25 things I have done that have less value than TEFL

Jim’s comments  about the pointlessness of TEFL in previous posts below has got me thinking, and as that’s not something I do very often I thought I should probably try to get a whole blog post of out of it. And here it is-

As someone who isn’t religious and asks as many pointless “Why…?” questions as a four year old, I don’t really have a philosophical basis on which to argue with him or others who make more serious points about linguistic imperialism and whathaveyou. On a more practical level, though, I think few people could argue that these were even worse ways to be spending my time:

1. Watching snooker on television
2. Drinking Spanish San Miguel
3. Door to door sales
4. Working in a chicken factory
5. Listening to Viva La Vida
6. Dancing to Tainted Love or Love Cats for about the 60th time
7. Reading nonsense poetry in French
8. Unfinished novels (never got past page ten)
9. Searching second-hand record shops for reasonably-priced rarities
10. Studying Physics at university
11. Teaching A level Maths to a kid who remembered the stuff better than me
12. Trying to put on muscle
13. Writing letters to holiday romances
14. Care work you don’t need any training for
15. Talking about football
16. Walking around museums and historical buildings I now remember nothing about (almost all after the first 30 or so in my life)
17. Almost all sightseeing
18. Almost all shopping
19. Trying to learn how to juggle (to reduce stress, ha!)
20. Smoking
21. Having hangovers
22. Arguing about philosophy and religion
23. Reading Mad
24. Trying to straighten the spokes on my bashed up bike
25. Putting off breaking up with girlfriends

There must be sooooooo many more, but I’ll give the rest of you a chance first.

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31 Responses to 25 things I have done that have less value than TEFL

  1. jim says:

    I did not say TEFL was pointless. In my case the point of TEFLing is to make a living. Dead-end, crap and low grade-yes.

  2. Sandy says:

    Keep up the cheerful stuff, Jim! You’re making us all so happy!

  3. Andy Mallory says:

    “ I could be a lawyer with strategems and ruses
    I could be a doctor with poultices and bruises
    I could be a writer with a growing reputation
    I could be the ticket man at Fulham broadway station”

  4. How about a list of 25 jobs at the same rate of pay, little less/ little more that Jim could actually be doing instead of teaching English around the world.

    I’ll go first, here’s five.

    1. You could be a garbage collector in Hollywood. – whoops that sounded interesting.
    2. You could work as a manager in a fruit factory, bottling pineapples.
    3. You could work in MacDonalds as the head chef.
    4. You could be the guy who makes double-sided plastic CD covers.
    5. You could be an accountant.

  5. Alex Case says:

    What does deadend even mean? It’s much easier to get a management or university job in TEFL than it is in general education

  6. jim says:

    Huh? Management jobs in TEFL are crap-they are not real management jobs. University jobs in TEFL apart from temporary pre-sessional jobs are as rare as rocking horse shit.

    Keep trying

  7. Pete Swilks says:

    Jim is correct, though. There is no career structure in TEFL, and the ‘management’ jobs are simply glorified admin. They don’t call it DOSSING for nothing! We all know that.

    But that’s not the point of doing TEFL. You do it because it’s fun, you make at least £30 sterling an hour (if you’re not doing 30 hours a week at £30 p/h, stop now for God’s sake) and that lets you do other things you enjoy in life.

  8. Alex Case says:

    Sigh! So, what would be a non deadend job, Jim? What exactly is this imaginary life that you feel you are missing out on?

  9. jim says:

    900 pounds a week and its fun-hands up who gets that for a fun job?

  10. Pete Swilks says:

    Me! I did 34 hours last week at an average of £31 ph. That’s over a grand, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Now I’m going to play golf before I pick up my Audi convertible from the dealer (second-hand, but you can’t have everything). TEFL is a good life.

  11. jim says:

    Another TEFL fantasist. Why are there so many of them.

  12. Troy says:

    £30 an hour?

    Here I am slaving for 12€….

    Do I feel like a loser.

  13. jim says:

    You are a loser.

  14. Alex Case says:


    My definition of a loser would be someone who claims to despise TEFL and yet spends all his time on TEFL blogs and forums, someone who claims lack of money is his chief problem and yet “contributes” on the internet for free despite the numerous opportunities for paid writing and online teaching work that are available to help him support his family, or anyone who spends any time on the internet while drunk. I started off thinking it was nice to have another viewpoint on the blog. I then moved onto feeling sorry for you. Then I tried humouring you for a while. Now I am really beginning to wonder what on earth you are trying to achieve with these comments. At least most online TEFL whingers are funny, but I fail to find anything worthwhile in anything you have written here. If your aim is to warn off people who might go into TEFL for the money, I hardly think anyone reading would be that stupid, but consider your point made anyway. If the point is to spread the misery of your life onto others, that does not seem to have worked- you even got Sandy being positive! The drunk online whingeing hardly seems like the actions of a potential major success in life who went a little wrong to me, so if I was you I’d start to appreciate that I have a wife, kids and a job at all, but if you are determined to be miserable and wallow in your regrets, go ahead.

    What I am basically trying to say is that this is not a free forum. People come on here to read something interesting or at least funny, and if you cannot contribute that then your comments will be deleted.

