Exclusive- Interview with Juan Pablo Falomir of Laughing Coyote School of English

Laughing Coyote School of English in Nayarit in Mexico has recently got a lot of TEFL blog coverage due to them turning the tables on us by starting a blacklist of former teachers and trainee teachers. You can easily find the blacklist itself and the various blog and forum threads on it by googling the school name. Here, however, is what Juan Pablo assures me is the only interview they have ever given or ever will give. As such, and in order to avoid just repeating the information and atmosphere of other sites, I would like to keep most comments to further questions that you would like him to answer. Alternatively, you can email the questions to me (see the Contact Me link on the main blog page), and I will ask him. I have given one example of a follow up question that I hadn’t thought of in the interview in the comments section. If you have experience of the school and would like to contradict something he has said, I am happy for you to paste that part of the interview into one of those other blogs or forums and comment on it there (it is best to avoid cutting and pasting the whole interview if you can).

Can you give us a quick potted history of the Laughing Coyote chain?

Laughing Coyote School has been in business for 5 years. The first 4 years it was 100 percent family owned and run. We only started hiring teachers this last year. You can see our web page for the history of the name.

What is the structure of the chain now, e.g. franchises, head office, top management?

It is still a small, family owned business and it will stay that way. We have no desire to grow into any type of corporation. This business is to give back to the community. We are retired and we do this for our state and community. We developed a program called GTWO. (get the word out). Our state is not very big, and we have many small villages that have never had the chance to learn English. Our goal was to open 10 schools in one year. We opened 11. It was a great success. We committed to 1 year to open small schools throughout Nayarit for the people to see the importance of learning English and how it can change their life. After the 1 year commitment we will close the on site schools and they will be invited to join our schools and programs in Tepic. We have taken over the English programs in Universities and other schools. We will be opening a Bilingual school hopefully by the end of 2009. We are building our new bilingual school and that takes time. This is Mexico. The land of tomorrow.
All students who participated in our program outside Tepic will have first priority to enter the new bilingual school. We will continue with our Language School also, but it will only be in the Tepic mother school.

So, what is the business plan? Are the village schools profit making, or does the training money the teachers pay subsidize the schools?

The teacher do not pay for the training. It is free. The only thing we ask is that they complete their contract, whatever the contract term may be for each teacher. Of course, if their is an emergency, like one teacher developed cancer and he had to leave. Another teacher his mother died and needed to go home. The small villages are not profit making. TEPIC school is the mother school and supported the teachers and schools where the tuition was not enough.

Can we have some stats- number of teachers, staff turnover, number of students etc?

On average we have over 300 students. Tepic on average has 150 plus students. The small schools in the villages are on average of 25 to 60 per school. We do not allow a class to be bigger than 10 students. All classes are 10 students or less in all our schools. Tepic is the mother school and it is fully staffed. All business is run from here. In total we have hired 25 candidates. Out of 25 we had 11 make it through the training and get to their own school in one of the villages.

So, how many native speaker teachers that are not members of your family work for your schools at the time of writing?

We will not give any information on teachers or staff. At this time, they are being bothered by the 2 web sites here in Mexico run by the 2 individuals we do not know, as well as a couple of black list individuals. They harass and threaten the teachers and staff in their attempt to get revenge.

All I’m asking for is a number of people.

How many people we have has nothing to do with the quality or qualifications of a school. Your getting off the original agreement . (My answer is above)

What are your unique selling points?

1. Our method. 2. We teach students to speak.
We have seen their dreams come true. We have been part of them getting jobs in major businesses, and in other countries. One of our big goals was to get students to know the culture, customs, and the language of other countries so that they can get good jobs in our country here, Mexico. We have seen that happen. There is no need to go to other countries if you can have your own business, or make a living here in Mexico. In Nayarit, our reputation speaks for itself. Teachers who teach English in other schools come to our school to learn English. People in Governments, come to our school to learn English. Doctors come to our school to learn English. They know when they come here, they are going to learn to speak English and have fun doing it. The Latin students are tired of grammar, books, cassettes, and boring classes. They are tired of spending a lot of money to learn to read or write, but not speak or understand. Our method is amazing. It is fun, dynamic, and full of visual learning. Students are in front of the class 80 percent, the teacher 20 percent.

What are the job titles and roles of yourself, your wife and other members of your families?

I own the school. I am Mexican. I speak 6 languages and I worked in the USA with the GOVT. My wife is the principal and a teacher. She keeps things organized and decorates all the schools and apartments. We plan on turning it over to someone else after the bilingual school is open, so we can continue to travel around the world. WE have a few more places we want to see. But, it will stay in the family. That is the Mexican way.
Other family are teachers, trainers, and moral support. I do not hire Mexican teachers for the Language Schools. I will for the bilingual schools for the afternoon classes, but they must be born in the USA or from Mexico if they have the cultural experience. We have other staff, all Mexican. (non-teaching) positions.

What are the backgrounds and qualifications of the people in top positions?

We do not reveal any educational backgrounds on any of our staff. Mexican or American. Just as we do not disclose the acedemic backgrounds of any of our teachers. This is to protect the person, as well as the families of the staff. Some of our staff has worked is sensitive jobs and are under guidelines that they must follow. I can tell you that backgrounds include 4 year degrees, master degrees and doctrine degrees. The backgrounds include Psychology, Business, Philosophy, Religion, Criminal Justice, Firefighter/paramedic, Engineering, Holistic Medicine, Death and dying Counselors, Military, Education, Linguistics, Analysis, among others.

This seems like a spurious argument to me. If somebody working in your school has come up with an entirely new method of teaching English, they should have a recognised English teaching qualification that they could quite easily state here. Here’s an example- I have a BSc (Hons) from the University of Birmingham, a Cambridge CTEFLA from Angloschool in London and a Cambridge DELTA from BLC in Madrid, plus some other more minor TEFL qualifications. I wouldn’t give out my address or telephone number online, but I had no problems giving that personal information. Can you please do the same for yourself and your wife? If you really don’t want to make that information public (again, I can’t imagine why), you can tell me. I will then check with the university and publish the fact that I have found out that you do indeed have postgraduate qualifications, without mentioning in public which institution and which qualifications.

First, I do not care if you publish this or not. It does not affect us either way. Secondly, I will not disclose any personal information. I do not expect you to understand. You have no idea what jobs or life was experienced before retirement of anyone involved in this school. I do not owe you or anyone else an explanation. This is not about the past. It is about a school that teaches English and in 5 years has produced hundreds of English speaking students. That is the future. Teacher Candidates have no need to know anything else about any staff members other than what concerns their job, school and students. They come here to teach, and enjoy our culture and hospitality. IF that is not enough then there are plenty of schools for them to teach in. What speaks louder is the production. The students and the parents are the best voice.
We are with the SEP National Federal Educational Program. It is not easy to be affiliated with them as a Language School. It is a long process and takes a lot of patience to provide all the information they ask for. That means they have seen our entire program and done in depth interviews, know our program, our backgrounds, and us. We have been with them 5 years. They are monitors for the Mexican educational programs. They can come in any time and observe or close a school. If you check you will see very few in Mexico that are affiliated with SEP as a LANGUAGE PROGRAM. As a bilingual or regular Mexican school, they must all be accepted by SEP but Language schools do not need to be affiliated.
I must ask you to respect our privacy and understand that we are a very private family and intend to stay that way. There is a reason for everything we do, and you will simply just need to honor that.

If you want to keep your qualifications completely secret that is of course your right. Does that mean that you never mention your qualifications or those of your wife to teachers and students?

See the answer above.

The blacklist

When, how and why did the blacklist start, and how has it changed since it was first set up (e.g. have people been added more recently)?

The blacklist started almost a year ago. That is when we started hiring ESL teachers. At first, we were quite naive. We thought everyone in this business was doing this because they were good people, and they had a passion or love for working with children. We had no idea of the dark side of this business. . It became apparent that there were some great people but there also were some very bad people that had no business being around children. We started doing background checks. Very thorough ones. What we found was shocking in some cases. We spoke to other schools all over the world, who had more experience in this field then we did. The USA was very helpful and a couple schools in Asia, as well as research on the subject. We were shocked once again what we were told by several schools.
It was only after observing first hand the behavior, and grotesque actions that we decided that is was our duty and obligation to expose these individuals and give the schools a heads up that they could be a problem and to check further into the backgrounds. We made it very clear in our ad’s that we were very strict and conservative and would not allow many behaviors other schools may overlook. Just like anywhere, if a person does not report something that is illegal, they become guilty of a crime also. A teacher in the states must report even the suspicion of any type of child abuse. If not she can lose her job among other things. If a teacher candidate does something here at our school, and we do not report it, then that teacher goes to another school after we terminated them and does the same thing and on and on, then we are responsible for that action by not reporting and exposing what we know about that teacher. In Mexico, a teacher is not allowed to have any intimate relationship with a student. Our school does not and will not allow such actions.

Most of the entries mention things that are crimes under Mexican and US law. If you have enough evidence to publicly name and shame such people (and hence enough evidence to be able to win a libel case if one of them decided to start one), you must therefore have enough evidence to hand over to the police for a prosecution to go ahead. Why don’t you take that route instead?

They are in the hands of the police. But, this is Mexico, and things take time. An example: I was with a Ministerio Publico (like a judge) yesterday. An attorney and his clients were in the office looking very tired. I walked in and asked for a copy of a report. The attorney said “son, have a seat. We have been here since 8 am. (it was now 8 pm). My clients family got shot last May 08. Today is the first chance the MP had a chance to go to the crime scene.” I was very sympathetic for the family.
In Mexico, you have to file a demand in the place the crime took place. In most of these cases that is in a small village. The other issue is these people took off and ran. They had the chance to give back what they stole, or money they owed the school, but chose to not try and clear up the issue. We gave them notice and time to return and clear up the problem and that door is still open to some of them. In other cases, they are so severe that the investigations are ongoing. Even in the USA or other western countries, investigations can take days to years. It is also important to not make any mistakes in the investigation. One mistake can cause a very bad criminal to go free. I am sure you have heard of such cases. Mexican Law is very different than the USA. In the USA there are times we know they committed the crime but do not have enough evidence to convict. Most of the blacklist have the opportunity to rectify the issue. We have had 8 cell phones stolen thus far, 5 federal educational ID’s, with their photos on them, 6 bank cards, (visa), that we give to them, and of course money. The destruction of some of the schools are devastating. Everything in them are brand new, and they are very organized, clean, and stocked well. Each teacher in each small town is on a trust basis. They collect the money from the students twice a month and deposit it. There is no one looking over their shoulders.
The other issues are behavioral. It may not be a crime, but do you want that behavior in your school? Or, are you ready to overlook a teacher sleeping with a student? We are not. We make it clear before they get here. We send out the rules of our school. You can also go online to see what we expect. There is a copy of a sample contract online.
The other issue is some of them have issues in the USA, and that can be very complicated in the laws from country to country. The other issue, is some of them change their names, date of birth, or age and height. It is harder to get the background, and can take quite sometime. In the meantime they can cause a lot of damage before they are asked to leave. What we put on the blacklist, is what we have seen, observed and have witnesses to. We have done all we can, and there are some cases getting ready to make an arrest when they find him/them.

