Thursday, March 31, 2011

In Search of: The First TEFL Blogger


Okay, okay, I've been credited as, and even have taken credit for being, the first TEFL blogger.

I can't continue this masquerade any longer.

So of course, there weren't really any blogs, until about 2004, and if you wanted to write something about your experiences you basically had two choices: you could post some stuff on somebody's message boards, or you could make your own dedicated website.

(I used the wonderfully crude free one at Angelfire to start my own website about English teaching, back at the beginning of 2003.)

Now, as I mentioned in another entry, I know Harry Hutton had posted some stuff about English teaching in the Gaza Strip on a dedicated website he had as early as 2000 -- but then, like most of us, he switched to a blog in 2004, and I don't think that original website exists now.

As is also well-known, Simon Barnes' I HATE ESL website existed as early as 2001, but came and went many times, and changed into ENGLISH DROID. (Recently resurrected here.) In a sense it was not a "blog" however, as he wrote satirical article involving fictitious characters, rather than stuff about his real experiences.

Now, there was another guy who posted stuff about his experiences as a teacher in Japan -- the original site went under the name "I am Japanese School Teacher" and "Gaijin Smash." it's hard to follow the web-train now, because he lost his original domain name after getting involved with Tucker Max's ill-fated Rudius Media blog network.

(That might make him the most widely-read English teacher blogger, not that he made a dime out of the deal. I can go ahead and admit that he beat me out in applying for a position there -- thank you once again, Cruel Providence!)

He, I think, started posting stories as early as 2003 -- definitely in 2004. I think most of his fans were not English teachers, as I never saw him mentioned much, but rather fans of anime and Japanese culture and all that.

He's married to a Japanese woman, has a baby, and maintains a Wordpress blog called GAIJIN CHRONICLES at http://gaijinchronicles.com and, after the recent ongoing tragedies in Japan, deserves a visit and probably a donation.

But, as for English Teacher Zero:

Dating back to 2000 -- an English teacher in Thailand has maintained a website that discussed dating Thai women, advice about nightlife and other aspects of life in Thailand, and a rather extensive amount of information about teaching in Thailand. (Including, at one time, reviews of specific schools, which were so influential at that time that a former employer of mine actually contacted him for ways he could improve the school, or at least the review of the school.)

It has changed considerably over the years, and now seems to be heavily focused on advertising and Thai holidays in general. His readership, it seems, was mostly fans of Thailand and its particular charms, rather than English teachers, although he was often mentioned (and castigated) on ESLCafe back in the day.

He did however, frequently post "columns" which were very much in the spirt of blog posts, and had MAINTAINED THAT WEBSITE CONTINUOUSLY since 2001.

So, English Teacher Zero, the first English Teacher blog was:

STICKMAN'S GUIDE TO BANGKOK.

www.stickmanbangkok.com

1 comment:

Travelroach.com said...

I've been reading this site for about 5 years now. I remember it back before blogs and rss existed, when everything was done in old-school HTML. I don't remember it back from when it was on Angelfire. ETX is the internet autority on hard-drinking and lasciviousness as it applies to teaching ESL abroad.

I remember Stickman's Bangkok from a long time ago too...the internet was a quieter and simpler place before blogs came to be.