A look back at 2013 on this blog
2014 is here and it came a bit quicker than I expected it to. I had a few blog posts in mind related to the end of the year and the holiday season but it just didn’t happen. I did manage two (here and here) of the five most self-indulgent posts (which is saying something. Please note: this post might be close) on my blog in the final daze of 2013 though. In my next post I will talk a bit about comments and commenting (Spoiler Alert: I didn’t meet the commenting goals I laid out in this post from early 2013) but here I wanted to share some musings and perhaps some amusing things related to this blog in the year twenty-thirteen.)
As much as I love stats (mentioned in one of the aforementioned “about me” posts) I am not going to talk specifically about blog hit stats here. A gentleman never tells. Especially, perhaps, one that is not in it for the hits.
The most popular stuff on this blog were not actually posts but other stuff. The most popular was
Home page / Archives. I suspect this, along with the About page is pretty normal to be the most popular on blogs.
Another category of the most popular parts, (actually “pages”) are “Training Notes” columns I wrote for K0tesol’s “The English Connection” magazine with Manpal Sahota a few years back. Some of these are:
Building Positive Group Dynamics
Improving Your Teaching Practice through Reflective Journal Writing
Better use of Dialogues
Large Class Management
The other older pieces that attracted attention (and like the above must be related to search terms) were Reflections on Teaching, Learning, and Lesson Planning and Language, gender, power, and performance on the fantasy lines. I am very glad I dug these out of my external hard-drive and posted them on here.
The most popular proper post of the year in terms of hits was surely the one entitled, “Native English speakers in Korean public schools were destined to fail.” I think I can also say that this post, a guest post, was among the most controversial to appear on my blog. I am very happy I asked the author to share his/her thoughts (and I thank the author for sharing) but I have some mixed feelings about the post. First, while I maintain it was well-written and interesting I do believe that I could have exerted a bit more editorial control to help make things a bit less controversial and a bit clearer to the general public. The comments on this post give an example of what I mean in terms of controversy. I still think the whole experience was a good one because it raised some important issues. It also gave me a chance to have guest posts on this topic from Manpal Sahota and Michael Free which I felt added a lot to the discussion. My feelings on this post as it relates to this blog are again a bit of bittersweet. Sweet that it got people talking and reading but bitter that it took on a bit more of an arguing rather than discussing tone. Another bit of bittersweetness was how a friend reported that he saw this post shared on Facebook by a friend of his (who had never worked in a public school) saying something like, “Yup, that is how it is.” This got me thinking about maintaining a balance between controversial and thoughtful and as well as how to promote healthy debate which are things I will keep in mind going forward.
(I am also hoping to get some more guest posts from Msrs. Sahota and Free and others in 2014)
Another post that drew a lot of interest was this one, How I got my first college job in Korea (kind of). A job site reblogged it which gave it the majority of hits. As I was writing the post I was more focused on the story because I thought it was funny but the post morphed into something different. A look at the tags will show that I was a bit cynical about the post itself. I found it interesting that this was the post that drew interest and attention because I felt it was different than my usual style in many ways. Anyway it was a good learning experience related to finding a balance between posts that will draw wider interest and those posts I want to write.
(Translation: The story is what I wanted to share and the tips are what I felt I had to share. Interesting that it was the very “tippiest” of posts that got garnered such attention. To be be fair, it was reblogged from a job site.)
The most commented upon post was 29 statements about lesson plans. This post was just what the title says. I was pleased it generated a lot of discussion (and even some additional statements to consider.) Another cool thing was how Jonathan Sayers made a survey related to these statements and shared the results. Also, Steve Brown wrote “The case for anti-planning” which was related to some of the discussions and which then prompted The Secret DOS to write a response to that. There was even a related ELTchat (there are a bunch of great links in the summary here) which was enjoyable and insightful. Posting this got me thinking about the value of sharing such things because I didn’t think this was much of a post at first but I was thrilled that I ended up sharing it. Thanks to all who commented and/or took it in different directions.
Thus far I have shared some pages and three of the most popular posts from the year but none of the posts were those I was super proud of. I was happy I posted them for sure but to be 100% honest I would have been happier if some other posts ended up being more popular. I realize it is a complicated process and I hope I don’t sound pouty. I just think the posts mentioned above didn’t feel so much like they were mine or my style. I was pleased that posts like A letter to my high school Spanish teacher, Cool things that happened today, The Dude Abides, and Talking about pictures were among the more popular posts from the year.
At first I would have expected the “*Authentic material that may or may not be useful for class” page to be more popular but the more I thought about it the more I started to think this is sort of an individualized thing and that the layout of the page wasn’t doing me any favors. I can’t shake the feeling there is some useful stuff there for other teachers, though.
Congratulations on making it thus far on what could have been a tedious forced walk through my own personal memory lane. By way of apology (and with a tip of the hat to Hugh Dellar who did something similar last year and with shoutouts to Josette LeBlanc and Alex Grevett who have been known to enjoy such things) I offer you a sampling of some of the search terms that have led folks to my blog in the last year. After “teacher talking time” the second most popular search term was “party time excellent” which I think is great. Here are some other search terms that caught my attention:
(all written as they were searched)
- as possible as i can
- tps report cover sheet
- fantasy line
- broken workplace culture
- elt jargon
- n = no e-lt
- is there such a word observee?
- esl lesson on the rant
- naom chomsky and hallidy
- urination distance (Well I did use it in a title)
- pissing for distance
- difference between education and training sex
- outdated concepts
- avoidance of strong swear words
- manpal sahota
- why are the names of english towns so strange?
- t p s logo
- questions about clowns
- the wire “what are you a park ranger”
- big lebowski gif files
- condescending native speakers
- not all authentic materials are useful
- sex with Stephen Krashen
- sex training class stories
- quote on “student opinion is important”
- happy new year kotesol my husband
Did not realise I could see a list of all the search terms that had led to my blog, I’d just been aware of them any time I’d looked. It’s a strange feeling when you see how many searches are your name!
I feel a bit guilty that introduced you to this weird dark world.I hadn’t really thought about the name search thing until you mentioned. **Digression alert** I hadn’t really thought about it too much in my case because my name is quite common. I have a friend with a not-so common name and some less than flattering pictures online and I think a nerdy blog would be a good way to push those not flattering pictures down the google list. **digression finished
I think you mentioned that you were advised by your agent to start a blog. Perhaps having a blog is then a good way to sort of control what you want people to see when they google you. Thanks for reading and commenting and have a great year!