Even if all that was true, if you cannot prove those accusations with the same level of proof that the police would require, you are guilty of libel.

I am not sure where your information of not having the level of proof came from. It is up to the police to prove the case. Not us. It is up to the suspect to prove his/her innocence. Our only duty is to report the crimes. Each of the crimes the police are called in to investigate. We work hand and hand with them on every teacher that has allegations made against them to come to the correct conclusion of what happened without a doubt. I think what you are stuck on is the “mental disorder” which was the professional opinion of licensed doctors observing them in and out of class.
If a man likes pictures of underage girls. That is a crime and a mental disorder. A teacher steals a cell phone, money, uniforms, books, etc…. That is a crime. Someone goes out of his way to destroy property and an entire school, that is a crime. Someone who has prostitutes in a school, that is a crime. Would you not agree that any of the crimes above also are accompanied by some level of metal instability or disorder?
There is then an investigation made by the police. All information is gathered. What people in towns have observed. What students have observed. Photos are taken. Residues left in the apartment are tested to see if it is narcotics. All this information is put together with local law enforcement, It is very simple. Some cases are also being investigated in the USA.
Do not use drugs or you will get caught. Do not have sex with students or you will get caught. Do not steal money or property that does not belong to you or you will get caught. If you destroy school property it needs to be replaced and you will be prosecuted. If your background check comes up dirty you will get caught. Our number one priority is the protection of our students, staff, and schools.
There is no libel case. We have an international attorney that specializes in trademarks, libels, contracts, etc… With an exception of a few on the blacklist they can come return the money and pay what they owe as well as the items they stole. They can mail it in if they like. It will be noted on the blacklist that they rectified the problem. Once the problem has been rectified we will notify the local police of the rectification. The issue you should be looking into is why has not one person on the list offered to return stolen property, give back the money they stole, Id’s, phones, etc…? They could send it back in the mail.

So, they are guilty until proven innocent?

The above answer in correct and so is this one.

That is not what is being said. There is a big difference in being guilty and being convicted. Many are guilty of a crime but are not convicted of the crime because of a lack of sufficient evidence or a technicality. you are accused of a crime, in the USA and many western countries you must obtain an attorney. It now is up to your attorney and you to prove your innocence or cast a doubt. It is up to a court of law too and a jury to determine guilty beyond a shadow of doubt in the USA. In Mexico, it is different. In other countries it is different. The laws need to be respected in every country you or anyone else is in. Many people travel to other countries, especially ones they feel they can get away with more, and do not respect the laws. IT is not till they get caught, arrested, or prosecuted that they understand that they are not in their own country. There are many stories out there about disrespect for other countries people or/and laws. Mexico deals with individuals with their law. Not yours, not the USA, not Canada or other western laws. I am not American, Canadian, British or any other western nationality. We are a Mexican School that is conservative and has rules we expect to be followed, and students and schools we expect to be respected. The crimes are documented. If they are not guilty then why dont they rectify any accusation they can? Real innocense you do not go to blogs. You go to the source to clear up a situation. You dont RUN, you face the truth.

Couldn’t you achieve exactly the same thing (warning employers) by printing their names and “contact us if you need more information of why we would not recommend them for other teaching jobs”? That at least would be slander rather than libel.

no

There are 11 people on the list. Can you give us numbers for (1) people who left before their end of their contracts, e.g. did a runner, (2) people who you fired, (3) people who finished their contract?

This is very difficult, due to the reasons behind the departures. I cannot go into detail on any one person. There are cases still open. I will let you word the names. I will tell you the names and you number them how you want.

(He gave me a list of names and details, which seems to boil down to one runner, two mutually agreed, and all the others fired)

If you mutually agreed with two people that they should leave, isn’t it rather backstabbing to still put them on the blacklist?

Let me give you the perfect example. EDITED, was speaking with one of the local doctors about his mental condition. He and ourselves came to the conclusion that he would give 4 weeks notice to bring in a new teacher and help train the new incoming teacher. He then sent this email

I thought you did not want names? Are you a real journalist or do you not have the capacity to remain fair and balanced?

That would of been great, except that EDITED did not honor the letter, contract, or the 4 week notice. It was 24 hours. He left the next day and took many things with him that did not belong to him. EDITED was given every chance to clear up the issue. Long before he was put on the blacklist. He chose to not clear it up. EDITED signed the contract knowing full well what was in it and the conditions. He broke the contract and did not honor the contract. The only backstabbing are those writing lies on a blog after being treated very well, and very fair. The only backstbbing is when we put our trust into teachers and they abused it.

Those sentences about EDITED were not in the email I sent you. I don’t know how it got in there but the only thing I can suggest is that one person over there started answering the question and another person carried on without realising that. I do not want to give a false bad impression of you due to just a misunderstanding, so would you like to delete the above and just answer the question again?

I added what I think will clarify more what we are saying.

One of the entries lists 13 accusations. Did he do them all on the same day? If not, why was he still employed at the school after you found out about the first?

What you have to realize is after training the teachers go out to the school. These schools are 1-2-3 to 8 hours away. There is nobody watching them or looking over their shoulder. They have tons of freedom and that may lead to the downfall of some who may need more structure. There is a meeting in Tepic once every two weeks and usually someone checks the small schools once a month. Due to the level of trust given to each teacher to do the right thing. We usually will not find out about things that have happened until it is too late. These accusations are not made by us and that is where many people are mistaken. These accusations are made by the students in the schools. It is impossible for us to see if he put cocaine on candy as we are hours away. The kids told us and the parents were very angry. So in support for our students we pursued this further and found the drugs in his apartment along with light bulbs used for smoking crystal meth. A full blown investigation was initiated. He was terminated the same day we were called by parents and showed up with the police. There are currently 3 police reports and case numbers against this individual. When students tell us something we do not jump to a conclusion. It is investigated first to find out if there is any merit in the accusation. When it is substantiated the proper steps are taken to ensure the safety of the students.
Many people don’t think about the consequences of their actions. One teacher destroyed the life of one student. She was a University student chasing her dream of becoming a Veterinarian. A cute girl that he started sleeping with from a small ranch town. She was a virgin and fell in love with him. Her mother went after him with a machete. He was fired and she was kicked out of the school. Her family was devastated. She dropped out of University thinking she was going to marry him and move to the USA. He left her and went back to the USA. She now is a cashier at the pharmacy. Her whole life has gone downhill because of his selfishness to cross the line with a student. It is sad and makes me sick to think he was a part of this school for a short time. The family was notified that the teacher was fired immediately and their daughter was being expelled for breaking school rules.

Basically the same question as above- if you have a lot of evidence for each person, why were you collecting evidence when you should have been just getting them out of the school (even with paid leave until their contract was up if you were really concerned about safety of children etc)?

They were not still in the schools when we found out any of this. They either were gone, or fired immediately. Once again, they make you think we were around them all the time. This is not true. We have schools anywhere from 1 hour to 8 hours from here. NO one is there with the teacher. The teacher goes to the village, community and blends in and becomes part of that community. We do not interfere unless we have a reason. The school monitor goes around 1 time a month. It was not till we got a complaint for a student or parent that we were aware of the problem. WE all are in Tepic. None of those teachers were teachers for Tepic. They were terminated as soon as possible, or they got scared and ran because they were affraid of what would happen to them when the police arrived.
We bring candidates to Tepic to train, and that is why we are able to terminate candidates that we feel are not qualified or dependable, or ethical for a school of their own in one of the small towns. In a few cases we sent a Mexican assistant with them till the full backgrounds got back. We also sent a Mexican assistant to report back to us on the condition of the schools and apartments as well as she would speak to the students and familes for information. That is how we were able to act as quick as we did in some cases.

The main point I get out the above is that some of the accusations are based on information from the students that you cannot confirm. Even if you really found said drugs in the room, that is not proof that the incident happened as your student said. By publishing that hearsay you are guilty of libel.

We have the proof 100 percent. Without a doubt.

If all the accusations were true, don’t you think that would reflect badly on your school to have employed such people in the first place?

Of course. But if I was worried about everything everyone said about me, and acted on manipulating their opinions, then I would have to compromise my own morals, values and ethics. I will always do the right thing. What I feel is right for my students, family, and the welfare of students here or in any other school in the world. What value does a reputation have if it is bought and paid for? Telling the truth is not always easy, nor popular, as in this case. But not telling the truth is far more dangerous to other human beings, and no reputation is worth 1 innocent person being hurt, or harmed in any way. I cannot have that on my conscience.
Many of those people never made it to a school. They were eliminated in training. In fact I think only 3 or 4 off the top of my head have actually made it past the training period. The blacklist is not for a popularity contest obviously. If another school hires them that is fine with me. But it is only fine if we did our part in letting them know that there is a risk. If something happens to one of their students we did our job informing them of the information we have and that a school may want to dig deeper into the references etc. of these people.

My point is, I am a professional and experienced English teacher who would avoid your school because you have done something unprofessional like putting up the blacklist. That is enough, without any need to even read other rumours.

If you read blogs without facts or speaking to us or visiting our schools or speaking with our current teachers, and believe everything you read from total strangers, then I think you avoiding our school would be a good idea.

