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