Image: Bruno Maiolo
Perhaps as the ultimate example of blogging narcissism, this is a post for... well, YOU, Mr Raven!
I'm not even sure "blogging" will still be about in a decade from now, but I'd like to imagine it will and the English Raven blog, if not actually chugging along, will be safely stored in archival exile somewhere on the web.
I'd like you to try and track down and read this post sometime in 2020, hopefully around about the time you are heading towards your 48th birthday in October (the time of the year you tend to start feeling a bit old and start reflecting a little more about where you've been and where you might be going).
Here and now, in 2010, you find yourself looking back over the past decade and gaping a little at so much change. In 2000 you were just starting out in ELT in a full time role. You had just started using email as a regular thing, and you had just started toying with the web pages that would become the English Raven website. So much has changed since then. So much has grown. Sometimes it is staggering to think about just how fast the garden has spread and grown.
Right about now, in 2010, you've returned to the classroom to teach migrants and refugees in your home town of Geelong. You love it, even if there is a niggling reminder in the back of the head that the move is actually losing you income as you divert time away from the ever expanding online tutoring site you've got happening.
So how has all that panned out in 2020? Are you still involved with the local community and classroom teaching? How is the online teaching business going (or is still about)?
Also in 2010, you knocked back your sixth consecutive coursebook publishing offer. You're all ideological and headstrong about it at present, feeling it's all wrong and not what the future of ELT needs (more paper-based coursebooks, that is). You've been posting a lot about teaching unplugged about the time this post was written. You've got this whole thing about educating and developing teachers to create learning environments in their classrooms rather then feeding them their teaching method on printed paper, and it makes you feel all noble and good and motivated -- even if it is abundantly clear the spurning of publisher interest has (at this point) probably cost you the chance of owning your own home.
Did you end up renegging on that "I shalt not do coursebooks" vow? Did you find some way to continue promoting and exemplifying what you then/now thought of as ethical and innovative language teaching and yet manage to earn the income needed to put your family in their own home? Shit, are you even teaching at all anymore?
And, well, given the public posting of this message, we'll try to stay away from the family front too much... but:
Did you end up getting Jamie that iPad you and your wife were considering, as a Christmas gift (and basic educational tool) in the months before he starts Prep at primary school? Were Jamie's grandfather's mild horror and fears Jamie would turn into a robotic, game-obsessed anti-social cocoon-dwelling weirdo proved right or wrong?
And just this week, you watched with total fascination as your little daughter Hannah -- not yet two years of age -- sat up at the kitchen table and used the mouse to expertly negotiate her way around a screen providing various Pororro cartoon options.
So where's the little lady at now, too?
A lot can happen in 10 years, Mr. Raven. They tend to fly past pretty quickly, don't they?
Did you keep up? Did you get ahead?
Hopefully, at some stage, you lost the need (or perceived need) to keep chasing!
See you in 2020, Mr. Raven!