I never claimed I was a journalist, I clearly stated that the interview was for my blog and that I was a teacher from the very first email. I did, however, say that I had written for the EL Gazette and that I aimed to keep to journalistic standards. That is true. Again, would you like to take this opportunity to delete the threat above and give a more acceptable answer? If not, I am quite happy to publish it as it is

(no answer)

What are your minimum requirements for teachers (qualifications and teaching experience)?

We will be changing that for our bilingual school for Sept. They will have to have 4 plus years of college, a teaching credential from the USA or other qualified place. They will need to speak at least 2 languages, and they will need 5 plus years teaching experience in the USA. TEFL, and other certs. are not required anymore. We do not want teachers that get on the computer and apply for a cert. or go to a school for 2 weeks or 4 weeks and come out calling themselves teachers. We have seen how unqualified many of those teachers are. For the rest of the qualifications I suggest you look at our web page. We are very strict, and conservative. We want teachers who are serious, and not here to back pack or party vacation time. We were more lenient for our 1 year program for the villages. The qualifications were basic. The pay was lower in the villages because the students could not pay a lot for the program. Tepic financed the program in most part and were proud to do so.
In Tepic, the teachers have 5 plus years teaching and all the above qualifications.

If all your present native speakers have US teaching qualifications and 5 plus years teaching, you must pay pretty well!

You do not read what was written. Pay attention to what was said. That is the new qualifications for our Bilingual School that will open at the end of the year. The current teachers were accepted with a lot less qualifications. We will pay a lot more for the bilingual School teachers.

Does that mean that a science teacher from the US who has no TESOL training or experience could teach in your school?

Yes it does. It will go on all qualifications, experience, and references. This again, will be for the bilingual school.

Do those teachers also have to take your training and pay for it?

Once again, the teachers have never paid for the training. It is free to all those that finish the contract or we mutually agree to terms.

What are the selling points of working for your school for professional qualified and experienced teachers?

The number one selling point is the method. It is so interesting and fun to teach. I learn from it everyday. It is very visual and dynamic. Teachers are given the opportunity to use their imagination in every lesson. You do not have someone looking over your shoulder every day. There is a lot of freedom and trust given to the teachers. The method takes ideas from Chomsky among others. It is extremely unique. That is the number one reason why there is a month training. This are not Backpack books and New Interchange. This is in front of the class teaching in a manner where the students are extremely active. The students love it and so do the teachers. Even most of the teachers who are unhappy with us loved the classes and the method. They saw results.
I have found that if you are extremely left brained you will not fit into the method as well. Teachers are treated very well. Taken on trips to the beaches, financial help, the school is extremely organized. You can always get exactly what you need and when you need it. If you are very needy you will not fit in. You need to be comfortable with yourself. The villages are full of Mexicans, and no Westerners. In most cases your out in a small village and are the only white person there. Many teachers can’t handle being completely submerged in the culture. It changes them and I believe they do things that they would not normally do. But, it can also be an experience to last a lifetime. The people here are so fun and loving. They are extremely affectionate and quite passive in this area.
We celebrate every holiday here. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are celebrated with the students in the most traditional ways. Costumes, cooking together, music and Santa Claus. Dramas, plays, poems, stories, and much more. The schools are all brand new, and the apartments are within most of the schools so they are all very quaint and nice.

Again, if you have your own method, what are the credentials behind that? Every TESOL teacher in the world knows what Chomsky said, but that is hardly proof that their methods work. Research for an MA? Published papers?

Once again, if the method did not work we would not be in business. The public knows the difference in a school that works and one that does not. It is not just Chomsky. It is influenced by other scholars also. Every single teacher that was here saw the results of the method. Not one every criticized or scorned the method. Just the opposite. In all the gossip, you have never seen anything negative about the method. Because the method is great. It works, and the students are the proof.

Don’t you think the present controversy would make such teachers less likely to work for your school?

Like I said before this is not done for a popularity contest. We are a bit of a black sheep rebel school in the ESL world. I feel if someone can not see the gossip for what it is, they probably don’t belong here. If you actually look at the blogs, it is the same 4 or 5 people who were fired. There is one other blogger named Guy who I do not know. He works in DF. He was offered numerous times all the police reports, numbers, photos, everything under a privacy condition. To put it all to rest. But, he declined. I am guessing he is just trying to get his name out there. He does not really care about the truth or he would have accepted. I think he is more interested in fame and bashing than anything else. He does own a school in DF and gets teachers to pay for the training. Showing he supports teachers, good or bad, is in his best interest. As with Mr. Denness.
If you are fired it hurts your ego. If you are caught stealing and fired you are extremely embarrassed. If you are fired, caught stealing, and exposed that is the ultimate. If we wanted to be really vengeful we could post exactly what they did with a photo of them. Could you imagine your photo next to statements and photos of a feces covered room? OR worse? We do not believe that is necessary. Plus, We do believe in a degree of privacy to keep reprisals from happening. More important, it is not necessary to say any more than what has been said.
I am not concerned whatsoever about the gossip on blogs. My concern is providing a safe, secure environment for my students and staff. As life goes, the rest will take care of itself.

As I said, this will make professional teachers avoid a school that is odd enough to have a blacklist, and so will in no way improve the level of teaching or safety and progress of your students.

The only teachers that will avoid this school are ones we do not want here. Real teachers are not interested in gossip or the comments from people they do not know. An intelligent person will not even stoop to the level of online blogs that are for the personal purposes of revenge or vendictive gossip.

Other stuff

There have been quite a few online complaints about accommodation. What is the logic behind having (some of?) the accommodation in the same building as the school?

The accommodations for each place are posted online. Photos are sent beforehand. I actually have emails from the complainers saying how much they love it. If you are angry and want to damage a school what would you say to prevent other teachers from coming? Obviously, accommodations are an easy target. They all are furnished , have tv, dvd players, phones, internet, fans, kitchens, desk, tables, etc… Again, this is Mexico. It is a 3rd world country. Of course things break but are fixed quickly. When it rains the electricity goes out. Houses are built with small pipes. You can not place toilet paper, tampons, etc.. down the toilet. If you do it will be clogged. A plunger will not fix it. The system has to be blown out. That may take a couple days. If a teacher does not listen to things that we say we can not prevent those things from happening. It is Mexico not New York. One teacher had to wait a week for a new hot water heater to be put in. I am sorry but things do not move quickly. I myself have to wait for these things as well. The workers get there when they get there.
Accommodations in the school has worked out two ways. One, it is impossible to be late and two it is convenient for the teacher. They do not have to pay for transportation etc… They do not have to pay utilities because it is all included. They are able to save more money. The buildings are all new. Most of the places we were the first to be there. We send photos to everyone, and when they get here, they see the different schools and are very excited about the accommodations. We have emails from them praising the accomodations and very happy with the entire set up.

Could you describe the teachers’ accommodation that is in the same building as the Tepic school?

This building is brand new. The apartment on the 3rd level was just built and finished. It is very nice a quite lovely. A great view of the entire city, with a bar on the huge 40 foot balcony. Everything is brand new. We have photos online and we send them detail photos before they arrive. The teacher accommodations in Tepic are only for training. Nothing else. It is 3-4 weeks then you are off to your town. It has a twin bed, mini closets, shelves for clothes and shoes, new tile, new hot water heater, private bathroom, with shower, toilet and sink all brand new. Just put in this last year. Hacienda furniture, with leather table and chairs, tv, dvd player, internet, fans, big picture windows, salmon colored walls, in the best part of Tepic on the tourist track. Walking distance to the historical downtown and running parks, are right in front. 3rd level view of the park. All teachers are told beforehand that they may share accomodation in Tepic only for the training period. After that you live alone. There are pictures as well on the website.

There have also been online complaints about the initial training. Can you explain what it consists of and the thinking behind that system?

To begin with we give them a couple days to rest, unwind, and adjust. We then go over again all the rules and expectations for the next 4 weeks. The first couple days they observe. After that we put them in front of the class and they start their real teaching training. There is a training teacher with them at all times. The students that are here, have been here quite some time and are aware of the program. We train the candidates in the classroom and after the class. They get evaluations in every class by the training teacher and the students. We emerge them into the method and by the 3rd week they are comfortable and feeling more confident. We observe their behavior with all ages of students, and their patience levels. We observe if they can take control of a class or if it controls them. Their voice level and pronunciation is crucial.
we are aware of only one complaint by a teacher that finished it. The other complaints were made by people who were released after a short time or failed the training. Again a majority of the people complaining were not here more than two weeks before being released. It is a time for us to see if they are fit for the position. If you were released after two weeks because you were not a good fit for the system of course your going to say it was bad. We actually read one complainer who never even saw a class. She arrived saturday and was asked to leave Sunday. She lied on her resume and her background check came back dirty.
The fact is a majority of the teachers ASK to do an extra week so that they feel more prepared and comfortable.
Have you not noticed that the complaints on our school are not our method, schools, or compensation? Not 1. It is personal attacks on the owners. That is the extent. Anything else you can see it is a great stretch.

So, there are no workshops/ input sessions- just observations?

There are a lot of workshops, input sessions and ongoing training.

What observation tasks and ranking system during observations do you use?

We are NOT a training school who charges for the trainings. We are a private school that trains the teachers in our method and does it for free. We only expect the teachers to honor the contract. I will not go into our program. You can come and see for yourself anytime. You are welcome.

Who are the trained and experienced teacher trainers in your school? What previous teacher training experience do they have?

We are not mentioning names so that is not important. Those are your rules remember? Our teachers are trained and have all certifications to do the training.

That course costs almost the same as a Cambridge CELTA or a Trinity CertTESOL, qualifications that will get teachers jobs in reputable schools like AUA, International House and the British Council all over the world. How can that be good value for money?

Once again, our training is free. British teachers are not in high demand here. In fact, the students and parents have made it very clear that they want teachers with no accents. Mexico is close neighbors to the USA. That is the English they want. Cambridge Schools in Mexico have not done very well. In fact, 2 have closed down here in Nayarit alone. Students were very bored with the method. Students are tired of the boring classes provided by “name” schools that do not produce speaking students, but charge a lot of money.

Most well respected courses have 6 to 8 hours of observed teaching practice in four weeks. What is the logic between having 20 to 30 hours a week for your teachers? How can teachers reflect on what they are doing and improve when they have a full teaching timetable?

