All about me

In my most recent post I shared 11 (or more depending on how you count) random things about myself. This was all part of a blog challenge. The tasks were:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers.
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated.

I have already done #2 and decided not to do #4 or #5 (though I might revisit #5 some day). So that leaves #1 and #3. I do both of these below. Please note that I didn’t answer all the questions that were asked of me and just chose a few based on a very scientific and complicated algorithm. I hope I am not too much of a buzz kill and that no bad luck will come my way by not continuing the chain.

Acknowledge the nominating bloggers: 

I am very happy to have been nominated and even happier to have been nominated by such lovely people. That makes this part much easier. Thanks very much to those who nominated me. I was feeling very much like a big deal to have been nominated by such great folks. It is almost like the scent of rich mahogany magically appeared when the nominations started rolling in. I apologize in advance if my acknowledgements are a bit too sticky sweet. I also apologize if I missed someone who tagged me.

I have been known to call Rachael Roberts “The most reasonable person in ELT.” This might very well be true, but it actually doesn’t even come close to capturing her awesomeness. She is a joy to read and interact with.

Andrea Wade is one of 2 people on this list I have had the pleasure to meet and it was indeed a pleasure. She is as insightful, caring, fun, and funny in “real life” as she is online. You can read her report of the 2013 CAMTESOL Conference (where/when we met) here. Please be sure to check out the rest of her blog as well!

Laura Soracco is someone that I have been in touch with online for a few years now and I was impressed with her intelligence, creativity, sense of humor, and passion from the start. Alas, I haven’t met her face-to-face yet but Skype will have to do for now. I mentioned her blog, when it was new to me, in this post and I stand by my recommendation and look forward to more (no pressure though, Laura!).

Sandy Millin is the owner and author of a blog that I very frequently end up promoting and sharing. Her stuff on Twitter is super helpful and clear and well-written but so is everything else on her blog. I have always liked her blog tagline, which reads, “Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher” but never had a chance to express my appreciation of this line. Also, and more importantly, I have been very impressed with her writing and sharing for a long while now and I was very happy she nominated me for this.

Ljiljana Havran is someone I have had the pleasure of getting to know this year. I have learned a lot from her and I appreciate her sense of humor as well as her great balance between cynicism and positivity as well as her wisdom about the world. From my perspective she is another one of those people who writes beautifully in English but might not agree or readily admit it.

Tyson Seburn is the all time leader in comments on ELT rants, reviews, reflections. He is also a prolific blogger not to mention an all around good guy. I have enjoyed getting to know him over the past 2 years and recently realized that we had been in touch by email about 4 years ago (before I even considered joining Twitter). Tyson “excused” me from participating in this but some of his questions were so good I couldn’t avoid them.

Geoffrey Jordan, who I always call a straight shooter when I talk about him (which is pretty often!), writes a blog that I consider a must read. The blog seems pitched to prospective and current students of Applied Linguistics but I think there is a lot there for everyone in this field.

I have  thoroughly enjoyed meeting and hanging out with Malu Sciamarelli  at JALT the last two years. I think she is even going to go again next year! She is a frequent conference goer from my perspective. She is incredibly warm and funny and I recommend meeting her if you have the chance. Just give her a big hug for me.

My answers: 

(I tried to sneak a few answers in the previous post. Also yes, 20 questions is a nice round number.)

