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The most self-indulgent post ever

So, on to part two of me talking about myself, thanks to Carol Goodey, Shelly TerrellDivya Madhavan and Michael Stout. In this instalment, I’ll be answering questions she posed to the 11 bloggers she tagged, asking some of my enthusiastic PLN to participate and asking them 11 questions. Are you one of them? But first, back to me.

Edit: This has become the most self-indulgent post ever, so hope you enjoy.

Carol Goodey’s Questions + My Answers

What do you most enjoy about blogging?
I like the opportunity it affords me to write. During this process, I gain clarity into how I think about a particular topic, whether I expect it to or not. There’s truth to the idea that what’s in your head doesn’t make so much sense and articulating it to others improves this.

From Beck’s Gameboy Variations

Do you play a musical instrument? If not, would you like to? Which one?
Yes, I play piano moderately well. The adverb likely would have been ‘extremely’ when I was a kid, but I haven’t touched it since my song-writing days of yore.

How far do you travel to work? How do you travel?
I purposely live near where I work. I can walk to work in about 20 minutes along a straight line that consists of a major road, under an overpass, past two Harry Potter-esque university buildings and through a small pathway covered in foliage. Despite this, I often take the bus that goes along most of this route in winter, and a share bike service in summer.

What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?
I both coordinate and teach in an EAP program. My favourite aspect is teaching how to deconstruct texts. A very, very close second is formatting assignment documents that I’ve contributed ideas to… in my gorgeous office.

What was the first thing you ate today?
Previously I mentioned that I eat an ungodly amount of toast. Today’s included butter, peanut butter and raspberry jam.

If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Why?
I can never answer this question myself when talking about where to go on vacation. If transporters were involved, I’d pick Hawaii.

What month next year are you most looking forward to? Why?
August, because that’s when I’ll have submitted my dissertation and that part of my life for the last three years will finally be over.

What meal do you prepare most often for friends?
I can’t remember the last time I cooked for friends, so nothing. I am fairly good at suggesting Thai delivery.


What was the last movie you saw? What did you think?
Gravity. Though it was little dizzying at first, the rest of the movie was shot beautifully, had ample suspense and emotion.

What three things do you like to have with you when working?
This depends on what I’m working on and where. Ideally, my laptop, my TV and a good friend.

What do YOU think about reality TV shows?
I love reality TV. It’s predominantly what’s on said TV when I’m working in the evenings. It doesn’t take concentration, but is consistently entertaining. Favourites include Survivor, Big Brother, Amazing Race, Biggest Loser, Income Property, Live Here Buy This and House Hunters International.

Shelly Terrell’s Questions + My Answers

What is a goal you hope to accomplish from your bucket list?
One goal – publish the ARC book with the round. It’s been in my list of projects for over a year now and though things have progressed, it’s something I’m getting at very, very slowly because of other demands. I love the round. I love Luke & Lindsay and just want to devote my time to this, but I can’t.

What is one goal you hope to accomplish in 2014?
I would like to feel happy about what I produce for my dissertation. It’s been a huge struggle these past few years, both in terms of motivation and time. It’s due in August, so here’s hoping it’s good.

If you could host a reality TV show, what would it be about?
I’d host one like Survivor. To go to tropical places for 2 months to shoot a show where people do challenges and live with no luxuries while you stay at a resort. Sounds perfect to me.

How do you blow off steam?
Posting my frustrations on Facebook tends to make me feel better, especially when others commiserate.

What is one of your personal theme songs?
This has come up during your 30Goals and it was hard then. I don’t really have any theme songs. I love many songs, but not any I listen to for motivation or inspiration. This first one that comes to mind though is Eel’s Mr. E’s Beautiful Blues, but mostly because of the chorus, which makes me say you know what, it is a beautiful day!

What are you incredibly proud of accomplishing?
My career progress in the last 5 years. It went from a rut as a private language school teacher making nothing and knowing no one to a dream job at University of Toronto, both coordinating and teaching, as well as president of TESL Toronto…not to mention the amazing friends and contacts I’ve gotten to know in the industry through this blog and other social media. It all just took a decision on my part to want more.

What was one of your favorite gifts?
The best gifts for me have been a comic book I’ve coveted that has been officially CGC graded and encased in airtight seals. Otherwise, dinner out. 😉

How have you dealt with a past failure?
There are no failures, unless we’re talking about scores during university. I guess I don’t consider failing as possible.

What is one piece of advice that has helped you throughout life?
My grampa, then my mom, always said “this too shall pass” whenever something’s got me down. And it’s true.

What was your favorite toy when you were a child?
I collected stuffed animals when I was little. I had so many that I used to arrange them as a class that I would teach (I also had a blackboard in my playroom). My favourite was aptly named, “Bunny”.


What’s your favorite piece of art?
Not much of an art fan. I just don’t really get it. Galleries typically bore me. But I’d have to say my favourite is hanging in my office. It was painted by my partner. It looks like a dark cloud, with black drips from it, and random Korean characters in white.