They do not have full time teaching hours. They are with a training teacher the entire time. The problem now is teachers pay a lot of money for your courses and get very few real teaching hours. What, 10, 12 at most 15 in the entire 6 weeks? Then they are now called teachers, and when they get a method that they really have to be a real teacher, they do not know what to do. Teachers need practice teaching, and being in front of a class, and taking what they have learned and putting it into real time. Many teachers feel they are great, and that the class was perfect, until you get the evals from the students, and they did not understand anything they heard. Teachers need a lot more hours in front of real students to learn what works or does not work. To get comfortable in their own skin. To learn to connect with the class and see results they can really see and know they were the reason.

Most courses also only have trainees teaching only free courses. Were the people your trainees were teaching during those 4 weeks paying students?

Yes they are paying students. Every single one of them. We are training teachers to teach, we are training teachers in a new method. We are qualified and certified to teach teachers but that is not our focus at this school. Our focus is to teach teachers the method. Our students enjoy being part of the process and are very active in the process.

The site of your school could do with some professional proofreading. It might be a small thing, but I find such lack of attention to detail is never a good sign when starting to work for a school. Any comments?

Yes it does. It was done by a Mexican. We also put that in our responses that we are working on the web page. A gentleman from the USA is proofreading and helping us right now to make it look better. It has not been on the web for long. It took months to do, and we are still making changes to it.
And yes, it is a small thing. I have seen many people who write beautiful, but cannot teach students to speak and do not have the talent to be in front of a class. Why do you think there are ghost writers out there? Why can people write beautiful songs, and music, but cannot sing it or dare try? You will not see a school anywhere that is more organized and clean than this one. The organizational skills are to the level of annoying. I have a great staff to thank for that.

I have no proofreading training, but as a native speaker teacher I could find 95% of the errors in a couple of hours. Why doesn’t your wife just do it?

We want the scholar to provide us with ideas and other opinions.

Do you also use your own teaching materials? Do they have a more professional person proofreading them?

Our material has been revised as the school has grown. It now is almost complete. We built a 5 year program and until we have it just the way we want it we are not going to mass produce it. It is almost complete. Books are not a big part of our program. Most students have tons of English books from all the schools they have attended. We are a visual school. Visual teaching and real life situations.
By the summer 09, we will have our material published and in the work force. A very exciting step for us. They will be trademarked and copyrighted.

What are the qualifications and experience of the people who wrote that material?

Very qualified. You can find out the qualifications when the book is published. Better yet, visit our school and speak to our students. Production in the flesh.

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66 Responses to Exclusive- Interview with Juan Pablo Falomir of Laughing Coyote School of English

  1. Alex Case says:

    Juan Pablo- Does what you have said mean that teachers who do not complete their contracts are charged for the training period?

  2. Alex Case says:

    (Answer from Juan Pablo by email)

    It depends on the situation. Every situation is unique. It also depends on the level of integrity in the departure. I gave examples of other canidates that had emergencies. Ethics are the main determination.

  3. Alex Case says:

    So, does that mean some of the people who you say owe you money on your blacklist only owe you money for the training? Also, did they sign a contact saying that they would pay for the training if they did not complete their contracts and how much they would have to pay?

  4. Andy Mallory says:

    Taking Mr Pablo at face value it seems he has indeed been very unfortunate with some of the staff he has employed. Some of the ‘crimes’ on the blacklist would be non-issues in many countries but are taken more seriously in Mexico because of the culture. Teachers going to work there ought to be aware of this and seem to have signed a code of conduct at the outset – so it would be completely fair for Mr Pablo to dismiss or report a teacher for having sex with an adult student while such behaviour would be up to consenting adults in most places.

    I think it’s unfortunate that a blacklist was started because there is no evidence presented. It could all be just made up. If there is evidence then put that in the hands of the police and let justice take it’s course, however slowly and imperfectly that may be. I think ALL employers in education should take up references when hiring staff but I know most don’t. The new trend to require criminal background checks is to be welcomed but is not working very smoothly as yet. There are usually loopholes etc., and many who are guilty have not been caught yet.

    Laws do differ from country to country and the premise of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is not universal. Libel laws also vary enormously in different jurisdictions. Mr Pablo is probably safe from any libel suit because few would want to embroil themselves in the Mexican legal system if they could possibly avoid it. It would be easy for a school to blacken a teacher’s name on a blacklist like this following a disagreement about money or contractual issues of the sort that occurs often in Korea, for example. It’s disturbing to see schools resorting to blacklisting because there is simply no comeback from a teacher who has been wrongfully accused. Mr Pablo believes he is right in these cases and therefore performing a public duty. We will just have to take his word for it as there is no way to know for sure either way. It does however make me suspicious and uneasy about applying to his school and I’m sure I’m not alone. I hope Mr Pablo reconsiders his blacklist policy and confines himself to reporting crimes to the police and giving references that limit themselves to verifiable facts – such as the individual X was reported to the police for theft/sexual assault etc. That would keep them from working in any reputable school. Schools that do not obtain references or conduct background checks will probably also ignore blacklists anyway.

    A serious problem with a blacklist is of course mistaken identity. There must be numerous people with names the same or similar to those blacklisted who could suffer because of the stigma, when they are completely innocent.

    Mr Pablo is taking the law into his own hands, to a certain extent, and that smacks of revenge. Blacklists can do no good and may be harmful to Mr Pablo’s school and innocent teachers wrongfully or mistakenly accused.

    Also – while I applaud the notion of putting subsidised one teacher schools in remote villages, it is asking for trouble. Is it impossible to locate a responsible professional person of high standing who could look in on the foreign teacher more often than is possible at present? Surely there is a priest, doctor or local schoolteacher who would be willing to visit weekly or to whom complaints could be taken with more immediate effect? Just a thought, but it seems odd and perhaps irresponsible to leave young and inexperienced staff alone like that.

    On a more positive note, I’m curious about this new method and look forward to hearing more about it at some stage. It’s fair to say that what is taught on CELTA type courses is not effective with all students in all situations, so it’s good to hear of a school trying something ‘new’. Having said that there are a lot of gimmicks in teaching and what the student thinks they want/need is not necessary real progress.

    Finally, I wish Mr Pablo well with his project and hope he is luckier in the future than he seems to have been in the past. There are a lot of bad people in the world and some of them gravitate towards teaching English abroad for some very unsavoury reasons. It is not all of us, nor is it the majority. By the way, damning all users of Dave’s ESL cafe en bloc just seems silly. I hope Mr Pablo at least removes that slur.

    Thanks to Alex and Mr Pablo for a very balanced and interesting interview.

  5. Andy Mallory says:

    Sorry – I see now it’s Mr Juan Pablo Falomir and not Mr Pablo. My mistake.

  6. Gary Denness says:

    Just to set the record straight on a few points, if I may. I recently wrote a post in my blog (LINK BROKEN) and receive a few mentions. Firstly, Mr Falomir at one stage seems to indirectly imply that I have been fired from his school. This could simply be due to his poor use of English. But if not, I would like to point out that I have never worked for Mr Falomir, nor any other school in Tepic. In fact I have only been in Tepic once, in 2003, for about an hour whilst waiting for my next bus to San Blas.

    My motives for my post are questioned, as are Guy’s. I’d like to point out that in 6 years of blogging I have commented on just three schools. One positive, two negative. One of the two being the LCS. The other being a school in Chicago which was defrauding schools. I’m hardly in the business of randomly assaulting schools with libel and slander. I rather feel that Mr Falomir’s interview on this blog would ring alarm bells with most people, purely on the secrecy he maintains for things which should be promoted not hidden, for the glaring inconsistencies and the bizarre nature of many of his replies.

    A few questions though, if he’d care to answer them. He claims his course is free, repeatedly. Clearly it is not. There is an obligation to complete the contract. It has a monetary value to it. This is a common method often utilised by unscrupulous fraudsters to snare the naive and vulnerable. If he has confidence in his course, should he not charge for it? This would be a far more upfront arrangement. He could of course refund the course fees upon completion of the contract.

    I understand that those who ‘skip’ before completing the contract are accused of theft. Actually, that would be a civil matter and not a criminal matter. Therefore not theft. Will he remove those accusations from his blacklist?

    Where did he obtain the information regards the teachers mental conditions? Is he aware that it is illegal to breach patient/doctor confidentiality by posting these on his website without permission from the patient, even here in darkest Mexico? For someone so insistent that others should be held accountable according to the law, he seems happy enough to break it repeatedly himself.

    Guy was offered details on the Black Listed teachers by Jeremy. He did not decline. He even gave his email address and asked for the details. Jeremy has not posted a comment on my blog post since then. Guy has received no details.

    I don’t think Mr Falomir has thought his business strategy through very well at all. He doesn’t seem to fully appreciate that his website and the controversy around it will keep good teachers away. Dismissing that rather obvious fact by claiming “The only teachers that will avoid this school are ones we do not want here.” is silly.

  7. Gary Denness says:

    Incidentally, and I speak only for Mexico City, British teachers are in great demand. Thank you Mr Bush!

    Joking aside, many Mexicans seem to hold a grudge against the USA. Not Americans, but the nation. Many also consider the US to be lacking in culture. British English is often considered the original, and therefore ‘purer’ brand of English, which also holds its appeal.

    I don’t personally hold those views. But I have benefited from them.

  8. Guy Courchesne says:

    Good show Alex! Very good job on the interview.

    I am This Guy, one of the two Mexico bloggers Juan Pablo mentioned in the interview. I just wanted to comment here quickly to clarify a few issues.

    I have repeatedly asked in other online discussions regarding Laughing Coyote school to be provided with police report or case numbers. I did not decline them as I was not offered them. I was offered photos and stories, but no case numbers. The reason I requestd the case numbers was so that I might call up the relevant police departments in Nayarit state and presiding ministerios publicos (jutsices of the peace) to confirm the cases had been filed. As of today, I am still waiting to receive those case numbers from one of the family members that owns this school chain.

    Answering Juan Pablo a little more directly, I do indeed work as a TEFL course instructor in Mexico City. I’ve been blogging and writing about EFL in Mexico for quite some time and yes, I do show my support for teachers. And schools as a matter of fact. I started a blog entry about Laughing Coyote that highlighted the Blacklist. I later noticed that Mr. Denness (who is an EFL teacher in DF) had done the same a few days earlier. Both of us found the blacklist to be quite strange and saw a need to bring it to the attention of the community as a whole. I think that with the overwhelming outcry we’ve seen as a result shows that this is indeed a story that needed to be told.

