifically ate bucketsful of the stuff in Poe-Land when teaching at the Lęgpork Grammar skull there, the SLOTH, in 2000. The chocolate made me feel as though all the children loved me, which is useful if you`re loathed and despised for trying to enable them in speaking your language. It was no accident either. I`d done research on the internet. It was either chocolate or the empathogen-enactogen psychostimulant drug, MDA (ecstasy), I`d decided. There was a group of mainly young male adults to explain myself to in 3b. The brisk conversations we had amongst ourselves were of a type:


T: `Okay, today we are going to use our writing books.`

S: `You are a fokwat.`

T: `Please open your textbook - the blue one - at page one-hundred-and-ninety-seven, `How to write a letter in English to a friend (not a busyness letter).`

S: `Dear fokwat. We is love you.`

S2: `You is a fokhed. Sincerely.`

S3:  `Yours is faithfully fokwat.`

T: `Notice that the letter begins with the address, in the top right corner, of the person you are writing to, and do not forget the postcode.`

S: `Mr Fokwat Teacher, 6 Fokwat street, Fokwat, Fokshire, F-O-K, You K.`

T: `Your address is written on the left opposite the addressee`s.`

S1: `Good Polished man, 10 Excellent street, Very Good Polished Town, P-O-L-S-K-I #1, Poe-Land.`

T: `Very good [polite but ringing under the blows of the assault to my ears and sensibilities]. After that, begin with `Dear...` and then the name of the person you are writing to.`

S2: `Dear Fokwat, you are the best teacher. I am in love with you. You are the best we have. I want to have rabies with you.`

T: `No,` I say, `you mean `babies`.`

SS: Frowning in puzzlement. `No, rabies.`

T: Sighs heavily. `Chocolate anyone?`

 The children were `reaching out to me`, when they weren`t reaching into my pockets. I had 500 Polished złoty lifted from my jeans during one draining excursion into the all-but-prison-in-name we euphemistically `taught` at. Though their teacher was in receipt of only 1600 złoty a month (about $1,000 US), a young woman did, in fact, `reach out’. `I love you.` said Anya apropos of nothing at all. `Anya, she is for you,` Maya demanded of me in a classroom further along in my teaching schedule. `You can press your suit,` Maria illuminated me as I gathered up my bumf towards the end of another doom-laden day of diphthongs and declinations. `Decline the adjective `good`,` I`d command. `We don`t want it,` they`d say.


 Anya was 13, I was nearing 40, and the local church was 200 meters away. I handled the affair by sedulously avoiding eye contact with the marriage-makers and pressing on with the possessive, `We always put an apostrophe after the noun to indicate that the noun belongs`, I tell them, knowing full well that they hadn`t any idea of the meaning of the word `belongs`. `So, if the chair belongs to Jane, we say `Jane`s chair`,` I write it on the wipe board. Always stress words they don`t know, to make them think that they do, and stop them asking you questions - they`ll ask the person sitting next to them. `The chair is belonging to Jane,` they explain me, `no apostrophe required.` `No,` I patiently demur, `the chair belongs to Jane. It is Jane`s chair.` `It`s my chair. Jane can`t have it. Let her buy her own fokkin’ chair,` says a helpful class member. `Let`s hit her with it,` says another. `I understand,` a clever devil tells me, `Jane`s a chair.` `No,` I scan the heavens for mercy, `Jane`s a young woman (never let female stud`nts know that you think of them as anything less than wise old women). She is not a chair.` `No, she`s a chair,` responds the clever devil, `that is, she has a chair. The chair belongs to her.` Broken, I weep.


