Summer of Changes
Now that I have finally secured a job in the field of English language teaching, my first since pursuing my PhD back in 2009 when Barack Obama just began his first term as US President, I can focus 40+ hours a week on English language teaching and learning. That may sound crazy to some people, but I’ve learned a lot over the past 6 years that I finally get to apply what I learned by helping students, teachers, and an intensive English program.
What about sojourning ELTs?
Once I earned my PhD, I needed a little break from focusing on my research interest of sojourning ELTs. That little break ended with 9 months trying to get published and being on the job market, so I couldn’t devote too much time to learning more and keeping updated. Now that I have started my new job and finally settled down, today has been the first day to get reacquainted with sojourning ELTs.
As you may know, I’ve been following many sojourning ELTs through their blogs, on Twitter, and/or on YouTube. This week, I rejoined Facebook to increase my understanding the online social networking of sojourning ELTs. (I guess I should eventually pay more attention to Pinterest too.) When I’ve been inattentive to sojourning ELTs online for a long time, which in this case has been eight months, I go through my list to see which sojourning ELTs left the profession and/or returned to their home country. I learned that many of these former sojourning ELTs have turned to travel writing or journalism. I’ve seen other former ELTs follow this path earlier, but there seems to be a higher proportion of them going this route now. It didn’t know there was much of an audience for this niche. I’m somewhat interested in the niche of travel writing and its relation to sociocultural anthropology research, a topic discussed in James Clifford’s book Routes, which I wrote about in my previous blog post.
I am also discovering that sojourning ELTs are sharing fewer narratives about their cultural learning. Many still share their interpretations of the host culture, but they do not share the process of making these interpretations…at least on blogs. I haven’t gone through sojourning ELT’s YouTube channels in depth yet, and that’s where I’ve been finding more in-depth narratives about cultural learning. I’m developing a classification between what I am calling for now “What I think about (the host culture)” and “What I am learning about (the host culture),” with a preference for the latter as the former runs the risk of classic anthropology with the privileged visitor making definitive statements about the natives.
ELTs Turned Travel Writers
I’d like to end this post by sharing several examples of sojourning ELTs who may or may not be teaching English anymore, but their blogs are distinctly created or rebranded for travel writing.
Expat Kerri – http://www.expatkerri.com/
Farsickness – http://farsicknessblog.com/
No Place to Be – http://www.noplacetobe.com/
Once a Traveler – http://www.onceatraveler.com/
One Weird Globe – http://www.oneweirdglobe.com/
This is not a complete list but just several of the many travel writing blogs created by (former) sojourning English language teachers. I urge you to visit each one and see how each blogger has made a connection (if any) to both types of careers. Perhaps they will inspire you to become a travel writer or even teach English abroad.