    Alex, are you familiar at all with cases of libel that cross international lines? Mexican law does allow for suing someone for libel and it’s my opinion that Laughing Coyote can (and should) be sued locally. However, I’m not sure of legal precedent where the Internet was the medium in a case. I am wondering if, for example, one of the blacklistees could sue for libel from the US.

  9. Alex Case says:

    Thanks for commenting Guy

    No idea about libel law, I’m afraid.

    What did you tell them about checking out the other evidence, e.g. photos, and posting about that?

    What is DF?

  10. Sandy says:

    Nice one, Alex. Juan Pablo and his gang of [EDITED] clearly come across as the [EDITED] of the EFL world. Thing is, I could have told you that, without you having to go to the length of actually communicating with the guy. Did you doubt my word, and my sharp penetrating psychological insights?!?

    On second thoughts, don’t answer that. Some things are best left unsaid…

  11. Sandy says:

    For somebody who has “no idea about libel law”, Alex, you’re pretty quick to bring out the sharpened blue pencils! Sadly, I didn’t realise “Jehovah’s Witnesses” could be viewed in a libelous light…

  12. Alex Case says:

    Nope, just trying to be nice. Although maybe thinking that is an insult isn’t being nice to them at all…

  13. Guy Courchesne says:

    DF is Distrito Federal, or Federal District. Sorry, here in Mexico no one says Mexico City. I forget sometimes when posting that no one knows that outside of Mexico. Mexico City, DF…like saying Washington, DC.

    Regarding the photos, stories, etc that I was offered. At first, I requested solely the case numbers. Jeremy at Laughing Coyote seemed to play a little game of hide the peanut by offering to send me photos and stories (but no police file numbers) with a ‘privacy condition’, which I assume meant they wouldn’t want me to share it. I responded by saying I was interested in the case numbers only. This is why Juan Pablo and Jeremy say I declined the info.

    I asked again (all of this exchange took place on Gary Denness’ blog by the way) and received another evasive response. When Jeremy began to claim that I had declined the information, as Juan Pablo does in your interview, I posted again providing my email address and agreed to accept whatever they would send. That was about a week ago and I haven’t received anything as yet. The entire exchange can be read at Gary’s blog at LINK BROKEN

    While Jeremy insisted on a ‘privacy condition’, I neither accepted nor declined that particular request. I made no threat to publicly reveal anything about the information though if asked now about it, I probably would have posted some of my findings including the police file numbers, which should already be in the public domain in Mexico if they do indeed exist.

  14. Alex Case says:

    Hi Guy

    I think the best way of going forward with that part of it whilst taking away everybody’s excuses for lack of progress is:
    - You say you will receive whatever evidence they choose to send, and not reveal any details but only say whether you think it is sufficient proof to make you accept that the blacklist is a good idea or not
    - If they think you or we need more persuasion (e.g. if your judgement goes against them), they might be willing to release more information such as the case numbers. Or not, that is their choice

    I am willing to take on the same role as Guy in this receiving information if they need another volunteer

  15. Elka Bronn says:

    Publish and be damned! Guy, Alex, I’m willing to run the “risk” of giving the stuff a public airing, if you can get hold of it first.

  16. Guy Courchesne says:

    I could agree to not revealing any details. However, I was never interested in being judge and jury on the affair. I solely wanted to get the case numbers so I can verify them with the Nayarit police and court.

    I’m not impartial on this. I doubt mightily that anything on the blacklist is true and ultimately seek the removal of the blacklist. Asking for the case numbers seems the quickest way to achieve that goal.

  17. jeremy says:

    Alex, My name is Jeremy and I am one of the members of Laughing Coyote. I have been quite busy and not on the internet lately. I pretty much stopped posting on the blogs last week for a couple of reasons (they play games and are not serious about getting down to facts). It’s January and lots of students are signing up. It is a busy time of the year.
    I personally offered Guy everything I had and he declined. I believe I posted asking four times. There was a privacy condition because some of the involved victims are minors. I do not believe they need to be splashed all over a blog. Especially, on the sensitive photos of one case.
    The only people that have access to police numbers are Mr. Falomir and the accused. Guy seems to think there is public domain and he will find out something over the phone or internet. This is not Canada Guy. Mr. Falomir can not even obtain a copy without filling out a form to the Ministro Publico stating that he wants a copy. It also has to be done in person. It has to be done in the Ministro Publico office of one of these villages. So Guy would not be able to obtain any information even if it were posted on the blog. His continued inane request to post case numbers would have made no difference at all. That is why I offered the information to him. He also had the option to come here and accompany Mr. Falomir to each office. I would have provided accommodation free of charge during his stay.
    Alex, give me a couple of days to get copies, speak with Mr. Falomir, and lawyers on what I can send etc… I will forward some of the case numbers, photos, etc.. to you. I honestly do not have time to collect information on each individual at the moment. I teach and work for a living. I will give you a sample of a couple of individuals to get an idea of what the reasoning is for them being on the blacklist. We will have a privacy condition not to post the information all over the blog (for obvious reasons). You can then form your own opinion on whether or not they could be a threat to future employers and/or children. The same exact offer I made to Guy 4 times and gave up.
    I honestly do not have time to play around, gossip, and bash like on Gary’s blog. If you want to come to an agreement then send an email to the school email. I will do my best to give you the required information so that you may form an opinion to share.

  18. Gary Denness says:

    Is Mr Falomir trying to give his side of the story, or to clear his name? From the interview I would say both. To do the latter he needs to come up with more details.

    For me the whole story is in the Black List itself. Even if the allegations were true, it’s still thoroughly unprofessional.

    As for what details he could send – more photos and stories doesn’t cut it for me. We’ve been given enough stories by both sides, and more photos, copied and pasted emails et al substantiates nothing. Case numbers would be far more revealing and worthy of consideration.

    The evidence so far available that I do believe to be generally worthy of consideration?

    *The existence of the Black List.

    *The lack of plausibility on the part of the LCS – a teacher was fired on the first day, and there was still time to diagnose a bi polar disorder? Mental disorder memory loss? There’s no such thing. The LCS are making things up, that is clear.

    *The lack of consistency from the LCS – the LCS switch between willingness and unwillingness to share data on an hourly basis.

    There is very clearly something wrong at the LCS, and no PhD’s are required to see that. The onus is very much on Mr Falomir to produce something to back up his assertations. There’s been nothing of note forthcoming so far.

    Incidentally, am I the only one who sees the irony in Mr Falomir’s complaint that teachers are using their websites to publicise their thoughts about Mr Falomir’s website publicising his thoughts on teachers? That’s a bit of a mouthful, I know…

    (Btw – does you commenting system not have an ‘email updates’ feature? It would make life easier with regard following the story)

  19. Alex Case says:

    Hi Gary

    I think what you have to do is subscribe the RSS feed and then select following comments too

  20. Gary Denness says:

    Jeremy, you clearly haven’t read through this thread carefully enough. Guy clearly hadn’t declined your offers.

    As I mentioned on my blog, you’ve been poorly informed regarding privacy laws in Mexico. Privacy laws here are federal laws and the Freedom of Information Act passed under Fox, and other laws since, detail what is and isn’t in the public domain. There is no problem with you sharing the numbers. Full stop. Fact. Doesn’t matter what part of Mexico you are in. I’ve checked with a student who is a government lawyer. Game over.

    It seems to me that you are the person playing some desperate games, but you only get to ‘pass’ on so many occasions before it’s clear you don’t have a hand to play. Why not come clean. There are no police numbers to give, are there?

  21. Gary Denness says:

    Thanks for the tip Alex.

  22. Alex Case says:

    Okay, this is how we are going to do this for lack of an agreement on anything better. I am going to select one person on the list and Jeremy is going to send me all the evidence they have on that one person. If they do not have enough evidence to prove every single online accusation against that person (including ones in this interview or made by Jeremy elsewhere, if there are any), then I will say that, in my totally amateur opinion, that person could successfully sue the school for libel. If I do not come to that conclusion, we will move onto the next person. Or, they could save themselves hundreds of hours of effort, show the fact that the list is not for revenge, show that they are willing to listen to people’s impartial advice, and save themselves possible further bad publicity by just changing the blacklist to “We do not recommend hiring the following people… please email us for further details” as I suggested in the interview.

  23. Alex Case says:

    I have selected one person and emailed Jeremy

  24. Gary Denness says:

    Did you select the person with Mental Disorder Memory Disease? I am dying to see the evidence for that.

    They could also save their business, or at least significantly improve it’s future, not just hundreds of hours of time and trouble by adjusting the Black List according to your suggestion.

  25. NICOLE! says:

    Hello Gentlemen. Alex, I have two questions I would like for you to ask Juan Pablo Falomir:

    1. Is Juan Pablo Falomir aware that just about every person on the Black list has been hired as an English teacher by at least one (but in most cases several) schools since leaving Laughing Coyote? Does he know that, were his wife’s accusations true and all of us were an actual threat to society, a poorly written Black list embedded in the website of a small school is not a very effective way to alert other schools, employers, or the world?
    2. Is Juan Pablo Falomir aware that Paloma Falomir is using his name to conduct interviews?

    so, three questions.

    Thank you very much!
    Nicole Dotto

  26. Guy Courchesne says:

    Well, no need to further educate Jeremy on Mexican law…Gary has said enough. The record is very clear on Gary’s blog in the comments section on my requests for the case numbers and Jeremy’s stalling.

    I’m happy to let Alex take the lead on this as Laughing Coyote clearly does not want to reveal police file numbers. However, as you seem to be quite busy Jeremy, let me take the burden off you by asking for the name and number of your lawyer or the legal department you mentioned was counselling you. I’d be more than happy to contact them directly to obtain the information. As I could do it over the phone quite easily, the ‘privacy condition’ you mention could be kept. Remember, I never asked for anything but the case numbers that you claim to have offered but have so far not delivered.

  27. Gary Denness says:

    Any news to report Alex?

