Both Anne and Alex have tagged me in the 11 things blogging challenge! I’m very grateful to be included after just beginning to blog. It does mean my second entry is a bit of a self-indulgent overshare though!
I met Anne and Alex through #KELTchat. They are both very thoughtful and generous people with lots of teaching wisdom. Anne intimidates me with her ability to dart around the country more often than I bother to travel around the Seoul metro, simultaneously getting other things done. And Alex is a very astute and skillful frequent #KELTchat moderator. I admire both of them.
This is how the 11 things challenge works:
- Acknowledge the nominating blogger(s).
- Share 11 random facts about yourself.
- Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
- List 11 bloggers.
- Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.
My 11 random facts:
1. You guys, I was a pretty heavy Livejournal user in the early 00s, and in those days these things were referred to as ‘memes’. It was via these things that I first encountered the word ‘meme’, which I originally thought was pronounced ‘me-me’, as in ‘this is an excuse to talk about me-me-me’. I loved doing them.
2. When I was a little kid I had recurring nightmares about Big Bird.
3. I was going to write an honours thesis about two Hitchcock films, but then I didn’t do honours.
4. I put ‘u’s in ‘honours’ because honours isn’t a thing in America, right? So even though I have embraced ‘color’ and now ‘colour’ seems weirdly ornate to me, it feels strange to type ‘honors’.
5. I am a bit of a Doctor Who fan, but I haven’t seen all extant serials or read many of the books or anything.
6. The food I most miss from home is my mum’s spinach and feta pie, with beetroot on the side.
7. I still have one baby tooth. A dentist in Australia assured me it will fall out when I’m eating steak one day.
8. When I was little I wasn’t allowed to watch commercial TV stations and my parents were very worried about me ‘becoming Americanised’. As a result I loved American TV and pop culture passionately.
9. This pattern may extend to Halloween, which is my favorite festival and I’ve really embraced doing Halloween activities with students in Korea.
10. What with answering two x 11 questions, I’m a bit worried about the length of this post and its intense me-me-ness!
11. I would probably be embarrassed to share 11 truly random facts about myself.
1. What was your very first job?
My first job was working for an educational software company. My first education related job! At the time I was very wary of the idea of teaching, but I liked making education-related content.
As far as first jobs go, it was weirdly ideal and dangerously high-expectation-setting. I had to make interactive questions related to Australia’s K-12 English curriculum. I had a lot of scope and freedom to be creative.
My manager was a former primary school teacher. She was thoughtful and attentive and nurturing and generous.
There were some drawbacks and odd things about the company, though, and I wasn’t there that long. I went on to do much more procedural jobs in which I was not treasured and nurtured by former primary school teachers.
2. What is your most valuable possession?
I am going to answer this question in terms of money value! And the answer is my Macbook Pro! I had been meaning to get a new Mac for maybe a couple of years. Finally I splashed out in October. ‘All the video editing I will suddenly start doing’, I reasoned, ‘Will make this totally worth it.’ Still no video editing actually done.
3. Where do you want to go to retire?
I am probably a person who shouldn’t retire. Given a big sprawling expanse of time to do what I want with, I get intimidated. Like writer’s block, except liver’s block.
If I do retire, and obviously it may not be a choice, I think I shouldn’t treat it as retirement. I should have projects! Lots of projects to work on. And I should pay somebody to be – not a secretary or encouragement-giver, but more like a pretend boss. They can keep tabs on me and nag me about where I’m up to on all those projects.
And so maybe to maintain continuity and life momentum, I should just remain living in the same place. This assumes that at some point before retirement, I will have a stable place of my own to call home. This is not something that really seems likely so far.
4. What is the most important thing you learned from your parents/ parental figures?
This is a difficult question! So I’ll answer with one anecdote that came to mind.
As a kid I would see dad during school holidays. Whenever he took me to a beach or park or anywhere in nature, he was very strict about not souveniring things.
If everybody took a shell/picked a flower/pulled pretty leaves off the plants, he would explain, the whole place would be destroyed quickly. But! Didn’t he understand that it was the holidays, and I didn’t see him all that often, and the specialness of the occasion meant it was okay. And! Didn’t he understand how much I REALLY, REALLY wanted this one pretty thing I had found! He would insist I think it through logically – how many people do you think come here every day? Every year? If everybody takes stuff away, how long will it take before it’s totally ruined?
At the time I really thought he was being unnecessarily cold. But I appreciate it now. I’m not saying I’m particularly good about being careful about my impact on nature OR avoiding emotional decision-making – I probably need to improve on these. But I think to whatever extent I have developed the habit of thinking rationally rather than emotionally, dad’s insistence helped me.
5. Mountains or Ocean?
Even though I’m not particularly beachy, growing up not far from places like Byron Bay has made me incredibly snooty about beaches.
Mountains are more of a novelty for me, and I think I should make more of them during my time in Korea.
6. Most beautiful thing you have ever seen?
This question is hard!
I’m not good with seeing beautiful things once. It seems like so much pressure to cram them into your eyeballs.
I like mundanely everyday beautiful things, like drizzly weather.
7: What’s your favorite blog post you’ve written?
This is my second blog post here. But, when I Livejournalled, I wrote some movie reviews I thought were okay.
