This is the 201st post on this blog. In order to commemorate the momentous occasion of eclipsing the 200 mark I thought it might be fun to share some scattered thoughts, trivia, minutia, stats, and links. Please find 20 random points after the high quality artwork.
- I have been teaching for around 16 years and have been blogging for around 4 of them. It is somewhat strange to think I have been blogging for ¼ of my teaching career because the whole blogging thing still seems pretty new to me.
- The number 200 seems like big number to me. Yet, not all the posts on this blog were penned by me as I have had a fair amount of guest posts and interviews. Some of the things I am most proud of on this blog are the interviews and guest posts. I am hoping for a few more interviews this year and maybe even one very soon. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, please do get in touch! I will take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed a guest post or agreed to be interviewed. I very much appreciate the time, effort, and kindness. Also, it was fun!
- On this blog there are also a few random (usually short) posts that were something of a placeholder or a reference to a conference presentation or just a series of questions so I surely cannot say I have written 200 posts.
- While I have not written 200 posts there are quite a few “pages” on here as well. In the menu bar above you can see sections called:
Attempts at Fiction
Other Written Work
Interviews on ELTRRR
The Attempts at Fiction includes materials I wrote for English students or training course participants. The Workshop Materials were designed for workshops with teachers and the Classroom Materials are things I have used or would like to use for English classes with students. The coolest part of this section is probably the page called, “*Authentic Material That May or May Not be Useful for Your Class.”
I guess the rest of the sections are probably self-explanatory. Maybe you will want to check them out. If you have time. Either way. The ball is in your court.
- With just over 4 years and ever so slightly over 200 posts (not including the aforementioned pages) my mad mathematical skillz tell me this is an average of 50 a year. Pretty pretty pretty high, I’d say.
- Last year was hopefully a bit of an aberration as I missed my (not very serious) targets in terms of blog posts. I had more than my share of reasons but I am hoping I will be back to 50 posts in calendar year 2016. Oh shit, it is already March?
- I also missed my rough target for hits last year. Yes, I had one. While I am certainly not and have never really been #initforthehits it is a metric that I look at
from time to timevery often.
- It doesn’t make much sense to equate hits with importance or influence or anything like that but hits do come to mind when I find myself in (somehow surprisingly frequent) polite disagreements about the influence of this blog. It is not humility, false or otherwise, which causes me to discount the influence. It is partially the hits. For example, my most recent post (admittedly with a small potential audience in that it was aimed at conference organizers) has had 74 views in 25 days. Stats.
I am not at all fishing for compliments or disagreements or testimonials on the importance of this blog.
- In terms of hits the biggest day still remains November 10th, 2013. This post about how I got my first university job (and some extra tips) was linked to by a job ad site I had never previously heard of and this drove a lot of traffic to this blog. The tips for job seekers were added as an afterthought because I felt bad for those who might turn up on the page and be turned off by “just” a story.
If you think I am trying to make some point about how fickle blog hits can be you are correct. I don’t think that post is among my best or most interesting.
- Still (!) sticking with hit talk, these days the most popular page or post on my blog is the page that contains a farewell speech I wrote for and delivered to my interpreting students in December 2013. I think I created pages for the same type of thing in 2014 and 2015 but it is the 2013 speech complete with all the in-jokes and random references that remains popular. It also seems to be big India and The Philippines for whatever reason the SEO Gods have deemed suitable.
- Before this year I had never been called “late for dinner” or “conservative.” I still, to my knowledge, have yet to be called the former. As I racked my brains about what I’d written that would be considered conservative I began to speculate it might have something to do with this post entitled, “Korean University Jobs: A Golden Opportunity” or this one called, “Imagine Your Korea as a Sparkling Mecca of PD” My speculation on these posts helping paint me as conservative (or maybe it was my Marco Rubio tattoo?) could be completely wrong but I think it is still worth mentioning all this time later that these posts were written for specific purposes in mind. The PD in Korea post was written to combat those
dickheadsclowns who say Korea is a wasteland for professional development. I wanted to show that there are opportunities out there for those that seize them. I did not want to suggest everything is perfect. The post about university English teaching jobs was intended to not-so-subtly disagree with a person who was continually writing about how much of a dead end English teaching jobs in Korean universities are (while at the same time trying to peddle books on how to get university jobs teaching English in Korea. Perhaps I *should have linked to the post but I really just couldn’t bear to do it. In case you, dear reader, are filled with curiosity and want to bathe yourself in my subtle satirical stylings google search of “Korean University Jobs: The Golden Handcuffs” would probably help you find the original post mine was based upon. At the time of writing this current post the “Do not link” website was not working.
- Regarding the influence of my blog (or most blogs in our field for that matter I think) I’m not really sure if there is much “influence” in the traditional sense of the word. Of course I mean no offense to other bloggers! I do have this sense there are not actually so many people reading ELT blogs (especially the more esoteric or niche ones that don’t offer much in the way of activities or advice). My idea is if influence is the end game or goal then I (we?) would want to work harder at writing the sort of stuff that more “regular” teachers would find interesting and useful and while at the same time paradigm shifting.
- The term “blogger” is interesting. Does it still conjure up images of a lonely and angry young man in his parents’ basement spewing out vitriol between sessions playing video games? For whatever reason I tend not to refer to myself as a blogger and would be more likely to say something like, “I have a blog” or some such.
