Exposing the TEFL Institute

As mentioned in previous posts, the ESL industry is cutthroat to say the least and for the most part, controlled by highly unqualified businessmen and women who have little or no understanding of teaching, a complete disregard for the teachers and almost zero interest in the well-being of the students.bad businessman image

Last July, I was invited to teach a TEFL course for The TEFL Institute. TEFL stands for teaching English as a foreign language. In other words, I taught a group of Americans how to teach English. It seemed like a good opportunity at the time as I had always wanted to train would be teachers and share my experiences in the field. Fortunately,  I was handed a great group of students to train.

Shortly after the course  finished, it became  apparent that something about the TEFL Institute was a little odd. The company seemed extremely disorganized and in almost disarray.  Then, when I inquired about when and how I would receive  payment for the month long course I taught, I began to get different answers as nobody in the office ‘seemed’ to have any information about my paycheck. fishyWhen I contacted the accountant, she instructed me to talk to someone else. When I contacted that ‘someone else’ he advised me to contact a woman named Maria in accounting. It was not only bizarre, but I soon realized that something was fishy about this company.

So I did what anyone would do, I turned to GOOGLE for answers. Within 30 seconds, I found articles and a Facebook page devoted to exposing the truth about the TEFL Institute. It turned out that a small class action suit was just beginning to brew  as I completed my course and  complaints about teacher pay had actually begun a year earlier. Shame on me for not doing my homework, but I was naive enough to believe at the time that a company would automatically pay for the services I provided. In most industries this is true, but not in the World of ESL. Gosh, I am such an idealist!!!!!!not getting paid It has been  eight months AND I STILL HAVE NOT BEEN PAID FOR THE MONTH LONG TEFL CLASS I TAUGHT at the TEFL Institute. There are also at least twenty other teachers who still haven’t been paid.

As recently as October, there have been protest outside the head office of the TEFL Institute in Chicago.tefl institute protest Unfortunately, I was not in Chicago at the time and could not protest, but the fight is not over and myeslf and other teachers are still battling for justice. There will be another protest and the TEFL Institute will continued to be exposed to the public.

The TEFL Institute is ‘owned’ by a man name Tiron Gibbs.tiron gibbs He claims to have sold the company, but speculation persists that he only technically ‘sold’ the company and is still receiving income from the company ‘that he does not own’. That is strange…….It is kind of like the time Putin ‘stepped down’ from power, but was still controlling Russia from behind the scenes. Below is a recent email that I received from Mr. Gibbs after inquiring about my pay. 

Dear James,

 I am not the CEO of TEFL Institute any longer. I cannot resolve this question. I have been very clear on this matter.  I have asked you in the clearest possible terms to talk with your associates.  But, you have not or your talks are not persuasive. Implore/Ask them to stop the negative posting, take down the negative Facebook page, and stop trying to stop our accreditation. You must make it clear to your associates that unless they take affirmative steps to stop bashing TEFL Institute in the media there is no way to resolve this matter. It is as simple as that. I really do not have a voice in this any longer.  I have retired.

 But, I can tell you that the new CEO is no creampuff.  He will take the Company abroad to Asia or Europe.

 I am not the person who can help you. I just giving you some advice. Talk to your associates and friends. Tell them to show affirmative steps that lead to resolution.


Apparently, Tiron Gibbs has convinced himself that he simply does not have to pay the 20 plus teachers that were defrauded. In addition, he blames those former teachers for not allowing his company to conduct business and spreading bad images about his name. Hmmmm…………….I guess workers are just supposed to not say anything when they don’t get paid. Thank god for the great pioneers of NEOLIBERALISM like Margarat Thatcher and Milton Friedman. They really made the world a better place!!!!!!!!! Lets just all be like China. No pay, don’t say anything. No healthcare! Don’t say anything. No bonus! Don’t say anything. Welcome to the new America! Welcome to Facsim!!!

If you know anyone that is interested in getting a TEFL certificate, please advise them not to obtain it through the TEFL Institute. If you are an ESL teacher, please spread the message about the TEFL Institute.



About JT 71 Articles

JT taught English for four years in Japan. He also has extensive experience teaching ESL in the United States. JT has also traveled throughout Asia and South America. He began JimmyESL in 2014 as a way to provide honest information for those interested in teaching English abroad. These days, he spends most of his time building Wordpress sites, blogging and teaching others the nuances of digital marketing.