  1. What was your first favorite book when you were a child?
    Some biography of Abraham Lincoln. I remember reading it so often. I also remember judging other children for reading children’s books. I was a big boy reading non-fiction.
  2. Which quality would you like to change in yourself?
    None. I am perfect in every way.
    Changing ego related points would be great.
    That and the tendency to judge quickly (as seen all the way back to the times of question 1).
  3. What activity/hobby would you like to take up in 2014?
    Learning some Mandarin Chinese is atop my list at the moment.
  4. Do you still write anything by hand?  If so, what?
    Notes in class (like errors and such) and outlines of lessons and presentations would be the most common. Also, to-do lists and various planning and brainstorming notes are most commonly done by hand for me.
  5. What advice would you give to someone starting out in our profession?
    The first is that in terms of jobs and things like this: you are always applying for jobs no matter what you are doing. You could think that your current job is shyte and there is nothing to learn or improve on. Who knows who your co-workers, supervisors, and subordinates are and where they are going to be in a few years. Within reason try to treat everyone like they will be the ones deciding if you should be hired in a future position. Please note that this doesn’t mean you need to roll over and be spineless and avoid confrontation and standing up for what you believe in.In terms of teaching I guess the best advice I could give is that what you learned on that training course was a way and not the way.(This is a great question and I think I have a lot more to say about this one…I’d love to see what others think. I fancy blog challenge might be to pen a letter to yourself when you started teaching)
  6. What’s your earliest childhood memory?
    I have vague recollections of my mom dropping me off at daycare and me being very sick and hearing her explain what was wrong with me. I am never sure if this was real or not but it seems to match other eyewitness accounts of the same period.
  7. Do you have a pet peeve? If so, what is it? If not, have you ever had one, and how did you get over it?
    Do you mean to tell me that it is possible to get over pet peeves? Why would anyone want to…Ahh….OK.
    I’d say that my biggest pet peeve these days is excessive noise in coffee shops. I tend to do a lot of work in coffee shops.  As for the excessive noise thing, I feel like it is some sort of karmic justice which comes as result of me being very loud in public places and ruining a fair amount of evenings and even a few vacations for others.
  8. What is your favorite resource in teaching?
    You mean besides the #flashmobELT wall? It is really tough to say but if I had to choose just one I might say wikihow. There is so much useful stuff there and so much room for discussion and improvement.
  9. What was the last book you read and what did you think of it?
    I often have a few books going at the same time. The book that I most recently read start to finish was “The Surrendered” by Chang-Rae Lee (who might be the 2nd most famous person I have met and is surely the most famous person I have shared an elevator with). I enjoyed the book. I thought it was very dark and sad but also beautiful. I think the connection to Korea made it more interesting for me but I can recommend this book to anyone who likes well-written and depressing books.
  10. What was your first paid job?
    Taking care of a shared recreational facility. I had to cut the grass, paint, maintain the (old school clay) tennis court and things like that. It was a good experience in many ways.
  11. What’s the first thing you do when you get up?
    What’s the first website you check/go on each day? Why?
    This is essentially the same question! But my answer is not the same every day. It is usually some combination of Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter.These days it has been Facebook more often (as it has been very interesting lately) and maybe during the term it is more of a Gmail situation but I guess it depends on what I have going on.
  12. What can you remember about the first class you ever taught?
    The first class I taught for money was at a small language school in Jinju, South Korea. It started at 6:30 AM. The students (there were maybe 5) were lovely and very supportive. They didn’t seem to care that I didn’t know what I was doing.
  13. What do you vastly differently now than when you were a new teacher?
    I make a lot less copies. I care a lot less about “covering” certain things or ensuring that students touch each page of the textbook.
  14. How often do you go to the cinema?
    I believe I went to the cinema between 5-7 times in 2013 (with maybe one more to go) so I am going to say I go the cinema just about once every other month. I always try to go to the movies when visiting a new country and I am not afraid to go by myself whilst traveling. I have only been to the movies a few times by myself in the US and Korea but mustered up the courage to go by myself once this fall.
  15. What’s your favorite method of procrastination?
    Please see the answer to question 11.
    Also, (and I can’t believe I didn’t mention this in the random points about me thing in the previous post) I have a minor obsession with a website called WhatIfSports. The idea is that you draft/buy players from past seasons to create a new team and see how your team would fare against other similarly made up teams. Other sports are fine but the basketball version of this game is something that I am constantly thinking about. My current team features Larry “The Legend” Bird and Dennis “The Diplomat” Rodman at the forward positions and is tearing up the league.
  16. What is your idea of an ideal holiday?
    The beach with wifi is a good starting point.
    Other additions would be family and/or friends.
    Food and drink is a potential bonus.
  17. Out of these options, the best class size is… 1 student, 5 students, 13 students, 24 students, 50+ students.
    I have often thought 12 is a perfect number for class size so I’ll choose 13 here (and hope that someone is sick).
  18. You have 5 minutes to rescue one of your blog posts from oblivion. Which do you pick? Why?
    What kind of world is this? I think the post I would save would be the one called “Cool Things That Happend Today.” Part of the reason I wrote that post was as a reminder to myself about all the cool things that could happen and were happening in what was a particularly grueling semester. I was thrilled and amazed when other people shared their own cool things. I don’t think my post itself was anything super special or worth saving from oblivion but I feel the attached links and updates and the whole mood of things is worth saving and savoring.
  19. Life is too short to…
    …Worry about pens and board markers that don’t work.
    No really, I think life is too short to worry about all manner of unimportant things. The key is figuring out what is important, I suppose.
  20. What’s your favorite eltpic?
    This one from James Taylor (@theteacherjames) has been a favorite pic for a while now. I shared this and some others in my guest post on the ELTpics blog.  


Final Thoughts: 
Holy crap, there are some cool and interesting people out there! Though this type of challenge thing might not be exactly my speed I think it was loads of fun and I enjoyed reading about the #bloggerbehindtheblog (HT to Anne Hendler and “Lexical” Leo Selivan for the term/hashtag). Thanks to those who participated and thanks to everyone for making this an interesting and wonderful year for me here online. Thanks also for reading and I do hope it was at least mildly entertaining.


  1. Pingback: It’s the thought that counts: 11+ things about me | ELT Rants, Reviews, and Reflections
  2. Sandy Millin

    Yep, definitely mildly entertaining. In fact, it had me laughing out loud at a couple of points 🙂 I agree with you about 12 students, and I find 13 particularly frustrating because it’s not 12!
    Thanks for the mention of my blog tagline – it was something I came up with on the spur of the moment because I didn’t want it to say ‘Just another blog’, and I wish all of my spur of the moment ideas were that effective 😉 When I first met Leo Selivan, he surprised me by quoting it at me – I’d forgotten it was even there!
    And I agree with you about the cool and interesting people – this challenge has been fascinating!
    Have a great 2014!