8. Favorite education quote?
“Any teacher that can be replaced by a machine should be!” – Arthur C Clarke
(I should probably have a better answer, but honestly that’s the only quotable teaching quote that popped into my head.
And I do like it in various ways.)
9. Have you ever done something adventurous? Please share!
I don’t know that it’s super adventurous, but my favorite travel-y thing that I’ve done in Korea was go to Okpo Land.
I think I read about Okpo Land on Wikitravel on my phone. It wasn’t something I pre-planned for a long time, I was just travelling in places around Busan.
Okpo Land was a theme park on Geoje Island that closed in 1999. It sat abandoned for a long time, on a cliff overlooking Okpo City. It was closed off but Wikitravel assured me there was a big hole in the fence and it was easy to get into.
It was pretty much exactly how you imagine visiting an abandoned theme park would be. It was spooky and cartoonishly colorful and hilarious and a little bit sad.
Okpo City has now demolished it. I’m sad, but I understand why you wouldn’t want an abandoned theme park on a cliff overlooking your city. I’m glad I saw it while it was there.
10. The correct number of hours of sleep is ______ in 24.
Eight. Nine or more for teenagers. Alternate sleep cycle arrangements, such as sleeping in two four hour blocks, are acceptable. I do not necessarily meet my own sleep standards.
11. What is something you do that has absolutely no connection to TESOL?
This question highlights that for the past year, I haven’t done enough outside my job. I think that’s okay because it was in this job that I realized how much I’m into teaching. But I should commit to also having a life in 2014.
1. What’s your mantra?
Oh it’s another trite quotable quote from a scifi author:
“Ninety percent of everything is crap.”
As a teenager I started to see Sturgeon’s law as the miserable truth of the world. But now I interpret it to mean “Ninety percent of everything is crap, and that’s fine”. As in, it’s fine to accept that there’s so much crap in the world, and it’s fine to be crap a lot of the time, but any and all ways you can find to maximize the ten percent of non-crap are an improvement, and any things or any people in the world who help to maximize the non-crap are worth treasuring.
2. Is teaching incredibly simple or incredibly complex?
I used to wade around in Dave’s ESL Cafe and Waygook.org a lot. They can be very negative places, and I don’t go there much any more. I do remember this thing this one guy at one of those places posted once (no doubt in the midst of a vicious flame war), which was something like ‘Teaching’s serious and you have a responsibility to keep improving yourself as a teacher, but also teaching’s not rocket science or surgery and nobody’s going to die because you do a bad lesson’.
I think teaching is very complex and something you can keep developing a richer and more complex understanding of, but teaching is also a very natural part of being human. It’s not like doing surgery because it is something that almost everybody can do, and does do in some form (and they do it at least without killing people, mostly).
I think this can kind of relate to the ninety percent crap rule – there’s a lot of teaching that’s not great, but also any improvements we make on that teaching are great because they’re improvements.
3. Are you good at making friends now you’re older? Why or why not?
Up until early adulthood I tended to have a few best friends and not a lot of casual friends. I think I’ve gotten better at having casual friends.
4. Music or literature?
I majored in English literature, but now I don’t read literature! So I need to be honest and say music! And probably music you would judge me for!
5. What would your ideal coursebook look like?
I want a coursebook for older elementary school and middle school students who are lower level.
I don’t want it to cover a lot of language. Just the beginner and very lower intermediate language they have been taught and re-taught but haven’t really learned. And of that language, not all that much per book.
I want not to have that much material on each page.
I want it to have lots of communicative activities and interactive activities.
And I want it to have content that interests students in this age group. By which I don’t mean, photos of Miley Cyrus from 2009 and ‘blogs’. But just … interesting stuff. I want it to be connected to young adolescents’ culture.
6. What’s the worst cocktail you’ve ever tried?
It’s not a cocktail but in uni my friends would make ‘punch’ which involved a big plastic tub and everybody contributing different alcohols (but you were guaranteed wine from a box was a big part of the mix). But they’d put some tinned peach chunks and parsley in it to make it classy.
7. Have you ever eaten dog? If not, would you?
I’m not against eating dog, because I think logically to be against eating dog you’d have to be against eating pig and other animals of similar sentience. But I wouldn’t try it because I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about various dogs I have loved.
8. What’s your favourite student error ever?
I’m sure I have a million hilarious student error stories to share! I can’t think of any right now though!
Oh recently my class of adults were playing pictionary. I had written things on cards for them to draw. One thing was ‘Two zebras playing chess’, but the student read it as ‘Two zebras playing cheese’. I like that she gamely went ahead and tried to express this surreal idea in picture form.
9. What’s the most important thing that you try to convey to students?
That in our classes everything’s okay as long as you’re not harming anyone, and that you don’t need to worry about being ‘bad at English’.
10. What’s your favourite gangsta rap tune?
11. What one law would you abolish or introduce to your current country of residence?
I feel out of line making bold moral statements about things Korea should do, but if I could magic one sweeping government change (kind of failing the ‘one law’ part of the question here) it would be for Korea to give much more support to single and unmarried mothers. In saying this I acknowledge my own country’s totally abysmal history regarding unmarried mothers.
And now a creepy long-haired girl will skuttle up out of the internet and devour my soul
because I’m not going to tag forward. I don’t know enough bloggers who aren’t tagged already! Oh well. I accept my horror fate.