I regularly browse through TEFL related sites and come across many strange stories. But rarely do I come across one this bizarre. It goes without saying there are plenty of good English schools in Mexico. And plenty of bad ones. And then there is the Laughing Coyote School of Nayarit. It doesn’t seem to have the best of reputations in the TEFL community!
I could easily form an opinion based on the things being said about the school by former teachers. “American teaches should avoid this school at all costs! The living conditions during training are terrible at the Nayarit school and you are required to teach 20-30 hours per week for free.” by Reportero. “Am also a Laughing Coyote survivor. Would not do it again in this or a future lifetime.” was posted on Dave’s ESL Cafe.
Along with comments which would suggest the honesty and even sanity of the owners leaves something to be desired….”Once he started talking about being related to William Travis and cousin to George Washington, I started to disbelieve every thing he said” and “ I was right, saying that insane doesn’t do her justice. Her gall, continual lying and failure to face reality is astounding…..Paloma’s truly a crazy, and yes ( you were right ) evil, bitch who belongs in a padded cell !!!“
It’s hardly flattering stuff, is it! And these opinions do seem to be supported by the majority of posters on the net. With the exception of some, who do appear to be the same person posting under different names. But with the same grammatical and spelling errors. The owner of the school, one would presume. Which in itself is a bad marketing tactic. But the real meat of this story is to come. A visit to their website is in order!
They, rather uniquely, have set up a Black List on their web site, purportedly to advise other schools as to the unsuitability of teachers they have employed. A Black List with names….and sins! So what sort of people have they been employing? Well Christopher was guilty of pornography, having an intimate relationship with a student and destruction of property. Ok, well sounds plausible, I guess. Not every teacher is a saint. Let’s move on. Dicky has also been nailing a student, it seems, along with excess booze and drug use. And he stole. Bad boy!
Alexander has moral issues. But now for my favourite, Nicole, with her radical muslim views, her sleep disorder, psychological issues and obssessive compulsive behaviour. But wait – that’s not all. She’s also a pathological liar, and bi-polar. She sounds the best! But there are other good ones to come! Travis has emotional disorders and knocked a girl up, whilst James has ‘mental disorder memory disease’. No, I’m not making that up! Did this school have a resident psychiatrist evaluating these people as they left?!
John has moral and integrity issues as well as a liking for underage porn, a theme which continues from James who also had pedophile links in Asia. Or so they claim. Bob and Fiona also had a selection of phone related issues, emotional problems and the like. But they’re not as special as Todd. He put cocaine on candies and handed them to kids, brought prostitutes to school, used drugs, and caused major destruction of two schools. Way to go Todd! and all of them, virtually, stole stuff! And they have tapes to prove it – which would perhaps cast greater doubt on the school’s integrity than the teachers.
Now, this is only my opinion. But it seems to me that this school has a serious issue with former teachers reporting negative stories about them within the TEFL community. Revenge can be sweet, I know. And it is best served cold. But when it’s served in such a blatant and ridiculous manner as the Laughing School have attempted to do, it just induces further ridicule and derision, and justifiably so.
Still I thank them, for they made me laugh today! As it’s New Year I will kindly offer some personal guidance on remedying the situation. If the owners do have sanity issues, seek help. Operate the school in a professional manner. Deal with complaints like adults. Then they will find that there are teachers who will report positive stories about them, will stay long term and help them to run a successful business.
I today had an email forwarded to me from someone who had been in contact with the Laughing Coyote School:
Thank you for your courage and discretion. Under no circumstance will your name or email or even a mention of you be exposed in any way. As a school, the owners have never participated in any blogs or any gossip of any kind on the internet. This black list is truthful, and accurate. We do not send the documentation, photos, video, or witnesses to anyone for protection of their identities and respect to families and protection of their privacy. If you know where one of these teachers are, we will be happy to turn the information over to the proper authorities to deal with the situation.
I want you to think about something. Why would a school put a black list up, and show the candidates unethical behavior to make the school look bad? Because there is something more important to us than “looking bad” or “appearances”. Our reputation is not near as important as the safety of our students, families and staff. It is our duty, to expose in unethical behavior of any kind by anyone who is trying to be or pose as a teacher. Anyone who feels that this is unique, is quite wrong. These situations go on all over the world, but, the schools do not expose or say anything because of their need to protect their reputation. A reputation something that feeds the ego, truth feeds the soul. IN the end, only one leaves this world with you that has any value.
These teachers (candidates) are guilty, and it is up to them to prove their innocence. We have no problem waking up every morning and liking what we see in the mirror. No one can walk in our shoes but us. If one of these teachers goes to another school, and does the same thing, by stealing, drugs, intimate relations with a student, or child molestation, and we did not warn the public, and schools of what we know, then we are just as guilty of the crime that they commit. IF our black list saves just one child, or one family of suffering and pain, then I have done my job as a human being.
What you decide is up to you. Either way it is your own personal choice. Whatever you decide we respect what you are considering.
The sections in bold are my doing. Never gossip on the internet? I think most people who have followed this will believe that to be a blatant lie. They don’t send the evidence? Well their web site doesn’t explicitly say they will, but it does imply as much. What about the reward? That is an offer that seems to have dissolved when it came to the crunch. The teachers are guilty until they prove their innocence? They claim to be proud Americans….their pride doesn’t seem to extend to the principles of american law, upon which the country is founded.
So in short, no evidence, no reward, no understanding of the concept of justice. There are many sentiments in their email that I don’t disagree with. However, when read in context with what is known of them and the teachers in question, I would suggest to the LCS that at this moment in time, they have quite some way to go to ‘prove their innocence’.
I have also found an email allegedly written by the owner of the LCSE, via This Guy Is Teaching Abroad, posted on a blog which seems like it may be a little bit hostile towards those folks down at the Laughing Coyote School. An except…
When I find you, hell will look like heaven, and now Im not alone. YOU are a wanted man, and BUBA is waiting for you, but only after the Mexican law gets done with you, and that will make state prison look like Disneyland. IF you make it to the jail. Here or the USA, you are wanted, and your crimes are now federal. GET out of my COUNTRY, or you will never have another chance to see the light of day in your country. Im on your tail, and you will not see me coming but you will know when I have arrived, because the pain you have caused will go back to you 10 time fold. NO deals, too late. Anything goes. I WILL FIND YOU!!
In summary, Pablo believes this teacher to be full of hate, evil and sin. Unlike himself. Even though he seems intent on hunting down, torturing and killing the teacher concerned. Words fail me.