Every January I go through my list of sojourning ELTs who blog or bloggers who teach English abroad. I started this list in 2010 as part of my doctoral dissertation research project. You can view a part of it in the tab above, Active Bloggers. On that page, I divide the active bloggers into three subgroups: well-established blogs, current and relevant blogs, and other topics. Today I revisited the blogs of the first two subgroups.
Well-Established & Still Blogging
Four of the six sojourning ELTs with well-established blogs are still blogging.
Busan Kevin is still blogging and moved his Just Japan podcast materials to a different site. The last time I explored, his Just Japan podcast dominated the site and I couldn’t tell how frequently he was still blogging.
Michael Griffin’s ELT Rants, Reviews, and Reflections blog is still going strong. It’s one of my favorites because we have similar views on the ELT profession and experience teaching in Korea.
English Teacher X is still raunchy.
Baye McNeil’s Loco in Yokohama is also still doing very well. I’m also a fan of this blog because of Baye’s engaging writing style and he’s not afraid of addressing issues of race in an informed and respectful manner. Many ELTs get tripped up when addressing race and ethnicity in a country they are not from, but not Baye for the most part.
Current, Relevant, & Still Blogging
Fifteen of the twenty-eight blogs that I considered current and relevant last year are still current, relevant, and active this year. Because there’s a higher number of those, I will just list them below.
- Writer. Traveler. Tea Drinker.
- Christina Sky Box
- Reflections of a Teacher and Learner – now in Bahrain
- Don’s ESL Adventure!
- EFL Notes – less active now, now contributing to ELT Research Bites
- Japanese Rule of 7
- JimmyESL – functions more like a website now
- Evidence Based EFL
- Sandy Millin
- Shea in Japan
- The Japan Guy – functions more like a website now
- The Teacher James – less active now
- Throwing Back Tokens – less active now
What makes these not well-established? I’m asking myself the same question. My criteria is outdated because I have less time exploring how well connected the bloggers were to the sojourning ELT community. If appearances were the determining factor, a few of these blogs seem more well-established than the well-established blogs. I may merge these two subgroups into one category.
Who Stopped Blogging?
Of the two well-established blogs, one of them stopped because she left Korea. I’m unsure if she’s continuing to teach English or not. The others, Evan and Rachel, stopped blogging and now communicate with their audience through Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. They also left Korea and are now Peace Corps volunteers in Indonesia.
This brings me to the rest of my list of sojourning ELT bloggers. On my Active Bloggers pages, I have one more subgroup, Other Topics. Additionally, I have two more categories: inactive blogs and abandoned/expired blogs.
- Other topics blog – the blogger used to blog about teaching English in their host country but now writes about travel, another hobby of theirs, or tips to live and/or work in the host country
- Inactive blog – the blogger hasn’t published a new post for 6-12 months and hasn’t signaled that he or she is leaving the country, leaving the profession, or ending the blog
- Abandoned blog – the same as inactive but the blogger hasn’t published a new post for over a year. Or the blogger announces that they are leaving the country or ending the blog but they leave the blog up on the web. This is the case for Smiling Seoul. Once in a while some bloggers will return to their abandoned blog.
- Expired blog – the URL doesn’t work, the server is down for an extended period of time, and/or the blogger shut it down or deleted it
From blog to website
Evan and Rachel‘s blog is an example of a growing trend of blogs changing their format to function more like websites. A couple other bloggers in the current & relevant subgroup did the same: JimmyESL and The Japan Guy. The Japan Guy’s site moved away from the blog format over a year ago, but it wasn’t a trend yet. Both JimmyESL and The Japan Guy’s site now function like many of the other topics blogs, so I will likely place them there.
There were three other blogs that used to be current and relevant that also fit into the category of other topics for other reasons.
- Gordsellar.com – writes about his hobbies and fiction writing
- Kanadajin3 – writes about living in Japan but not about ELT as she left the profession
- Lonna Lisa Williams – has left China and is now back in the United States, not teaching at the moment
Relevant but not current (inactive)
- Kimmy on a Quest – last posted in May 2016
- The Lives of Teachers – last posted in February 2016 (a very good blog)
- Roboseyo – last posted in August 2016 (16 years of blogging!)
- TEFL Reflections – last posted in September 2016
Abandoned blogs (ended in 2015)
- A Geek in Korea – the server is down today but it could come back up. I know he’s still active because I follow him on Twitter.
- Teach Them English – the server is down today but it could come back up
- Waegook Tom – blank page
Why do people stop blogging? As one of my dissertation committee members said flatly, “Life happens.” I understand most of the reasons to stop blogging. I wasn’t able to blog much since October 2016 because my life got filled up with other responsibilities.
I’m more interested in why ELTs leave their host country, but I’m even more interested in why ELTs leave the profession. My belief is that the strength of our profession is measured in the demand for our work and the well-being of teachers. My concern is that many good teachers leave because of undesirable working conditions abroad and at home. When good teachers leave, the profession is left with mediocre and poor teachers, and that is detrimental to the students. Where do the good teachers go? I am noticing that very few go on to be successful bloggers and writers. I myself am heading down the researcher/administrator path, but I still have opportunities to teach.
After this stage of catching up on sojourning ELT bloggers, I go look for more. I was able to find more new bloggers in 2016 than 2015 and 2014. I hope to report on the new bloggers I find plus inactive and abandoned blogs that have come back to life. Let me know if I missed any well-established or active blogs about teaching English abroad. Maybe you’re one of them?