Lines on the demise of English language teaching's sweariest blogosphere rant
This article first appeared in the English language teaching industry trade paper English Language Gazette, April 2008, as an editorial
Despite numerous attempts by school owners to get it shut down, the Tefl trade blog beloved by put-open English language teachers everywhere, has finally had its last post. It was ended not by libel writs but by the desire of its blogger, ‘Sandy McManus’ (not his/her real name) to ‘turn my attention to something a little more uplifting.’
The revelation that convicted peadophile James Fraser Darling (see September 2007’s Gazette) had been taken on by several EFL schools in Indonesia was just one of the useful bits of intelligence coming the Gazette’s way thanks to McManus and the Tefl trade blog. As well as turning its spotlight on serial malpractice in the industry in the style of UK investigative and satirical magazine Private Eye, Tefl trade was also consistently hilarious and its tirades against the industry could be guaranteed to contain plenty of swearing. Its Crap Jobs column (‘£7.50 an hour, anyone? Don’t all jump at once’) was a shocking but true barometer of Tefl’s race to the bottom for teachers’ pay, and the tendency of teachers to whinge rather than doing anything about it.
‘Sandy’ told the Gazette ‘I do have an MA to finish, as well as some other vague plans for continuing writing of some sort or another, but I need some free time to collect my thoughts, without the self-inflicted pressure of keeping Sandy’s UK Tefl blog going.’ You can still see the now static Tefl trade blog online, and more of the same on The TEFL Blacklist, which ‘Sandy’ admitted was his/her baby, but that he/she ‘passed the reins over early last year.’
We reproduce here in full Sandy’s last blog, expletives deleted:
‘So that’s it then - I’ve decided. There’s no point at all in my keeping this blog running, so this will be my last posting.
I mean, why should I waste my bloody time tilting at windmills, and to such little effect? If there are ‘teachers’ back in the UK who want to work for nine quid (£9) an hour and think of themselves as professionals, then let them - it’s their problem, not mine. Or maybe they just don’t give a s*** about the ‘profession’, and are quite happy to stagger into class and deliver a heap of s**** day after day. Again, that’s not my problem, is it? Why should it be my bloody concern?
Fact is, I’m not doing my health, both physical and mental, a whole lot of good by spouting so much negativity about a job that so few people really care about, anyway. ‘Never has so little been done by so many for so few pounds’, you might say.
And let’s face it - why should I spend hours every week hunched over a second-hand laptop, seeking out shysters (unscrupulous practitioners), and spouting my half-baked venomous drivel, when I’ve got my kids to play with, dozens of books to read, and crummy old videos of Mind Your Language (1970s sitcom about an English class for migrants) to watch - just why? There’s a life out there - something positive - and I need to start embracing it before I go completely crackers.
So that’s it, then. The rent on this site will be up for renewal soon, and I shan’t be paying it. Soon afterwards, the cyber curtains will fall, and TeflTrade will become part of history - or just forgotten. And to be honest, I don’t really care whether ‘Sandy McManus’ is looked back upon as a legend or a lout.
If I ever go back to working in English as a Foreign Language teaching in the UK (God forbid!), I might consider reviving the site - but I can’t really see that happening. Of course, if there’s anybody out there right now who’s keen to take over the site and do its dirty work, - well, just set up your very own ‘TeflTrade’ on blogger.com. I won’t be complaining.
In fact, I won’t even be looking.’
While the Teftrade homepage seems to be down, there still seems to be some Tefltrade activity continuing here , and McManus posts out alerts of occasional new postings to his/her invite only email list.