`She’sus wept` (John: 11. 35) is of course the shortest phrase in the Boble. There are much shorter ones in my phrasebook: pithier too. Although the in person application, or `walk in` is productive in terms of employment, they might upset your equilibrium by suggesting `training`. Bullitz centers require a series of role-plays, for example, between a prospective hotel guest and the receptionist:


Hotel: Scene 1


`Do you have a room for a single person?`

`Do you mean a room for one, and your wife or mistress is coming later? In which case you can have either a room with twin beds or a double bed. Or you are single and are going to invite an unspecified number of prostitutes to stay with you for an unspecified amount of time (in which case you can have either a room with twin beds or a double bed). Or you want a single bedroom because you want to invite an unspecified number of prostitutes to the hotel at various stages in your stay here for an hour or so of `fun` each time, and you`re too cheap to pay for a double bed and/or too embarrassed to tell us, that is, the hotel management, what you are planning to do. Or you are a boring loser and you want a room with a single bed because there isn`t going to be any action?`

`A bed for one person, please. I`m happy with my hand. Do you have the adult version of Disney`s `1971 movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks on cable?`

`Okay, that`ll be twice as much as the double or twin bed room then. For being nerdy.`


  Hotel: Scene 2


`Hi, have my bags arrived yet?`

`Who are you?`

`I rang earlier, I`m Jerry Tribblethwaite from earlier when I rang. Have my bags arrived yet?`


`Sorry, it`s with my bags. I rang earlier.`

`No passport [makes tiny scridgy marks on letter headed hotel notepaper].`

`I can pay. My credit cards are with my luggage.`

`Can`t pay [makes even scridgier marks].`

`So, you see how it is?`

`Yes sir. You have no ID, no money, and no luggage. You`re a street person and an `alien`. Please remove yourself from the hotel foyer, there are customers waiting.`


Hotel: Scene 3


`Hi, room service? This is Herbie Postlethwaite from when I rang earlier. It`s been four hours since I ordered coffee. Where is it?`

`Just a moment sir ... The rooms` attendant says she left a cup at the door, sir. I expect it`ll be cold now.`

`Why did she leave it at the door? Am I supposed to push a straw underneath it and drink from a recumbent position?`

`She thought you might be naked, sir. She says she heard noises suggestive of bath water.`

`Please send her up with another cup and assure her that I shall be naked.`

`Yes sir.`


 It was `teaching the invented other language` that defeated me. The others were much cleverer at inventing words; like `giboba` and `geboba` meaning `to go home` and `to be at home` - allegedly. Showing ‘em two fingers. I carelessly enunciated the word `*u*k` before, placing the thumb and forefinger on one hand together to make a circle, thrusting the index finger of my other hand inside the circle repetitively to underline the meaning. Needless to say, I was surplus to requirements on that, and possibly every other, occasion.


  At one point in my journeyings, in 1996-7 several Buttapes’ language skulls, that is, ‘nyelviskola’, claimed my services. Bull on Tulips & Nuts St., Lungeamore across the Danude (there’s a suspenders’ bridge between Butt and Apes), which is opposite Orange Janus #3 Metro station, Mutterlang on Fishukrodi, near Pullover Yoghurt, the `Western railway station`, Intapint near the ELTE Pay Universe City, Bottom Rung at Call Vin #4 Metro station, and Planeat in Meal Square. Spreading it about is necessary, because a lot of nyelviskola won`t give you full time employment, so that you remain a slave; living hand to mouth. As everyone is a ‘piece worker’, `moonlighting` within the ‘black economy’ is unavoidable, because the companies of the East expect to win by taking all of those of the West’s pieces who can’t make it onto the bored.



 Proofreading is a staple. Hired in ‘96 by Hungry’s Institute for Head Chuck Occasional Research (CHOIR) to write their CRAP (Centre Raison d'être pour d'Alma Pont) report on Higher Heads, while shuffling around dust-laden corridors at the former So Feared Institute for Removing Potatoes (IRE), there’d be invitations to correct papers. Often just a comma, or a single letter, in a document of a few pages, would require correction. It was a ‘top up’, because the salary was inadequate. Though grateful for the handout, it’d have been starvation without it.


