Has the TEFL blogging zeitgeist changed?

Posting those hilarious highlights from English Teacher X and contrasting When I Am a TEFL Billionaire Part One and Part Two has made me wonder whether something fundamental has changed in the last 562* blogging years that TEFLtastic has been going.

When I first started reading TEFL blogs (which was a few days after I realised that TEFL blogs even existed, when the owner of TEFL.net asked me whether I wanted to be a guinea pig for his blog pages), there were serious blogs like Insights into TEFL and contemplative ones like Teacher In Development, but by far the most talked about, linked to and probably read ones were those that were funny about TEFL being crap (Notes from the TEFL Graveyard etc), those that campaigned to make TEFL less crap (TEFL Blacklist etc) and those that combined the two (whatever Sandy MacManus’s’s blog was called that week). If you read TEFLlogue and then the TEFL billionaire guest piece, you’ll see that the writer Katie was kind of forced into taking on some of that TEFL blog tone of the day despite complaints of not really understanding that British sense of humour!

Nowadays the most linked to, talked about and probably read blogs are those by published writers (Lindsay Clandfield, etc- the list is long!) and those by other incredibly enthusiastic teachers (Karenne etc- the list is even longer!) Hardly a mention there of the underpaid native speaking TEFL teacher straight out of university who does their job so badly that they almost deserve it- and not a single threat to cucumber school owners to be seen! I seem to be as affected by that as Katie at TEFLogue was by the atmosphere in her time, with my posts getting more serious by the day and not a spoof or campaigning piece for months.

In case I sound negative about the new TEFL blogosphere, let me summarise the old atmosphere as negative and new one as positive. If that makes me sound too down on the old ones, let me say that I am also quite fond of the humour of the sarcastic and bitter.

Partly the change is because, of course, most TEFL teachers are neither 23 years old nor native speakers, but I’m not sure that is the whole story. Is it really so or just today’s incredibly accelerated nostalgia talking? And if it is so, why could it be?

*27 months in Earth Time

This entry was posted in Englishteacherx, Insights into TEFL, notes from the TEFL graveyard, teacher in development, TEFL, TEFL blacklist, TEFL Tradesman, TEFLlogue and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Has the TEFL blogging zeitgeist changed?

  1. I was thinking the same thing, Alex (in some ways), and would particularly like to see more blogs from teachers facing the rough and tumble of new teaching experiences and shifty schools.

    There might be a reason for the lack of the latter, though. One of my ex-bosses in S.Korea recently emailed me in horror wailing about how one of his newer teachers had written a negative blog post about working at his school. I told him it was all part of the new webesphere, and to talk to the teacher about the problems (thinking if they could be resolved, then the blog would update on the situation in a positive way). The blog post disappeared, and not long after, so did the teacher (from that particular school). In essence, I think some teachers are afraid of ramifications from blurting too honestly on their blogs.

    Which reminds me – weren’t YOU teaching kids in Korea (either now or very recently)? If so, I’ve really been wondering why I haven’t seen any juicy posts from you about working in that context, which should really comprise enough bizarre and dodgy experiences to sate even the Alexian taste…

    ~ Jason

  2. Alex Case says:

    You’ve already left Korea, so after you Jason!

  3. Alex Case says:

    Maybe why I’m interested (unlike most others, it seems!) is because I’ve always seen my role as being between the two camps (hence the sarcastic but actually also surprisingly genuine name TEFLtastic). If the two camps no longer exist, where does that leave me??

  4. Alex Case says:

    Or am I just nostalgic for a time when most TEFL bloggers were male and British? Can’t imagine why that would be…

  5. Actually Alex, you guys moaning (in the best possible way) is kind of what prompting to get on with blogging.

    I love, love, love teaching English – as I’ve mentioned on your blog before for me the life of TEFL is perfect and I can’t think of another job where I can see the world and do my thang at the same time.

    And I’ve been at it for over 15 years. So even though you had me in stitches most of the time, (Sandy just confused me most of the time – xx Sandy if you’re reading this) just as hanging out in the staffroom back when I was part of one … complaining…. I just wanted to present another angle, one of the joy of getting up in the morning and going to teach.

    To be honest, you’re not much of a moaner though – more a piss-taker 😉 which is why your blog is such fun.

    I really do believe in this profession and do want to champion a rise in our salaries and conditions but I figured just being annoyed about it was never going to get anywhere – hence the switch to ESP teaching, ze website and ze blogs.


    BTW, yes your guest-piece is in my intray of things to do, I’m flat out busy at the moment, just popped on over because I need my bi/tri-weekly dose of Alex keeping me on the solid ground ;-).

    Will you do guest-piece for me too?

    Pretty please with ice-cream on top. For the She-in-ELT series?? xxx


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