  28. Alex Case says:

    I have received a couple of emails from Jeremy M Johnson, Academic Director. There is some negotiation of the small print of our deal, but still he says the evidence on one person will be sent by the end of today.

    btw, here’s another question for Juan Pablo that have come out of those emails. If Jeremy is Academic Director and a member of the family, why did he avoid mentioning him in all the questions I asked about senior members of the school and members of the family? It can hardly be to protect his privacy, as he has commented on all the blogs where these matters have come up.

    And one for Jeremy:

    As he has commented so regularly on blogs about this but the TEFL forums where Laughing Coyote has been discussed have no comments in the names of any management in the school, shouldn’t that increase people’s suspicion that some of the supporting comments are actually from the top management and/ or family members of the school?

  29. Gary Denness says:

    Alex, from my brief experience with the LCS, I believe very firmly that many of the comments have come from Lydia/Paloma of the LCS. On my own blog a commenter going by the name of Guru claiming to have nothing to do with the school took a great amount of personal offense to comments I had made about the LCS. Far more offense than a neutral would genuinely take. The comments she made were written in a very similar way to comments on forums attributed to her.

    Jeremy, Juan Pablo and Paloma have all been singing from different hymn sheets. It has damaged any hope of being consistent they may have had. And it does damage their credibility in my opinion.

    I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say about the ‘evidence’. I very strongly suspect that it will fall far short of what would be required in a libel case.

    For a start, Mental Disorder Memory Disease doesn’t exist. So how one would go about defending that claim I do not know.

  30. Gary Denness says:

    Just for the record, to establish what is at question and the requirements Jeremy must meet….

    1. A false and defamatory statement concerning another;
    2. The unprivileged publication of the statement to a third party (that is, somebody other than the person defamed by the statement);
    3. If the defamatory matter is of public concern, fault amounting at least to negligence on the part of the publisher; and
    4. Damage to the plaintiff.

    There’s a lot to US libel laws, which actually work in favour of the LCS in that the plaintiff has to prove the allegations untrue. Were the case made in the EU it would be a different story. Mexico itself has strict libel laws, and they’d find it difficult to defend the allegations they’ve made. . In fact at a state level, libel is still a criminal offence. Take the situations with unpaid course costs (and probably the missing cell phones too). These would be civil matters, and thus very easy for the teacher to prove that an allegation of theft is libellous. Not withstanding the fact that the LCS keeps referring to the course as free!

    Those accused of having criminal backgrounds simply have to show a blank report. Even if they can’t, there may still be a case under inference libel laws.

    The mental issues are just classic, and again simple to disprove.

    I could go on. The LCS would be forced to produce evidence (and that’s where Alex’s idea, and judgement, are at play here) to show the opposite of what has been shown by the plaintiffs.

    If Jeremy can’t come up with medical certificates, he’s lost the case. If he can, he and the doctor may face serious charges. Can Jeremy prove the defendants took the phones? Claiming that they were last seen in the teachers hands isn’t good enough.

    Still, I could go on. But enough is enough.

  31. Alex Case says:

    I have received some emails, but suffice to say that I have not received anything as yet that would change my mind about the blacklist- it should be taken down, or at the very least the actual allegations should be taken down and only sent to people who ask for references. I believe the existence of the blacklist and this interview gives more than enough evidence for people thinking of working for this school, so let’s just leave it at that, shall we?

  32. Guy Courchesne says:

    Any actual police file numbers? There was a claim of a civil case against one teacher (called a demanda in Mexico). That too should yield a case file.

  33. Gary Denness says:

    Were you sent anything that you feel warrantied all this secrecy? Anything that could clearly not legally be shared? (aside from the sender defaming somebody)

  34. Alex Case says:

    No and no. If they can make the allegations (i.e. the blacklist) public, I see no reason why they couldn’t make most of the stuff they sent me public too. There was apparently still evidence they couldn’t send me, so what the point of the whole process was I can’t imagine. Which is why I’m going to limit myself to saying they the Laughing Coyote School of English is no closer to having the TEFLtastic seal of approval than they were before the interview. If anyone googles the LCSE there is plenty of food for thought out there, let them make up their own minds.

    Anyone else completely bored with this topic?

  35. Guy Courchesne says:

    Not bored at all. I intend to keep this issue front and center until such a time as either LCSE reforms and joins the community of responsible language schools or they shut down.

    In my opinion, there isn’t another option. People from all over the world seek jobs teaching English, as many students seek English language instruction. If a little Mexican outfit like this comes to typify the industry, then a lot of damage is done on a local national, and international level.

    This is Mexico and Mexico has a lot of pride. Laughing Coyote is a shame on this place. This is not what it is to teach here.

  36. Bob White says:

    Thank you Alex, Gary, Guy, Sandy and the folks who all have set up the discussions about LCSE.

    There are many aspects of your interview with Pablo to discuss, but there comes a time when we all get tired of it. I read it yesterday, mulled it overnight and brought myself to an internet cafe today to address a few points. In re-reading it, there is much more that stands out. However, I will only address a few of the points as I truly feel that LCSE’s actions and reputation speak of their own accord.

    If indeed, LCSE has improved the situation for teachers and have made the conditions better since my affiliation with them from late February through early May of 2008, then this is a good thing. I can only speak of what I saw and experienced, and it was not an enjoyable experience for me. I trust readers, some of whom may be potential teachers there will be able to see both sides, and I hope readers will give fair judgment to both sides.

    As said above, I could spend hours going over Pablo’s (and Paloma’s, we saw her come through) words, but as we all agree, it would come down to “Pablo said/Bob Said” I will also ignore the fact that as Alex noted in the interview, it was not Pablo alone who was providing the answers, Poloma is there hiding behind him for the legitimacy of having the Mexican owner be the supposed voice. Also for now I am overlooking the whole blacklist issue…it looks like you are addressing that.

    Let me start:

    Pablo said, “Our goal was to open 10 schools in one year. We opened 11. It was a great success.”
    Ten schools *may* have opened, but one closed for sure closed (Santiago, the school I was assigned to which had twelve students to start with, and twelve when I either quit or was fired.) When I was there in March/April 2008 only five were running. Another poster who taught after my departure has stated two of these closed. Only from curiosity would I like to know how many satellite schools and native English Speakers LCSE has at present. I bring this up only as Pablo and Paloma, seem to take great pride in this statement and put a fair amount of their credibility on this.

    Pablo said, “In total we have hired 25 candidates. Out of 25 we had 11 make it through the training and get to their own school in one of the villages.”
    Woah, time out here. Of 25 candidates who went to Tepic (at their own expense, including travel and all food during the unpaid “training”) only 11 made it through training and were sent to their own schools. I wish I had heard that number in January of 2008 when I applied. Can we agree that this number is insanely low except for an extremely prestigious position? Suggestion to LCSE: On you job postings put in big, bold letters “56% of those coming here don’t cut it?” Certainly would have saved both LCSE and myself a lot of trouble.

    Most of the teachers I know already had their TESOL or equivalent, plus degrees, and some had experience teaching abroad already. That aside, of those 11 how many lasted more than six months? I do not know of any.

    Forgive me, I understand having high standards, but I think this shows the bar being set by LCSE rates on being ludicrous. I mean isn’t the 44% success rate to just get a job, potentially only part time at 3500 pesos a month as I was given somewhat scary especially if that is all at your expense? What other ESL school would even begin to brag about that. albeit after the fact?

    Pablo said, “At this time, they are being bothered by the 2 web sites here in Mexico run by the 2 individuals we do not know, as well as a couple of black list individuals. They harass and threaten the teachers and staff in their attempt to get revenge.”
    I can only speak for six of the people on the blacklist who I am in touch with (as well as two other former teachers who are not on it.) At no time have we made any harassment toward any of the current teachers at LCSE. Indeed, the ones who I am in touch with have all left the Nayarit area and do not even know any of the current staff. We have no reason to harass the current teachers.

    If, however, I see the name LCSE show up on any of the forums I usually follow I will post negative feedback about the school. My postings have been my criticisms and my feelings about my experience which I trust the reader only to follow as she or he sees fit. My postings, with one exception, have always been under the same internet name I use on all TEFL/ESL Boards, Lonely Planet, livinginindonesiaforum.org, travelsinasia.com, Khmer440.com, deadnet.org or other boards I have joined; I do not hide or change my identity, and the responses by LCSE showed they knew who I was. The only exception was posting on Gary’s blog as I did not realize initially I would be posting to an ongoing discussion. I also do post on the blospot created by someone (I had nothing to do with it!) about LCSE, but again, under my same internet name. When I have posted, the response by Paloma or Jeremy have been absolutely vicious to the point moderators have stepped in and either locked or completely deleted the threads. I am not out for revenge. I am, however, wanting to warn others looking at teaching abroad that LCSE was not a very good experience for me and I would not recommend them as an employer in the ESL community. If LCSE considers that harassment, well, so be it. And I wonder, Alex, if you will now be receiving similar attacks aimed at me from LCSE.

    About the training period, I will have several points only from my own experience.

    Pablo said, “To begin with we give them a couple days to rest, unwind, and adjust.”
    I was put into the classroom to observe on the night of my flight from Costa Rica to Puerto Vallarta and bus to Tepic. The next day, I was in the classroom for 2 morning, a noon and three evening classes. I had no time to rest, unwind or adjust on my arrival.

    Pablo said, “The first couple days they observe. After that we put them in front of the class and they start their real teaching training. There is a training teacher with them at all times.”
    I was teaching solo by my third day with no observer (the only observers would have been Paloma or Pablo.) The first Saturday I was there, the other “trainee” who was with me and I were left alone at the Tepic school to handle the three, two-hour Saturday morning classes while Pablo and Paloma left Tepic to go to set up the new Santa Maria del Oro classroom. We not only taught the three classes, but were also responsible for all post class cleaning (mopping, bleaching tables, etc.)

    Pablo said, “We train the candidates in the classroom and after the class. They get evaluations in every class by the training teacher and the students.”
    Since I was only rarely observed I received no evaluations by the “training teacher”. Indeed, I cannot remember any at all while I was at the Tepic school. As for student evaluations, only twice were the students asked to fill out an evaluation form, and these were only briefly shown to me to review. The evaluation forms in themselves were of the poorest quality do to being photocopied across many generations, some of which were on colored (even dark purple) paper making it difficult to read not only the questions but also the written answers. The evaluation questions were not written by LCSE but copied from elsewhere; I felt, and my fellow trainee agreed, that even the vocabulary in the questions was beyond the English skill level of the students.