- I have mentioned it elsewhere but one of my favorite things about having a blog is the simple fact that I have a blog and a place to share ideas if I feel compelled to do so. Sometimes ideas pop into my head and it is fun to think about how I might try to convey this in a blog post. All too often I don’t actually write the post but just thinking about the possibility is fun.It is a nice and nerdy way to spend a few dead or dull moments.
- I have numerous digital documents and scrawled notes with potential blog post topics and titles. The compiling of such lists is fun even if it does not always or often lead to any action.
- I think it is funny I have lists of titles because sometimes titles (and artwork!) are the most intimidating, if not time consuming, part of writing a blog post for me. I often just skip the artwork. I know this is not what one is supposed to do but when I am just not feeling a title or an image I think it is the best I can do and figure that those who are ready to plow through 1,000+ words of whatever I am going on about are not less likely to do so because there is not a random picture there. I could be wrong.
- Something I feel slightly more guilty about than the sometimes crappy titles and frequent lack of pictures is how I don’t always do a great job with attribution of pictures. I know that it is important, especially to some folks, but at certain times I really just don’t feel like it.
- Another thing I like about having a blog (and this is probably related to #14 above) is that it gives me a chance to think about and through certain topics. When these topics inevitably come up that means I have given them some thought. My thoughts might change but the fact I sat down to write about something usually tends to give me some more personal clarity and perspective on the subject. A powerful quote I have heard Tom Farrell use many times (attributed to E.M. Forster) is, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” which I think is apt.
- The post of the whole collection of 200 which probably drew the most confusion was, “Things I don’t care about #32: What you do in your class.” Apparently it was quite a rant, since the estimable Sophia Khan wrote it was “the first dummy spit rant” she’d seen on my blog despite the name of the blog. I also think fondly about “I couldn’t teach class today because Confucianism” not least for the variety of responses it received. I guess was trapped again between trying to play a role without winking too much at the audience or letting on that it was a spoof of sorts. The post that I think about most is probably, “Doing it the right way in the subway station and in class” mostly because it pops into my head quite often when I go through the barrier at the subway station.
- It looks like the only proper way to finish off this self-indulgent post is with thanks to others. This gratitude goes to those who encouraged me at any time in these 4 years of blogging. I especially appreciate the confidence and energy I got from others especially at the start and when my motivation was not so high. Thank you also goes to everyone who has read, commented, shared, or mentioned something in person. Thank you!
Congratulations on the 200 post milestone, and here’s to 200 more!
From your secret admirer, John Steele
The secret is out.
Good stuff. Here’s to the next 201 conservative/profane posts.
Thanks Marc, I appreciate the comment and the support. I think we started following each other on Twitter last year and a few times i thought “I wonder if Marc would like that old post from ___ (2012-2014)” so I was glad to share a few old posts in this one. As you know I enjoy reading your blog!
(and sorry for any pressure to write about certain topics!)
There’s no pressure like peer pressure! It’s all good. Even though I am a prodigious reader of your archives, I always find something emerges on Twitter from time to time that I haven’t read. Cheers!
In response to 2) I’d be happy to do a guest post, or be interviewed (if you think I’m interesting enough! 😉 )
Totally agree with 12). Sadly.
I think you are more than interesting enough! I love the idea of a guest post and/or an interview. I will get in touch about this soon in a more private channel. Thanks very much for the interest!
And as for my point 12, I had a whole paragraph in my original draft of the post about stuff like preaching to the choir and such things but it got a bit long-winded for just 1 of 20 points. Perhaps I will revisit it soon.
I’d just like to say your blog was one of the major reasons I started blogging more!
Wow. That is great to here and perhaps a nice example of the sort of “influence” I was not considering. Thank you for telling me, Anthony. It is especially nice to hear because you have some stellar stuff out there that I am sure is very useful for teachers around the world.
Congratulations, and please keep writing 🙂
Thank you Sandy! I appreciate it. You have been a big influence!
Favourite blog image ever.
I will have to admit that I was quite pleased with it, myself. It took some doing to find the perfect balance between childish and whimsical.
I can confirm that MG is never late for dinner.
I am glad we are able to put this issue to rest.
A wonderful collection of thoughts – especially agree with #13. Your blog means a lot to me – keep writing. To ELT RRR! 🙂
Thank you for the comments and encouragement Zhenya. I was very happy to see them.
It is nice to know that people are reading but even nicer to know the people that are reading.
Happy 201st!! Your blogging goals are at least 50 times bigger than mine, and I really hope you do it, because every single one of your posts has been fun to read and something to think about. I’m gonna embarrass you more by adding that this year I’ve face-to-face met three wonderful people who(m) I originally met on Twitter via you. You are an amazing connector. And that picture of you and Kevin Stein and Scott Thornbury waving a note that says Hi Sophia is high on my list of favourite things. Looking forward to your next 201 posts 🙂
That was embarrassing. And sweet. Thank you. Next time I am in SE Asia I will do better to meet up face to face. I think we will have lots to talk about! 🙂
Happy 4 year blogiversary! I enjoyed your blog retrospective and your thoughts on blogging… (And your artwork is fabulous :)). I especially love your thought that one of your favorite things about having a blog is the fact that you have a place to share ideas if you feel compelled to do so, and that it is fun to think about how you might try to convey some ideas that pop into your head in a blog post. Also, playing with ideas, pondering the things you know but in a new way is actually the most fascinating part of blogging, and in my opinion one of the best ways to learn and improve.
I’m looking forward to your next 201 fun, inspiring and thought-provoking posts. 🙂