Tagged: bloggerbehindtheblog

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.

It’s the thought that counts: 11+ things about me

Well hello and happy holidays!

I wanted to share some interesting and random facts about myself here. Yet, I am afraid I am not so interesting and not nearly as interesting as many in my PLN. What follows is (at least) 11 random things about me.

One thing that springs to mind in comparison (with full realization it is not a competition and that such comparisons are not needed or helpful) to my esteemed colleagues is how I have absolutely no musical talent whatsoever. (1) I definitely can’t sing or play any instrument. I am not totally sure what tonedeaf means but I might be that. I am not actually all that into music, even though I occasionally post what I am listening to on Facebook. That is more like a shout out to a time or person than anything else. I am ok with pretty much any type of music including classical. If I had to choose my favorite types it would be 90’s hip hop and 70’s rock. But, as I said, I am not really into music and I have never been all that into it. In fact, I have never purchased a CD for myself, which I think it is a startling fact considering the generation in which I grew up. (2) Two things I have always been into are reading and sports. I remember reading voraciously in high school but not really reading the assigned books for English class. Since the teachers were going to tell us the meanings anyway and then test us on these explanations I didn’t’ really see the point in this.  I read a lot on my own and enjoyed (and still do) all sorts of books. Among the most memorable reading experiences for me in high school was reading The Stand (unabridged, mind) in about 10 days. (3) On a related note, the most famous person I have ever met is probably Stephen King. (4) It was long enough ago that I thought it was brilliant and not at all trite to tell him that I was his “number one fan.” By reading my own choices in high school I missed out on some classics. I remember slightly kicking myself one summer during college when I finally got around to reading The Great Gatsby. While on the subject of classics, I feel I *should mention that it took me about ten years each to get through “A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man, and Grapes of Wrath  (Much respect and mad props to the Secret DoS for getting through this one in a day. With a hangover.) (5) It wasn’t that I disliked these books. I liked them fine. It was just that I kept losing my copies of them and taking a while to get back on track. When I got through them I felt deserving of some sort of award. My fifth and almost final copy of Grapes of Wrath had a few pages ripped off at the back so I had to wait a few months before getting to the very final ending. Imagine my surprise when I finally got to the very end after all those years. The only two things I have ever really collected are old books and baseball cards. (6) When in the states I typically try to pick up a few books from 100 or so years ago. I have no idea how valuable these are (or more likely, aren’t) it has just been a bit of fun and I have never even thought of reading them. These days I am trying to curtail my book buying because this nasty habit takes up too much space. Aside from reading sports have always attracted my attention. The pinnacle of my fandom and random was undoubtedly when I followed the Yokahama F-Marinos,  a Japanese professional association football soccer team, around as part of the Marinos (un)Official International Supporters Team (aka MOIST). (7) Those were the days. The sport that I was most interested in as a kid was baseball. I loved it. The strategy, the stats, the pace, the lore. I loved it all. The 1986 Red Sox broke my heart but maybe taught me a bit about life. These days I don’t think I could sit through an entire baseball game without doing something else like drinking, talking, chatting or tweeting but I still consider myself a baseball fan as I like to keep up with the stats and stories. Statistics and numbers in any area always catch my attention. (8) I find it particularly pleasing to try to make up or think about numbers to quantify things we might expect are not easily quantifiable. Also, I like nice round numbers.  (9) I felt this push towards round numbers recently when Steve Brown posted his 50th blog post of the year and I felt somehow relieved.  I even like to leave the house at even times when possible. What else? I probably like movie quotes more or as much as the next guy. (10) Even though I might talk at length about The Wire or Breaking Bad I don’t really watch TV very much and could surely live without it (though if I didn’t have a TV I hope I wouldn’t get all hipsterish about it and constantly brag about not having a TV.) (11)

Some readers might be wondering why I shared the above.

It is (part of) my addition to the 11 things challenge/whatehaveyou that has been floating around the ELTblogosphere as of late. Here are the listed tasks:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
    Next post!
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
    Next post!
  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.
    Not doing this now. Since I am a rock’n’roll rebel and known party pooper I have decided not to do this or Step 4 at this point in time. Though, I did ask 10 questions to readers  recently which is not quite the same thing.
yuji bomber head

In the spirit of giving, I offer you this photo from the MOIST official archives.
The wigs are in honor of Yuji Nakazawa.