    Pablo said, “There are a lot of workshops, input sessions and ongoing training”.
    False, at least for the months of March and April of 2008. Not one of the above occurred. As for input sessions, if Pablo means any chance for teachers to make their recommendations about materials, topics, or protocols I never saw it. As a teacher, I felt that I was not to question any part of “the method” (whatever that means) of LCSE’s approach.

    Let me finish this part with my experience of my “training.” Please recognize before going to LCSE I had my TESOL and BETT through TEFL Int’l, plus my experience teaching in Thailand and Cambodia. I think they fast tracked me into a school, but didn’t fast track any salary.

    From day three, it became apparent the training was to be teaching for free. Not observed, nor being taught “the method”. I was handed a three textbooks of photocopies materials (books which had been previously used by either teacher trainees or I believe by a student: then answers/fill-in-blanks had two different handwriting and pen styles before they were given to me. I spent a total of two weeks at Tepic.

    By the third week, it was decided that I would be sent to Santiago Inxcuintla, a town about 90-120 km away (I don’t remember) as there was no teacher there. My third week of “training” was running the school solo. But alas, this was not even an ordinary week. It was the week before the two week Semena Santa break. Since the students had paid for so many hours during the month the Monday through Thursday classes, usually 4 one-hour classes, were doubled and an additional (optional for students) 4 hours session was set on Friday morning.. This meant that for my third week of training (my first week solo in Santiago) I had 36 *classroom* hours–unpaid, unsupervised and unevaluated. That’s training? Then, that Friday I had to return to Tepic by bus at my expense to assist with Tepic’s eight hour marathon pre-holiday session. Then there followed the two-week Semena Santa break where LCSE provided my lodging: one small room, primitive bath with a cold shower, communal kitchen, but nothing else. After that week, I had one more week of “training” in Santiago, again, all on my own both guidance wise, salary wise and expense wise..

    To say this was any kind of Internationally recognized TEFL training is a flat out bald faced lie. I was teaching their students for them for free and having to pay my own way through it all.

    I could go on. But even I am at a point that I feel I’m beating a dead horse. I trust readers of this post will read it objectively and seek out LCSE’s side. Perhaps they’re right and I am a disgruntled employee seeking revenge. I wouldn’t say revenge is the correct word though. I would say I am putting my experiences on the record. Certainly Pablo, Paloma or Jeremy will reply, and once again we’ll go around our circles of he said, she said. I’ll trust the readers to judge.

    Buenos noches from Indonesia.

  37. Guy Courchesne says:

    Thanks Bob for the very detailed post. One question for you, if you haven’t left. How was your FM3 work visa handled for the time you were there? Did LCSE pay for it and sponsor you for it?

  38. Bob White says:

    LCSE completely ignored the FM3 process. The teacher-trainee I was with and I asked directly of Poloma and she basically said not to worry abut a work visa…that it would not be necessary and that then we would have to pay taxes. We were also told that it would be a hassle for immigration and they’d just as soon we didn’t get one as it would just be more work for them.

    We then asked what to do when our tourist visa expired. We were told we could go to the border on a long weekend (at our own expense) but, again we’d be in small towns and everyone would know us amd no one would ever ask.

    Illegal, yes, I know that now. All I can say that at the time it was my first job in Mexico and I didn’t know better. So no FM3, no ability to open a bank account, etc.

  39. Gary Denness says:

    There’s little more I can add to the subject, other than this. Jeremy makes the bold claim that business is booming. Everything we hear from elsewhere suggests otherwise. I suspect Jeremy and pride are a mix best kept apart.

    It’s hard to see a decent English teacher failing to notice all the posts written about the LCSE when considering a move there. It’s equally difficult to see anyone ‘taking a chance’ and hoping that the negative publicity is just hot air. Not only is there too much of it, but the concrete evidence has kindly been provided by the LCSE and posted on their web site. It’s called the Black List.

    The final nail in the coffin wasn’t hammered in by myself, Guy, Alex, Sandy or anyone else. It was struck home by Pablo, Paloma and Jeremy in a grand display of unintentional team work. For that, we should all congratulate , and thank them.

  40. Sandy says:

    Mission accomplished? I expect … not yet. Winning a battle is not the same as winning the war. So keep some of your bullets back for later!

  41. Guy Courchesne says:

    What a truly bizzare case. I saw on one blog that one of the blacklistees mentioned suing Laughing Coyote. I wish them luck if they decide to pursue it.

  42. Alex Case says:

    Gary has asked me (by email) to give some details about the evidence I received. The answer is simple, I received nothing that could be considered evidence about the person I asked about.

    I received one Word Perfect document that included an email from that person that was completely irrelevant to the accusations on the blacklist. Everything else in that document was just descriptions of other evidence they apparently have but won’t show me.

    They also sent me photos of all the schools and something about the one person they obviously think they have good evidence on, but these 15 or 20 emails were deleted unread as irrelevant time wasting. Having evidence on one person (assuming they have such evidence, I didn’t look at it) in no way proves the accusations against anyone else. Jeremy obviously couldn’t see this, as one of the conditions he tried to impose on me was that I would receive all the evidence against all the people rather than the evidence on the one person I selected. I see this as almost accepting that they know there are accusations on the blacklist that they can’t prove and so they wish to somehow prove the reliability of the blacklist as a whole. This is a logical impossibility, and I’d love to hear them up in front of a court of law with that argument.

  43. NICOLE! says:

    Guy, you’re my hero.

  44. Supporter says:

    This entire situation is immature and ridiculous; don’t any of you have anything better to do than to ridicule a school and some people who are trying to make the world a better place? The professors in the school are simply trying to take a more holistic and unique approach in teaching foreign students the English language. They give these students not only hope, but a vision and a dream beyond their penniless villages. Rarely do we see average people lay down their hearts and their lives for a greater cause; the majority of people are so indulged with their own lives that the rest of the world is forgotten. These teachers created the black list because ghastly people try to enter a spiritually and educationally enlightening environment. Excuse the teachers for trying to keep these children safe and excuse them for not feeling compelled to release confidential information that is really nobody’s business anyways. If you don’t have the evidence then just weigh what you have sitting directly in front of you: a group of people slowly paving the road towards equality with a brighter future AND a group of 11 (however many) people who weren’t fit to teach children and obviously couldn’t abide by the simple and official LCSE rules and regulations. The rest of you and your accusations really need to be laid to rest because all of your information is received from an outside party–what one heard may not be the actual reality of the situation. Also, that is terrible Bob White had such an awful experience when he taught there–I absolutely loved it. I completely support Laughing Coyote and the teachers who work endlessly to improve the lives of others.
    “Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds.”

  45. Alex Case says:

    “The rest of you and your accusations really need to be laid to rest because all of your information is received from an outside party–what one heard may not be the actual reality of the situation”

    which is the whole reason why a blacklist with no evidence supporting it is wrong. Or maybe we should believe school owners and let them say anything themselves but ban teachers from reacting

  46. Gary Denness says:

    Supporter…I suspect that you are more than just a simple supporter. But nonetheless….you don’t geddit. You don’t get that most of the juicy evidence comes from the LCSE themselves.

    “Crazy people have often encountered restraints and padded cells, and men in white coats”

  47. Guy Courchesne says:

    “…excuse them for not feeling compelled to release confidential information that is really nobody’s business anyways.”

    That’s the point here, regarding the Blacklist. Laughing Coyote didn’t feel compelled to release evidence or any proof but they were more than happy to release their opinions about the teachers? Please…

    Pretty clear that the person writing the comment above is yet again from Jeremy, Falomir, or Paloma. The language used in the comment is again the same as we’ve been seeing for months now…at what point do they realize that the more BS they post under assumed identities, the ore damage they do to themselves?

    I figure that it will take about 6 months for Internet searches to filter down and out all the self-indicting comments staff at Laughng Coyote have made under assumed identities. Each time they post pap like the above, the longer it stays.

  48. Alex Case says:

    Can we save the comments about who someone really is, because it really doesn’t add much to the debate. And it really isn’t needed when there are gaping holes in someone’s argument, whoever they are. And here they are:

    - I haven’t ridiculed anyone. The interview is exactly as answered by LCSE themselves.
    - They said themselves that LCSE is a profit making venture, not a charity
    - If they are creating such a holistic and unique method of teaching English, where are the articles sharing that approach with the rest of the world? Is there any reason why it has to stay in LCSE unless they are indeed thinking they can make a fortune out of it?

    Having said all that, I do sense that there is some disappointed idealism somewhere in there. That just makes it even more sad what they are doing now, though

  49. Sandy says:

    Hoist on yer own petard, LCSE:

    “Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds.”

    And WE all know who the weak minds are, don’t we! Hence their violence, not to mention crass stupidity. Are you reading this, Jeremy, Paloma, Juan Pablo?

    I think that Mugabe character thinks he’s a great spirit too. Ah, the self-deluded!