    • mikecorea

      Hello Sandy,

      Thanks very much for responding. I am very glad you enjoyed it and also very glad you let me know.
      It was one of those things where I was sitting around and feeling like it was terribly boring so your message was timely and important. 🙂
      Maybe I was just intimidated by all the other interesting posts (like yours!)

      Sorry for the delay in responding.
      I hope the year has started out well for you.
      Take care and have a great year.

      ps- Also thanks for that story about the blog tagline thing. It is very interesting how it caught the attention of others but was something you’d forgotten about!

  3. annloseva

    Holy crap, I wonder what it feels like to be one of those cool and interesting people! (My way to say both posts have been a great read for me.)
    Now to the lists:
    1. This whole judging issue. I think I know what you’re talking about.) I didn’t read Lincoln’s biography (v.impressive by the way), but I think I was in general quite a haughty kid, but kept this in secrecy. Ego issue is connected.
    2. Thanks for your dedication in promoting movements and projects of relative importance)
    3. I like question 13 and the answer to it. I’d like to hear from you on it in some 15 years, just out of curiosity.
    4. 24 hours have passed since I read the post first time, and I am still laughing at the line you crossed out in 17. On some days I deliberately make less (not fewer) copies dead certain some students won’t show up. And if they do, it is such a chance to teach them the share thing)) Win-win.
    5. James Taylor is my favorite Instagrammer, in and out of ELT. I thank you for bringing my attention to this fact, I have an idea to include in my 11 things post.

    Cheers and enjoy the days!

    • mikecorea

      Hello Ann,
      I hope you will forgive me for the delay in responding. I like your list commenting on a list here. Let’s see what my response will be…
      a) I loved the word haughty here.
      b) I wish I could get my hands on that Lincoln book some day.
      b1) If i was so smart and great why did I need to read it over and over again?
      b2) Maybe the book was simply that captivating?
      c) I very happy to spread the glorious FlashmobELT movement as widely as I can.
      c1) I am sad and disappointed I wasn’t able (as I promised) to use a flashmob activity in my final weeks of classes.
      d) I noted your comment about question 13 and I hope I can remember to tell you my answer in the (not soooooo) distant future.
      e) I tried to make it clear that James is a great photographer full stop and not “just” on ELTpics and thanks for saying this. Maybe in 2015 (or 2105) i will join instagram.

      Thanks again for reading and commenting and I hope you have had a great start to the new year!

    • mikecorea

      I enjoyed it Andrea (not AndREA).
      It gave me a big smile to know that I’d made you blush. Even better that all I wrote was true.
      Take care and talk to you soon.

  4. ljiljana havran

    Great post, Mike, as ever. Thanks for mentioning me and for your kind words. 🙂

    I want to thank you for making this a wonderful and exciting year for me on line, as well. If it hadn’t been for your support, I’m not sure I’d be on Twitter now (I can remember how excited I was when I sent you my first tweet :)). Thank you for your support (for boosting my confidence), for your empathy (regarding some things we discussed about teaching) and many really wonderful moments I had this year.
    I’ve learnt a lot from you and your blog posts have always made me think and laugh a lot. I love your writing style (do not change anything about the vocabulary you use), your intellectual curiosity and your sense of humour most of all. Your first blog post that attracted my attention was your post ‘Cool Things That Happened Today’ (I liked your idea very much and tried it out with my students a few days after I’d read it on your blog, it was very successful and this is an idea I’ll always use with a new group of students).
    It’s great that you joined the Eleven Questions blog challenge because it was fun. I enjoyed your blog challenge posts (and your funny photo in the previous post, and the great photo in this one). I also enjoyed your answers, your answer number 19 is my favourite.

    I wish you good luck with Mandarin Chinese.

    Happy holidays to you and I hope you have a wonderful 2014 :)

    • mikecorea

      Hello Ljiljana!
      Thanks very much for the comments and kind words. I think I should save them somewhere. I am so glad to have been here with you on your twitter adventure. I have also enjoyed reading your blog and I am looking forward to seeing more (perhaps even a blog post about the cool things that happened to your students?). I hope you have had a great start to the year and that you have a wonderful year.

    • mikecorea

      Haha. That is funny. I shared this post with someone else before posting it and the strikethrough didn’t come through. They mentioned it was an interesting line before later realizing the strikethrough was part of it. Anyway, I am with you in thinking both these occurrences are significant in some way. Thanks very much for reading and commenting (this time and throughout the year), Tyson.

  5. Pingback: the last link ? | close up
  6. Pingback: A look back at 2013 on this blog | ELT Rants, Reviews, and Reflections

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