Daily Archives: September 19, 2007

Reflections on a busy day here

Thanks to all those who were at the Catholic ESL teacher gathering at Leichhardt today. You have led to a new record in visits here. Sitemeter shows clearly when you had your workshop session on the blog. This is by hours today, ochre=visits, red=page views:


I thought I would share something that I just found again on my personal blog archive for 2005. The ex-student referred to was in the original Year 10 class for whom the site was first developed in a very rudimentary way.

I had an email the other day that cheered me up.

This is James Zhang from the class of 2003 and I’m glad to see that your [English and ESL] site has gone from useful to delightful.

I still remember studying your charming compilation of Chinese stories and cultural insights* back in Year 10, and I hope that they are still as welcome in the classroom.

I held dreams of writing my own novels back in Year 12 (and diverted a significant part of my study time to keep an ideas journal), but that fell through …

Now, I’ve resolved to get started on this path because I’ve identified this as a dream too important to leave unrealised.

I gave him a few leads, and he replied:

Thanks for the leads and I’ll pursue them before signing up.

I’d very much like to meet you in person again, so if you have no objections, please let me know when you’ll be on school grounds. One of my biggest regrets in High School was that I never discussed deeper issues with the teachers – my standard schoolboy questions hardly did justice to their years of colourful experience. I did a bit of this in Year 12, and a lot of it now in Uni, but I would’ve loved to have talked more with you when in your classes. I hope it’s not too late?

So we have arranged to have a chat later this week, though I warned him I was these days just a grumpy old man. To which he replied:

Your ‘grumpiness’ never struck me as anything less than a passionate world view that seeks to be as accommodating as possible given the prejudices and errors of the world. I believe we’ll get along fine!

Aw shucks!

He is from China originally, but as you can see his English is in very good shape nowadays.

We did have that coffee, and a yum cha six months later with another ex-student, Hilbert Chiu (2000), who has gone on to become a lawyer AND a medieval historian.

* James is referring to From Yellow Earth to Eucalypt (Longman 1995).

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Posted by on September 19, 2007 in esl for teachers, for teachers, multiculturalism, site news


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Welcome, teachers from CEO Inner West schools

I hear you will be looking around this morning. I hope you find some useful things.

Oh, and if you come across any dead links — there are bound to be some as some bits are overdue for maintenance — or have suggestions, let me know. See the guest book? It’s over there in the left column. Or comment here.

If you notice any big gaps in posts that will almost certainly be a YouTube item. Unfortunately schools networks tend to reject them regardless of actual content…

Just out of interest, here is where the last 100 visitors up to 11 pm Tuesday night have come from:


The red dot is who was on the site at the time, probably me. The green ones are the last ten, and the white ones the rest. There had been 198 visitors between midnight and 11 pm. You never know who might read you, or why; that is something I always have at the back of my mind…

This all began as I explain on “About” — tabbed above — as a site somewhere else for a Year 10 English class (2001) and then became a school ESL site (2002) and finally moved here to WordPress in December 2006. Perhaps I should mention that aside from a word processor (with 32 kb memory) which eased me over computerphobia and wrote nice assignments for Pauline Gibbons and Jennifer Hammond, I was afraid even to turn on a real computer until late 1999! I think that was when I discovered you can’t really break computers, though you can do very unfortunate things to them, and I have.

My blog is actually on servers in the USA. I, of course, am in Surry Hills. I still get amazed by all this technology. Like a student I had yesterday who copied an HSC question (which I was displaying on my laptop) by photographing it with his mobile phone! Or as we say on the internet, 😎

If you are interested in educational blogging, this post may have something to offer.

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Posted by on September 19, 2007 in blogs, esl for teachers, site news