Divya Madhavan’s Questions + My Answers

Do you like country walks?
Yes, I like walking through the woods or around the northern France countryside (did that with Margaret Hurley & Ian Kang last November after TESOL France). I had a special connection avec les vaches.

If you could choose between a chocolate and a non-chocolate dessert what would it be?
I would choose cookies, non-chocolate. I love cookies, particularly peanut butter.

Do you have a preferred variety of house pet?
Over the last 13 years, I’ve had puppies (the amazing Rocco and now the beautiful Loulou), so I’ll have to go with dogs, though for many years before that, I always had cats too.

Do you think lemon tart is better with or without the meringue?
Without meringue, it’s just a bunch of yellow goo.

If you had time to blog about something other than education/ELT what would it be?
I used to blog about how ridiculous I found things in the world, general stuff. Included in that was also countdown lists of the best albums each year and my weight loss through the Wii. So more stuff like that. Witty, of course. Come to think of it, however, I have a blog for each of my puppies. One for Rocco after he passed away last year for cathartic reasons. One for Loulou as a type of baby-book.

What is the next language you’d like to learn?
I have a certain pull towards Dutch. I’m unsure why.

Do you think salted butter caramel is better consumed hard or soft?
Um. I have no idea, but I generally like chewy things vs crunchy things.

Have you ever had to write out a minute-by-minute lesson plan?
During my TESOL training, it was required to write out these types of plans. When I used to create centralised lessons for the private language school I worked for, I also did that.

What is your favourite French pastry?
Isn’t it all good? Honestly I can’t say really because I’m not familiar enough with all of them.

Have you ever been observed teaching? How much?
I have, but it was long, long ago. I do feel like I’m observed a lot by other teachers when giving workshops though.

If you could spend a year focusing on research, what would you research? Why?
Ugggh. I’m at that point in my dissertation, as you are well aware. 😉

Michael Stout’s Questions + My Answers

Why did you become a teacher?
Since I started school, I’d always wanted to be a teacher. Of what? Unsure. I just loved school and being the one who leads a class appealed to me. Teachers were always so knowledgeable and I envied them. When the opportunity presented itself as language teaching, I took it.

Do you do teacher research? Why, why not?
Aside from very informal action research, not so much until I started my MA. Now that I’ve been back in the university environment (both as student and teacher) for some time, I’ve been more and more convinced that evidence and research is valuable.

How important is music to you?
I adore listening to music, mostly pop, be it electropop or folkpop. It gives me an insurmountable joy when a song has that perfect combination of instrumentation and catchiness. I can’t imagine being deaf.

Where is your favourite place in the world?
Though I would have said Hat Rei Lei in Thailand for many years–just stunning beaches, treehouses and waters, but I’m not sure I could live there, maybe it’s my favourite to visit. Otherwise, I don’t really have a favourite place.

Do you eat to live, or live to eat?
The former. I like food and eating out, but it doesn’t drive my days or anything.

What’s your favourite word?
Hmm, my first instinct would be to use an expletive because of how it feels coming out, but I’ll refrain. At the moment, I am going through a “behoove” stage, the word used when we want to indicate that an action to do is in our best interests or has become our responsibility. I also like the way this word sounds–a driving force for my love of words.

Can you share an “あそうか!” (Eureka) moment with us?
When I was 33, a lightbulb just went off in my head to finally put all my efforts into growing as a professional and improving my career. Until then, though I’d loved teaching, I hadn’t really committed to it as a profession. It was something I was good at, but not something I felt devoted to more than other hobbies. At 33, I realised that if I ever wanted to be stable, expertised and live comfortably, I had to focus my attention on one thing.

Can you give us an example of a time you learned something from a student?
I have learnt about culture from students more times than I can count. I think this is what I take away from them more than anything else. And it’s never remaining the same. As much as I think I may know Brazilian, Korean or Chinese culture, the next generation is a little bit different.

Where do you want to be in five years?
On the Sunshine List (I may need more than one source of income). 😉 Otherwise, right where I am, but maybe with an office on an above-ground floor instead, a newer condo and a published book.

Can you paddle a canoe?
I haven’t tried in about 25 years–the last time was in Muskoka–but I think I could pick it up again fairly easily.

What are your favourite novels?
Margaret Atwood: The Year of the Flood, The Blind Assassin, Alias Grace
Haruki Murakami: Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Arthur C. Clarke: Rendezvous with Rama, Rama II
Robertson Davies: The Deptford Trilogy

On to the next section…

As part of this chain challenge, I’m going to mention 11 bloggers that you should check out and tag them here. If they’re avid readers and/or savvy on their blogs, they’ll realise they’ve been tagged. If it’s you, feel free to ignore this or participate. It’s completely up to you.

