This past week I went through my list of blogs written by current and former sojourning English language teachers to find out who’s still blogging, who’s taking a break from blogging, and who quit blogging altogether. Through this search, I discovered and rediscovered three great blogs that I believe need attention and support.
Foreigners Media is a blog written by writer and artist, Vanessa Locher, who started out as a sojourning ELT in Korea. She describes her blog as “a place for expats, travelers, and explorers alike. After two years of globetrotting, I continue to be excited and surprised by the people I meet and the stories they tell me. These stories and experiences deserve to be documented and shared. This is why Foreigners Media exists.” I was quite surprised and delighted to see a blogger with similar interest and passions as me in terms of documenting the lived experiences of expats or sojourners. Just after listening to a few of her interviews, I found that these experiences should help others to understand why and how people live abroad.
Where Vanessa focuses on the sojourner part of my interest, Darren Elliot’s blog focuses on the (English) language teacher part. A sojourning or, perhaps more accurately, immigrant English language teacher in Japan, he has been blogging and interviewing people much longer than Vanessa, and he has been able to interview some big names in the field of English language teaching and applied linguistics, such as Stephen Krashen, Paul, Nation, Michael Swan and Penny Ur. Vanessa and Darren are great examples of two people at different stages in their career, and I hope Vanessa is able to be as successful as Darren.
The last blog I’m reviewing is Crimson North, developed by Zackary Downey, who goes by the name Scroozle. Although he doesn’t interview expats or teachers regularly, he is a sojourning English language teacher. His blog appeals to me because it seems to feature his culture learning of Korea as well as his professional learning of English language teaching, which are both represented at similar proportions. I find this unique as many bloggers either write more about culture and travel, like Vanessa, and others write more about their profession, like Darren. Zackary also doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously (at least publicly) compared to the others. I am interested in this because I’m interested in how sojourning ELTs develop their blogging identity, if purposefully or not.
Korea and Japan again?
Yes, these three bloggers are in Japan or Korea, which is where my participants from my dissertation research project also taught. Although I can relate more to these bloggers, I am interested in sojourning ELTs who teach in places other than Japan and Korea too. I just have not found enough. Perhaps my next post will be about sojourning ELT bloggers in other countries. Are you a sojourning ELT teaching elsewhere? What’s your story?