  15. Pete Swilks says:

    Sorry to depress everyone, including Jim, but here in the south east of England there are quite a few happy teflers making £30 and hour for 30-40 hour weeks. This isn’t a fantasy, it’s what we do.
    PS How can anyone live on 12 euros an hour?!

  16. jim says:

    40 hour weeks? So it is now 1200 pounds a week!!!!

    You don’t live on 12 euros an hour, you exist which what most TEFLers do.

  17. Pete Swilks says:

    The average comes out at 30 hours, allowing for holidays and so on. Sorry, mate, but nobody can live on less than a grand a week in Britain today. It’s not physically possible. The challenge is to earn it while having fun and doing something useful. Why don’t you re-train, and look at other options? There’s no point doing TEFL if you’re permanently skint, it evidently just makes you miserable! There are lots of things you and other TEFLers could be doing. Why don’t you join the public sector as an interpreter, join MI5 as an analyst, be a speech therapist, or do corporate skills training courses? Or open a pub? Or a llama farm? Seriously, just open your mind up.

    By the way, my new Audi is great.

  18. And hate to burst your bubble Jim, but ESP:English pays quite well too – €35-45 per 45min hr in Deutschland.

    Of course, I spend most of my life in front of my sites so am not quite doing as well as Pete. But I ain’t moaning.

    You need to re-train, mate. Specialize. Okay, you’ve no money but you do have time and access to the internet for studying purposes.

    Choose something you like – start learning everything you can about that subject and then start pursuing teaching assignments in that field. If you become an expert, the students will follow you, recommend you privately and you can move out of working for the institutes.


  19. Troy says:

    Maybe Jim is right…I am a loser.

    All of this talk about £30 an hour, or €35-45 for 45 minutes does make my €12 seem like a joke (size does matter?)…but that is all there is out here in my little undeveloped paradise in the South Western corner of Europe. I can lump it or leave it.

    I like to gripe about it, but then again there are the pluses. I wouldn’t say that my stress level is too high and a good bottle of Rioja is still about 15minutes work even at €12 an hour.

    I might be at risk of stereotyping, but our friend Jim may fall into that category of teacher that we have all seen in teacher’s rooms around the world. The one that continually complains about the Arab’s lack of this…the Thais lack of that, the terrible restaurants etc etc etc…(change nationalities, ethnicities, countries at will)

    The ones you ask yourself,”Why did you ever leave your hometown?”

  20. jim says:

    An analyst for MI5. I love the TEFLers’ naivety. Sometime after 9/11 there was a story in the media that MI5 were going to widen their recruitment. Rather than the usual ex-forces/public school/Oxbridge types they would recruit from ethnic minorities and people with different backgrounds. The EL gazette then did a pointless story saying that TEFLers could apply. The TEFLers in their desperation to validate themselves spread the story that MI5 were recruiting TEFLers. It then became a TEFL urban legend. TEFLers eh?

  21. nicky says:

    I sometimes fall into the category that Troy just mentioned–the bitch-a-lot type. The people are cold and closed-minded, the ethnic restaurants ain’t worth a damn, etc., etc.

    Good thing I make five million trillion bajillion dollars a second just for breathing in English. Ahh, now I feel better about myself. Thanks TEFLtastic!

    I’ll just be going back under my bridge now to hang out with your boy Jim and make vague threats to passing billygoats. Peace!

  22. anonymous says:

    HATE MATERIAL published on the web, hateful baleful presences from Alex case, world’s foremost purveyor of slander and denigration, A VOICE that MUST WILL be silenced WILL BE made to lEARN humIlity.

  23. Jasper says:

    teacher’s rooms should be teachers’ rooms.

  24. Jasper says:

    MI5 ha ha ha ha ha

  25. Alex Case says:

    Jim- Thanks, I learnt something from your comment this time and so consider it worthwhile

    Jasper- You are right. Can’t be bothered changing it, though. It’s just a blog, after all, the “literary” equivalent of an SMS

    Paul- Wasn’t I supposed to have met my doom already, according to your “prophecy”?

  26. Jasper says:

    Jim- Thanks, I learnt something from your comment this time and so consider it worthwhile

    How big of you? How pompous are you? Working in a hogwon (sp) at your age.

  27. Pete Swilks says:

    MI5 will recruit absolutely anyone for their clerical level, just look at their website. You’d have to live in central London on £22k, but sounds like that would be a nice pay rise for Jim. Don’t fancy it? That still leaves the llama farm or speech therapy. Life is short and ‘Headway’ will drive you insane if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. Is that what happened to the guy posting yeaterday at 1.47pm??

  28. Alex Case says:

    Jasper- I guess it does look a bit patronizing, but I couldn’t think of a better way of making up for my negative comment to Jim earlier, trying to get him involved in a more productive way and generally make the best of a very tedious and unpleasant situation. Anyway, if you think me so worthless, why would you read my blog?? Also, could you explain how come you seem to be using exactly the same computer as Jim?

  29. Troy says:

    Should we give them the benefit of the doubt Alex? Maybe roomies? Birds of a feather and all that?

  30. Alex Case says:

    I did try to believe that, but now it seems he has a second friend called “lard” who also uses the same computer and also thinks all TEFLers are losers and states so repeatedly without adding anything new each time. Will anyone object if I put jim/jasper/lard on the spam filter? I think I gave him a fair chance and that we’ve all got the point by now

  31. Andy Mallory says:

    More than a fair chance….

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