PS – I pity the popular bloggers who’ve been tagged in this challenge multiple times, so I’ve attempted not to tag anyone who’s already been tagged somewhere.

PPS – In an untimely turn of events, a good number of my blogging friends have decided to participate in my MA research…on blogging, so I’ve not included them here either, as a thank you. 😉 But if you ARE one of them, feel free to take this blog challenge on too. 😉

  1. Lindsay Clandfield
  2. Julie Moore
  3. Scott Thorbury
  4. Willy Cardoso
  5. Louise Taylor
  6. Carolyn Bergshoeff
  7. Michael Griffin
  8. Divya Madhavan
  9. Jennifer MacDonald
  10. Baiba Svenca
  11. Alexandra Guerson

My Questions to Others

So, here are your questions, straight from my cerebral cortex (I think):

  1. You have 5 minutes to rescue one of your blog posts from oblivion. Which do you pick? Why?
  2. How did teaching become (part of) your career?
  3. Aside from weather-related impressions, how does Canada come across to you? If you’re Canadian, how do you think we come across to others?
  4. What career path could you have easily gone down had teaching not worked out?
  5. What characteristic of your Chinese zodiac animal sounds like you?
  6. What do you vastly differently now than when you were a new teacher?
  7. What book have you wanted to read but have never gotten around to it?
  8. Out of these options, the best class size is… 1 student, 5 students, 13 students, 24 students, 50+ students.
  9. Does your middle name have some meaningful significance, if you have one?
  10. You will give a workshop to your colleagues. What would you feel comfortable leading a session on?
  11. How do you feel about carpeted rooms in your house?
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While I reported “oatmeal” on my own post, let me join you in your appreciation of toast! My typical breakfast is toast with peanut butter, mmmmm!

Julie Moore

Think I should feel quite honoured to be squeezed between Lindsay and Scott 😉 Will ponder and respond soon …


I wanted to tag you but you were already taken

Shelly Sanchez Terrell

Love it! I wish I could have seen you teach your stuff animals in action. I’ve loved the pics you posted as well!


OK, I can do this. What a great little challenge! Thanks for including me!

Jennifer MacDonald

What fun! Can’t wait to respond!

[…] 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. […]

Willy Cardoso

Hi Tyson

Thanks for tagging me!
I’ll reply as a comment right here, hope it’s okay.

If I find the time I might blog my random facts and questions, then I’ll link it to yours.

1. You have 5 minutes to rescue one of your blog posts from oblivion. Which do you pick? Why?
I would pick “English for Prostitutes”. You convinced me it’s a good one.

2. How did teaching become (part of) your career?
The only thing I knew well enough upon finishing high school was English, so I decided to teach it. It was my first job and I loved it from day one.

3. Aside from weather-related impressions, how does Canada come across to you? If you’re Canadian, how do you think we come across to others?
I really don’t know. I have never been there and haven’t met many Canadians. Everyone of the five(?) Canadians I ever met were cool people though. My impression is that Canada is probably a good country for those who ‘mind their own business’ with a good level of democracy and intelligence. Unlike your neighbours, if you know what I mean. What do you think?

4. What career path could you have easily gone down had teaching not worked out?
It’s an interesting question because for many people teaching actually became a career when something else didn’t work out. But I don’t know. I don’t see myself doing anything else, or being that great at anything else. I briefly considered studying psychology when I was 18, so maybe that.

5. What characteristic of your Chinese zodiac animal sounds like you?
“Pigs are highly intelligent creatures, forever studying, playing and probing in their quest for greater knowledge. They can be misinterpreted as being lazy, however, due to their love of reveling in the good stuff”

6. What do you vastly differently now than when you were a new teacher?
I am able to teach for a long time without materials, if I must.

7. What book have you wanted to read but have never gotten around to it?
I never finished Crime and Punishment, I must find the time to. But I’d probably have to start it over.

8. Out of these options, the best class size is… 1 student, 5 students, 13 students, 24 students, 50+ students.

9. Does your middle name have some meaningful significance, if you have one?
The ‘C.’ in my name stands for Carvalho, my mother’s maiden name. It’s common in Brazil to have it before the last name, which is usually the father’s last name.

10. You will give a workshop to your colleagues. What would you feel comfortable leading a session on?
At the moment, I’d probably speak about fostering critical thinking

11. How do you feel about carpeted rooms in your house?
I like it very much.

It was fun! Thanks

Julie Moore

Sorry, Tyson, I’m going to have to put the challenge on hold for now. My RSI’s flared up really badly so I’m having to keep my computer use to a minimum 🙁

Enjoying the comments though … and Happy New Year 🙂

Michael Stout

Hi Tyson,
Thanks for responding to blog challenge, and please forgive me for tagging you after you’d already been tagged – Mr. Popularity. I’ll be in Toronto for a visit in March. Hope you’ll have a bit more than 20 minutes to spare for a cuppa or a pint with me then 😉 Cheers mate!

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