 Being careful about what you agree to do is important. With a job at N.Y. Elvskulls teaching at GG Drek, an architect`s firm in Butt, they wanted a text proofread, which was time-consuming, technical and specialized. There was a time limit with no extra payment on completion. Shortly after, N.Y Elvskulls dispensed with my knowledge and expertise. GG were typical in that they thought learning Busyness English was about how to keep the English busy, that is, they were slavers. `How many beans make five?` I’d begin. `Five,` they’d tell me humorlessly, and I’d ask, `How do you spell `beans`?` ‘P-I-N-S,’ they’d say. ‘No,’ I’d tell them, and write B-E-A-N-S, ‘which is the plural of the noun bean.` `How much is a tin of beans in Hungry?` I’d ask. `Skodas are about 5 million HUF [about 11,000 GBP],’ they’d tell me. `How many tins make five?` I’d drill. `Five,` they’d tell me, and how do you spell `tins`? I wanted to know. `T-E-E-N-S,` they’d say and, writing T-I-N-S, I’d say `the plural of the noun tin.` `How many beans in a tin?` I’d ask. They’d shake their heads nonplussed, ‘You have to get them into the teens,’ they’d say. `Yes,’ laughing mirthlessly, ‘and it depends on the bus size.` `You are German,` they unsmilingly asseverated. Understanding had been reached at the summit.


 In the UK there are professorial chairs who`ve gotten their positions by adding up the number of times the word `but` appears in Shakespeare`s (1564-1616) plays, before another of Academe’s buttheads accepts it as publishable research. Everybody is a specialist in ‘informatics’ in Buttapes, which is  geekspeek for IT, although they’re encrypters. Hungry learned the art of secrecy from successive occupations by the Germs (1944-45) and Rushons (1945-89). Now they secrete, decode and encode, while receiving the title, `Informatician`. It`s reminiscent of the former So Feareds’ awarding of the Order of the Toenail First Class to the local podiatrist.


 Having problems with my laptop, an acquaintance suggested an ‘Informatician’. Despite the ridiculous-sounding title, surrender of the laptop saw its returning with all the information lost, and a brand (Microsoft) spanking new Windows Vista (in Hungriun) installed. A few years later, another laptop in need of a tune-up was returned with an entire drive missing. With vehement aloofness my acquaintance vouchsafed, ‘Stolen.’ Expertise in informational technology isn`t confined to Eastern Europe. Walking into a computer shop in Riyald, after careful examination of the ASUS netbook, the Informatician announced, ‘I can do nothing.’ At a second IT genius’ shop, he announced, ‘There is nothing on the hard drive.’ Thieves and criminals. If you`re any sort of a creator, back up your work, and never let it be seen; until you`re ready for that. Elsewise, it`ll be whipped out from under your nostrils by someone with a nose for a Hollywood-bound script, and about as much respect for you as you have for the English language stud`nt who, carefully scrutinizing your face for the solution to which verb requires the ‘s’ ending for the present simple third person singular, smilingly wipes his bogies down his shirt (leave blank if you feel no verb ending is needed):


Q1. The egg boil victoriously.

Q2. Shakira go like a leopard on coke.

Q3. The bus stop for Marilyn.

Q4. The rain in Spain fall mainly on Susan Boyle.

Q5. He love kangaroo droppings.



 People are too stupid to use the `s` ending on the end of the verb for the third person present simple,1 so let them not use it. This latest statement from US’ linguistics suggests dumbing the population down even further. On US’ ‘TV’ shows, especially `streetwise` characters, `He the man.` Dressed up as `smart` by New York rap musicians, `She got it.` However, making the `s` at the end of the verb optional, or not required, is a way of telling people you think they`re too stupid for words. Getting a job in TEFL is difficult enough, without telling the truth: disgruntledly.


1 ‘Needs washed’, Yale Grammatical Diversity Project English in North America, Yale University, .