  50. True Supporter says:

    Well just for the record, here is my take. I guess I do not understand the forum in which this interview took place. Please forgive me if it was made clear already. If the interview was conducted over a series of emails or through instant messenger, then my suspicion is true. The person that was interviewed was not Juan Pablo Falomir but was Lydia “Paloma” Cagle. The reason behind the secrecy is to conceal the truth. Unfortunately every response contained a lie. For the record, Mr. Falomir is a [EDITED] year old Mexican citizen from the state of [EDITED]. He is supposedly married to Lydia Cagle, a 50+ year old American citizen from the state of [EDITED]. She claims to be a former FBI profiler and that she met Mr. Falomir while she was working a case involving a drug smuggler in Mexico. Again, this is the story that she tells. Mr. Falomir was supposedly her body guard. Ms. Cagle claims to have a Ph.D. in religion, which may be the case, but it is from a non accredited Bible school in Texas. She also claims to be a former midwife, and Native American shaman. Mr. Falomir, although can speak English, is not an English teacher, holds no type of teaching certification, is not familiar with any type of ESL teaching method or training, and is the “owner” of the school only on paper. I believe it is much easier to open a business in Mexico if your are Mexican and therefore Mr. Falomir is considered the owner instead of Lydia Cagle. The reality is, Ms. Cagle is in total control of every aspect of running the schools. That is why she has answered the questions from this interview, and that is why she always assumes the identity of Juan Pablo Falomir. Also, Jeremy Johnson’s name keeps coming up. He is the son of Lydia Cagle, and the step son of Juan Pablo Falomir. None of this information is revealed until after you arrive at the school. For example, I was not aware the Ms. Cagle was married to Mr. Falomir until after I was in Mexico. I was also told about Jeremy being the longest teacher they had on staff and how happy he was to be part of the school. I was never told that he was the son of Ms. Cagle. This would have been valuable information to me. I would have thought it to be very strange that the three people operating the school, the three long term teachers, were all related and that the only other non-family member teacher had only one month with them when I arrived. But none of this information was given prior to my arrival. It was actually a good laugh for them when they revealed their “true” identities to me. Regardless, they do not open schools to benefit the Mexican people. They open schools to make money. It is a lie when the Ms. Cagle stated that they open a school for a year and then transfer the students to Tepic. Honestly, that does not even make sense. How can a person living in a small town, without a car, or with a car it doesn’t matter, travel several hours to another town to take a one hour English class? How is that logical? They never had more than five “schools” open at one time: Tepic, Santiago, Ixtlan, Santa Maria, Las Varas, and possibly Compostela. That’s it, regardless of what their web site states. From what I have heard, Santiago was closed because they could not get students, the same thing happened in Santa Maria. Also, the school in Ixtlan has been closed as well. The refusal by Ms. Cagle to reveal the number of native teachers on staff that are not family was made due to the obvious fact that the answer is zero. They cannot keep teachers. Also, we all check the TESL websites on a regular basis. I have not seen an advertisement from LCSE for quite some time. They cannot get teachers, or have closed all their schools but two of them and do not need teachers. Either way, the interview is riddled with lies. Even an outside observer can see the inconsistencies in the responses, the cloak of secrecy, and the argumentative tone.

    The training is bogus and nothing more. There is absolutely no training. You start teaching immediately at the school in Tepic. You teach their while Ms. Cagle can go off and do her own thing outside the school. Sometimes the Mexican assistant, also a student, will observe the class, but that is it. There is no training, no books, no method, nothing. Also, they claim to have a great method of teaching English but that is an absurd claim. The books they have are printed and copied pages from the following internet site http://www.enchantedlearning.com/Home.html. There is no method to their teaching. Many of the lessons include weeks of learning the technical vocabulary of dentistry. For example vocabulary words such as: enamel, cuspids, dentin, molar, and so on. There is also a lesson on pirates. The vocabulary consists of words such as: plank, Jolly Roger, peg leg, and cutlass. There is a whole semester long program called Animal Kingdom. All of the vocabulary is about animal biology and habitat. The students cannot order a pizza on the phone but they can say words like: pterosaurs, orinthology, monotremes, and ducked billed platypus. It is sad indeed, but useless vocabulary is the cornerstone of the LCSE method. Ms. Cagle claims that she will “trademark and copyright” her teaching materials and “publish” her books. I am not sure how that can legally take place as that would be an obvious copyright infringement since none of her materials are original. They are all taken from websites, especially from the Enchanted Learning site, one of her favorites. She has no original material. She follows no method. It is actually ridiculous the materials that are used by her school.

    Regardless of the method, they are closing schools down rapidly. I am sure they have only Tepic and maybe one other school open. Tepic will soon close because competition is heating up there. Recently a Harmon Hall branch was opened right in the heart of town on Insurgentes. Regardless of what people may think about Harmon Hall, they know how to run a language school. There has not been much as far as competition in Tepic. Harmon Hall will provide plenty of that. LCSE cannot compete with the likes of Harmon Hall and maybe other newcomers. I think the Black List has backfired. Thanks to this blog and many others for helping to shine the light on the madness of LCSE. It will only be a matter of time until the Laughing Coyote stops laughing. Or maybe that crazy nervous laughter will continue to echo on in the heads of the LCSE trio: Jeremy Johnson, Juan Pablo Falomir, and Lydia Pigloma Cagle.

  51. Guy Courchesne says:

    How long did you last there, and when did you leave? Are you a blacklistee?

  52. True Supporter says:

    Yes, I am on the Blacklist. Of course, all of the accusations are lies. I was a little angry at first but now it is just ridiculous. Besides, it will only be a matter of time before LCSE is closed. I worked for them for four months and that was over a year ago. I have been commenting on blogs since I left the school. However, honestly I usually do not use the same name. Mainly because I refuse to get into a war of words with the LCSE trio. I will not try to defend their outlandish accusations because whenever they post a comment, they reveal the truth about themselves for all to see. I think it is more powerful to read their angry, confused, irrational comments, than it would be for me to defend against their lies. I just post my experience and that is it. My story never changes. If they respond to my comments here, I will not respond to anything they say. I do not need to. There are teachers from that school who know me personally who have posted comments on this blog and can verify that everything I have written is true. I personally know a couple of the Blacklist teachers and of course, they are upstanding people. I know teachers who worked at the school and quit after two weeks and some after a few months. They did not fulfill their contracts and their exit was not pretty. But they are not on the Blacklist. Why? Because they paid some amount of cash to LCSE upon leaving. If you give a notice to them, like I did, they will demand money from you. They start off in the $2,000 US dollar range but then they start retreating. I refused to give one penny. I am friends with at least two teachers who paid them. Grant it, one paid the equivalent of $50, and the other in the neighborhood of $200 I believe. But, because they paid, they are not on the Blacklist. You are only on the Blacklist if you leave the school without paying them what they want. It is always about money with LCSE, always.

    Regardless of being on the Blacklist, I am still teaching English in Mexico. I have worked for a few different schools here with no problem. Ironically I have randomly run into two of my former students from LCSE. One student told me the LCSE school in his town was closed not too long after I left. Supposedly they hired a female teacher to replace me. She arrived after I left. I was told by my former student that the teacher was fired for being gay. Again, this is what one of my former students told me. He said that Mr. Falomir did not want gay teachers working for him, so he fired her. That school has closed. Also, I ran into another former student of mine just last week. She confirmed that the same school closed down. She did not know why. She also gave me a few unsolicited comments concerning Mr. Falomir. She stated that she had a confrontation with him and that Mr. Falomir was very irrational, argumentative, and deceitful. I believe the confrontation involved some form of tuition reimbursement payment, but I do not know the exact details. I believe the student wanted some compensation after the school was closed down, as she had paid up her tuition. Regardless, her opinion of Mr. Falomir was not very flattering. It is comforting for me to know, that despite all the lies and all the deceit, even the students can see the same thing that I saw in the owners of LCSE. This blog and the other blogs also give fair warning to anybody contemplating on teaching at LCSE. I wish these blogs existed back when I was investigating the school. If so, I never would have gone there. At least now the truth is out there for all to see. This will help others from having the same experiences that I and my fellow Blacklistees had. Keep up the good work!

  53. jim says:

    And some of you even entertain the idea that TEFULL is a career or a profession. Get the fuck out it you can.

  54. Guy Courchesne says:

    Thank you for sharing True Supporter. As you can see, many of us are interested in making these stories public in order to self-police, if you will.

    TEFL can be a fulfilling career if you work at it. Laughing Coyote School is not representative of the vast majority of schools in Mexico. Not even close.

  55. Bob White says:

    Supporter had some comments which I wanted to respond to.

    However, as I typed I found my blood boiling and my language wasn’t fit for the decorum of this board. Therefore, my response to supporter is posted (typos and all: I didn’t proofread it as well as I should have) at the Laughing Coyote blogspot:

    LINK BROKEN

    I might have used some bad language. Hope that’s ok with you all.

  56. Sandy says:

    Bob (and everybody else), my blog, and its siblings, appears to be the venus fly trap of foul language and impure thoughts. That’s why you’re always welcome to deposit your bile there.

  57. Guy Courchesne says:

    “And some of you even entertain the idea that TEFULL is a career or a profession. Get the fuck out it you can.”

    I was just going over the 2008 tables for administrators and directors for an international school in Mexico, pondering your statement.

    272,618 USD per year as a Superintendent.
    88,794 USD per year as an Admission director.
    82,080 USD per year as a Primary School Director
    63,595 USD per year as a Primary school teacher.

    I guess those numbers are very small in places like the US. 63,000 USD a year in Mexico goes pretty far in Mexico however.

  58. Alex Case says:

    The Laughing Coyote blog is still surprisingly active (and rather amusing):

    LINK BROKEN

    I don’t know how they can’t work out who is behind it, took me all of 3 minutes to figure it out

  59. Guy Courchesne says:

    We’re not talking about people with PhDs and MAs here…oh wait a minute…

  60. Guy Courchesne says:

    Mission accomplished my friends. The Laughing Coyote School website is down…seems the school let their domain name expire on April 19th, probably because it was no longer viable what with all of our efforts to link to it. While they will most likely move to another domain name (can anyone find the new one?), the Blacklist is no longer online and THAT was the goal.

    Good work everybody!

  61. Sparkler says:

    Just dying to add my input to this bizarre and disturbing saga: Pablo/Paloma says in the interview:
    “We do not want teachers that …go to a school for 2 weeks or 4 weeks and come out calling themselves teachers.”
    I know for a fact that Paloma and Jeremy certified in Thailand, on one of those short courses (not a CELTA, either) about 5,6 years ago – but clearly this makes them eligible to create their own method and run a school!
    Mad people, and scary to boot (from personal experience).

  62. Pingback: Laughing Coyote School of English, Nayarit « English DF

  63. Daniel Sosa Tellez says:

    Oh man! Is this Laughing Coyote School thing just an elaborate prank for April Fool’s!? Because this is, by a mile, the funniest, most ridiculous and nonsensical thing that I’ve read in a long, long time! Geez!

  64. Gary Denness says:

    Such a long time has passed. The LCSE website disappeared ages ago, and the school has possibly closed down.

    Any chance of revealing the contents of those emails Alex? Just to sate curiosity?

  65. Jimmy says:

    I actually had a cerveza with Juan Pablo when I was off duty in Cancun a few years ago after MexTEFLEXPO 2004. Not a bad guy at all, in fact pretty funny. Not sure he was in the FBI, though – he wasn’t tall enough.

  66. Alex Case says:

    I honestly can’t remember. There were loads of photos, but I wasn’t interested in them then and I am even less so now…

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