Why Dave’s ESL Cafe Deserves a Fair Shake.

Having been in the ESL industry for many years now, I often find myself perusing ESL websites, blogs and Facebook pages looking for information to make my job easier.  Now for anyone who isn’t aware, there are millions of websites and blogs related to the acronym ESL. There are also a lot of pages that arent related; one example being ESL|Facebook which, as it turns out, is a gaming page in Germany. Go figure. 


Anyhow, of all the webpages out there, one stands alone as having been a mainstay of ESL for a very long time Dave’s ESL Cafe’s began about 25 years ago when the internet was just beginning as a goto for ESL teachers. The brain child of Dave Sperling, it offered a wide variety of services including a job board, user created materials and class management strategies that many instructors found valuable. It also had an open forum for teachers to share their ideas regarding ESL. Unfortunately, the forum quickly turned into an arena of continuous rants and blacklisted schools. In response, Dave began to censure comments which resulted in teachers getting upset because they felt they were being robbed of their voice. 


Surprisingly, this debacle has been going on for years now.  Well, the complaint side of it anyway. Early complaints included Dave being overly protective of recruiters and schools advertising on his site by denying teachers the ability to express displeasure while more recent complaints actually accused him of supporting recruiter’s scams in China.  One blog apparently was displeased with Dave still using the web to speak about ESL, but neglecting to maintain the content or upgrade the appearance of his own site. The blogger also made a point by stating not once, but twice that they weren’t bothered by Dave’s financial success. Yeah, right. 


What’s startling here is that ESL teachers would actually believe that a private job board posting overseas positions would be accountable for their welfareNews flash, neither the private job boards nor their owners are accountable for anything regarding job applicants, other than to post jobsNow, if the owner is aware that the jobs being posted on their site involved illegal activities, then that is a different situation, but  that doesn’t seem to be the case with ESL Cafe. Alright, so some of the recruiters have been proven to be unethical by posting non-existent jobs to attract candidates. Sorry, but that’s not a crime. It’s called bait and switch and even Walmart has done it in the past.  


As for content or appearances, it’s easy to see why Dave hasn’t bothered changing the look of his prize jewel. For more than 20 years it has been the number one job board for ESL teachers. The site still receives more than a million hits every year. It’s easy to navigate with job postings updated daily and many teachers still claim they find the materials very usefulBesidesnowadays there’s a multitude of websites out there that specialize in materials and resources that are free for teachers to use.  


What’s important here is to realize that Dave’s intention 25 years ago was to learn about the internet while providing people in ESL a place to gather. Something that was desperately needed at the time. In all fairness, ESL Cafe istill a very reliable site for the ESL community even if Dave hasn’t jumped to meet the every whim and fancy of a few disgruntled teachers and bloggers. Instead, he has moved on using other web platforms to share his thoughts and ideas instead of worrying about things of which he has little to no control, which is something many in the ESL community might learn to do. 


Published: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 11:57 PM by eslpanda
Viewed 902 times

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