1. No preamble or preramble, we are just getting right into the list here. I still cannot believe how much I like blogging. I never would have thought I’d do it, let alone like it or get much out of it. My thanks, as always, goes to Josette LeBlanc for being such a diligent and persuasive “blog pusher.”
2. Last year around this time I was tasked with sharing 11 facts about myself. It was something I put off doing for a while and then enjoyed.
3. I like lists. I do. I think it is somewhat sad to see the listification and clickbaiting that goes on in the internet world these days. After two listicle posts in a row I hope to get back to paragraphs soon.
4. Oh shit, I just remembered that I have one more list on my mind. I previously wrote a post called “Sorry for judging” where I listed some things that bothered me in the past but don’t these days. I am still thinking about “12 things which to cause me to judge you” or something like this. Stay tuned. I’ll be wearing my judgey pants whilst drinking haterade.
5. One of the apparently many things that irk me is when connected people say things like “there are no ELT blogs anymore.” This reeks of laziness, at best, to me. I know I have mentioned this a few times, but c’mon people!
6. Damn, that means another upcoming listy post for me is sharing and recommending new(er) blogs that have caught my attention. I think it is nice to mix a bit of positivity and celebration with the occasional spite and bile that can also appear here.
7. Some interesting (to me at least) search terms that led readers to this blog this year were:
happy new year kotesol my husband
party time excellent
many variations on “how to study like a Korean (student)”
flashy lesson plans
stephen krashen personal life
female urination contest
learn random crap
8. This year I set a target for blog hits per month and I will come quite close to reaching it. It was sort of bothersome and even stressful on occasion but it was also sometimes nice motivation to write. I shall not do the same thing next year. One interesting result of this target was how it caused me to be a bit more self-promotional than I might have otherwise been. I think it is an interesting balance between being annoying and needy and simply sharing stuff. I suspect I am not the only one who has considered this balance. I’d prefer potentially interested people to read my stuff but I don’t to be spamming people or groups.
9. This is my 59th post of the year. This number includes guest posts, interviews, and everything else. I (secretly and silently) set 50 posts as my goal for 2013 and that seems like a workable number for me. I have a feeling this will not be my last post of the year. We shall see.
10. I think in 2015 I will play around a bit more with the “publish later” function here on WordPress. I think I only managed to use it once in 2014. (In case you are the very curious type it was the post called “Burgers, language, culture, confusion, and headaches“)
11. My post from 2014 that had me thinking the most after writing it was on Confucianism and teaching English, mostly because of the reactions it garnered. It makes me chuckle thinking there are likely some folks who’ve read my blog only once and walked away thinking I was exactly the type of person I was trying to lampoon. Oh well, I guess that is life.
12. I’ve done a horrible job responding to comments in the last few months, after being mostly prompt for the rest of the year. It is terrible and not something I am happy about. I even considered disabling the comments as something of a punishment to myself. I also considered not posting till all the comments had been responded to. In the end I just kept posting and figured I’d get to the comments “later” when I had more time. I guess that time is now and I *should get to the comments soon. I will elaborate on my excuses here, it’s mostly that when I have time online unencumbered by other work I tend to spend that time writing posts and sort of put commenting on the back burner. Then the days spill over into each other and that thing I wanted to do gets pushed to the next day only to be less of a priority than other things. I wondered if seasoned bloggers or rapid comment responders could share some tips on this? I promise to respond promptly!
13. One running joke and stream of updates I had going on Twitter was that I’d not use the sign off “Best” for the whole year. I can report I only used it once. It was a complete mistake caused by habit and I laughed when I hit send. It was the 5th message I sent that day to that person and it just kind of happened. Thank you for all the support and interest on this matter throughout the year. While I failed in this mission, I can still hold my head high because I believe I have mostly eliminated the desire to use this sign off. I will surely admit to using, “My best” and “Best regards” numerous times. “Best wishes” seems odd to me in an email sign off.
14. Thanks very much for reading this and other posts. Best wishes for 2015.
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