100 things for TEFLers to do before they die

Although it’s been inevitable for ages, I have yet to come to terms with the fact that I will die a TEFLer, be it tomorrow or when I’m in my nineties and still yet haven’t saved enough to retire. For all who might be in the same situation, I’ve made a motivating list of things to do before we kick the bucket, maybe while actually in the classroom teaching colourful but rarely used idioms like kick the bucket…

1. Teach an English through Adventure Sports course

2. Do a summer school on Machu Picchu

3. Do some extreme TEFLing, e.g. “the Dogme Silent Way”

4. Cream pie a student, e.g. for annoying you with a persistent error

5. Publish a paper on the efficacy of cream pie error correction

6. Smoke in a lesson

7. Teach commando

8. Get students to do the same activity six times without protest

9. Get to the end of a lesson on Present Perfect Continuous with students less confused than when they come in

10. Go on holiday somewhere even worse than wherever you have ended up teaching

11. Read a whole newspaper without thinking once about lesson ideas

12. Get through a BBC World Service news bulletin without registering any errors or interesting pronunciations

13. Get through a week without using any bullshit made-up-on-the-spot explanations of language

14. Teach an observed lesson which that bastard DoS can’t poke a single hole in

15. Successfully and naturally use a bit of language that has become standard since you last lived at home, e.g. “feds” or “lush”

16. A week without tiffs caused by language misunderstandings with your other half

17. Admit to your other half that the romantic thing you said which first got them into bed is from a movie/ from a song/ a really crude bit of English slang/ a common idiom that they misunderstood (e.g. “Just a minute and I’m all yours”)

18. Correct an ex on a grammar mistake that you used to find cute

19. Cause a stunned silence with something you say in a teachers’ meeting or workshop

20. Cause at least one pointless TEFL-related Twitter storm

21. Get banned from at least four TEFL forums

22. Get a spoof TEFL news story into EL Gazette

23. Come up with a classroom activity that is so ridiculous that even Humanising Language Teaching rejects it

24. Get ejected from a TEFL conference, e.g. for streaking or heckling

25. Make a move on a student during a group class

26. Sleep with a whole group class

27. Burn objectionable TEFL books (preferably somewhere in the school)

28. Protest outside a TEFL publisher, the British Council or Cambridge TESOL, e.g. about how they all ignore Suggestopedia or to bring back Grapevine

29. Wear something that is within your school’s dress code but is so objectionable that it gets a comment anyway (e.g. an orange suit or pornographic tie)

30. Attract a stalker

31. Finance a poster campaign aimed at eliminating your most hated grammar mistake

32. Cause a TEFL scandal big enough to get us a mention on BBC news

33. Finally teach in what was meant to be the second of many countries that you were planning to teach in

34. Be paid enough to support a family (if only for a week or two)

35. Come to terms with being a TEFL lifer


Still well short of 100. Any more ideas?

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5 Responses to 100 things for TEFLers to do before they die

  1. martinmcmorrow says:

    V amusing – one of your best! Particularly liked 11, 18, 23, 34.

    Teachers might also add to their bucket list the well-known:

    Host a ‘Find someone who – ‘ swingers party

  2. klokanomil says:

    This made my day. I’m currently struggling with 34 and 35. Maybe putting 1-33 on my to do list would help🙂

  3. alexcase says:

    Not sure it would help achieve them, but might make you feel better about not doing so!

    By complete coincidence, “Find someone who” has already made it into a list of TEFL-based euphemisms I’m working on as my next attempt at humour – but it can certainly also be number 36 in here!

  4. Mark says:

    What a great post! 33 must be a touchy one for a lot of us.

    Anyway, following on from Martin’s 36, how about 37: Producing a series of genuinely ‘adult’ ESL materials? We could call it Giving Headway, C*ckwise, or Intercourse.

    Sorry Alex. Did I stoop too low?

  5. alexcase says:

    If you’d read my other attempts at humour, you’d know that “too low” is not an expression in my vocabulary… In other words, that is officially number 37. Only 63 more to go!

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