Why you don’t know where I work

…unless you (like Jason Renshaw and possibly Darrrren Ellllliotttt) have worked it out from the clues, in which case I would very much appreciate you not making guesses online. The reason for that radio silence and having to ask ELTJ for special dispensation not to say where I work in my mini-biog is the very real chance of my boss getting harassing phone calls from people like the below (message through the TEFL.net Contact Us button):

message = I copied this from ESL cafe -before it was midly censored- “TEFLnet site is bullshit.. They post articies that are plagarized -do youknow that–they are as bad as the thiefs who steal the article — typicalPommy crap-you f..ing poms are morons and this site proves you are all braindead losers in the tefl world. You should should shut the site down –As ESLcafe says– only Losers come to your site.” Seems the American world and Asian world views this site as a joke – and if you look closely – you guys should be sued to the end of the world -no wonder esl has such a bad name— clean your site up before you get negative comments like this every day

It could be that this guy has a legitimate point (the return email address turned out to be fake when we wrote back to ask him what it might be, and the ESL Cafe forum post doesn’t exist now if it ever did) or it could just have been a rush of blood to the head, but there are certainly people like Paul Lowe who wrote to every blog I ever commented on to say they should delete my contribution and sent chain emails to every school and publisher he could think of that would not have been beyond a threatening phone call or two.

Welcome to the wonderful world of TEFL online! If you are a TEFL blogger (and let’s face it, everyone who reads TEFL blogs is), here’s hoping that they continue to be attracted to me who can now cope rather than the rest of you who probably have better things to do than deal with them. It does slightly annoy me though, because I would probably get brownie points from my school for getting them into ELTJ etc, especially if I move back into more teacher training as I’d like to.

This entry was posted in Dave Sperling's ESL Cafe, Teacher forums, TEFL blogs, TEFL celebs/ TEFL heroes and villains, TEFL villains- Paul Lowe. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Why you don’t know where I work

  1. That’s beyond rough and going probably quite a few stops past coarse, as well.

    Sure, the great thing about the Internet is that everyone can express their opinion. But slagging someone or something and granting no right of reply would have to be one of the most pathetic practices imaginable.

    As they say, Alex, where there’s smoke there’s fire. These “smokeys” that batter your comments section are either part of the fire and/or doing their best to cover one up.

    Totally understand why you’d need to keep your workplace name confidential – sad, but understandable. I’d like to humbly apologize for making that public guess about where you work (glad you edited it to maintain the secret), but also caution you a little (if I could guess it, probably others could, too). Why oh why did I publicly and correctly guess that you work at Unibladder’s Universe of English on Jeju Island? So sorry about that…

  2. Alex Case says:

    No probs.

    I’m hoping that people foaming at the mouth with rage will neither have the patience nor the knowledge of the biz to make the same leap of logic you did, and when it comes down to it I think it is important to tell as much about my teaching situation as I can just so that people know where I’m coming from

  3. Sara Hannam says:

    Totally respect your right to anonymity Alex. Not a problem. As a new blogger I found the whole idea of what you were talking about pretty overwhelming. If you can offer any advice to fellow bloggers about how to protect yourself etc. in this forum then I would be really grateful – you have already done this here, but any other tips?

  4. Alex Case says:

    Hi Sara

    I noticed that you briefly had a comment from [EDITED- by myself!] on your blog (different name, but an unmistakeable style!) I wouldn’t worry about him because as I said he just follows me (and Sandy) about, but will try and put some tips together. I guess the main one is to make sure your boss knows about your blog and supports you

  5. I remember that when I first started putting myself “out there” with an online presence, I was quite apprehensive about suddenly getting spam and worse. After such a long time of trying to keep as low a profile as possible, it felt really strange to be using my real name, and real information.

    Luckily, it hasn’t been bad, but that’s probably because I’m such a nobody online, and have only had a public presence since January 🙂

    Thanks for letting us have a peek at the nastiness that can happen, too. Hard to find a good balance between being available and being a target.

  6. Sara Hannam says:

    Thanks Alex. If you can feel the e-chill in the room it is the hair on the back of my neck and all that….So when you get posts like that you just delete them as I did right? Wd be really grateful for the tips. I don’t really want to give PL any more airtime in my questions to you as that may just make things worse – is he an blog-stalker then? Sounds like it. Thx for advice so far. Barbara you are *not* a nobody on line at all. Your contributions are great and really important. It would probably be easier to just go anonymous in blogging and I can see all the attractions of that status, but I sort of want to say the things I say as myself. Difficult one.

  7. Well, 3 tips for new bloggers (or people new to revealing much about themselves online) I have is:

    1. Moderate your comments (i.e. make them require your approval before posting them live) – you still have to occasionally read the hair-raising comment from someone, but you can delete it and spare your readers (and spare any embarrassment of having ridiculously venemous comments appearing on your blog before you happen to notice them);

    2. Develop a really thick skin (about 10 times thicker than the one you have for tense face-to-face encounters, because anonymous online commentators are usually willing to be 10 times more venemous than they are in a f-2-f conversation);

    3. Stick to safe feel-good posts on your blog (then again, don’t – that only seems to encourage some of these foamers even more as they think you’re a soft target…).


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