Blogging – PD in Focus 8

(Image taken from: www.networkedresearcher.co.uk)
(Image taken from: http://www.networkedresearcher.co.uk)

And the last post in the PD in Focus series is here. All about blogging!

I started blogging almost four years ago, during a not very nice time in my life, which you can read here. I connected with Ken Wilson on Twitter (creating a Twitter account was something I was also wary of doing) and while we were exchanging emails about my situation, he motivated me to start a blog. I wasn’t particularly warm about the idea at first, not because I didn’t trust Ken, but I was thinking:

– Who is going to be interested in what I write?

– What if I write something silly?

– I don’t have a job, how can this help me feel better? (Unemployment really threw me down and my feeling of self-worth had never been so down before.)

So I started and I love it! I don’t always have the right answers – but I try to share as much as possible, good moments and bad, I try to intearct with others and I absolutely love the exachange of opinions. There is agreement, there is disagreement that makes you think, as long as it is constructive criticism. There are so many ideas you get from other educators and so much inspiration! Many are the times when I think what a great idea someone has had, how much I would like to apply someone’s ideas for the classroom and appaud them on that as well.

There are so many things that can be done through blogging:

– Writing and sharing. Something you think is a simple idea for you and you have been doing it for many years in the classroom, could be a revelation for someone else. Just go ahead and share! Your experiences, troubles, happy moments, lesson plans, anything you can express yourself through! There is a welcoming and supportive community of teachers out there waiting to read.

What's Your Story? (A screenshot of my blog challenge)
What’s Your Story? (A screenshot of my blog challenge)

– Blog challenges. An educator invites others to contribute to a common theme – for instance, it can be about vocabulary teaching, or Business English, or teaching idea at all. Some call it a blog carnival, which sounds fun! I held one on my blog a couple of years ago, called What’s Your Story? and 27 educators shared their stories on it: some very personal moments, teaching experiences, anything that they wanted to share. And I really appreciated it. And a lot of people did and we saw ourselves in those stories, and we felt better. We are not alone! There are others out there who share the same experiences as we do.

– Pages. Blogs can become treasure troves of ideas and different kinds of posts: you can organise your blog into pages and have different topics there. Lesson plans, different areas of ESOL, photos, whatever you think expresses you.

– Reflection. A blog can be a journal. There are educators out there who blog every single day about their teaching, education in general or various educational issues that interest them. That doesn’t serve everyone, though. It can be once a week, onceΒ  a month, or whenever you have inspiration – you will find your own pace: as long as you use it as a reflective tool, a journal that you can revisit and see what has changed, what has improved or not. It has helped me tremendously as an educator and I feel I am constantly changing and evolving. Still making mistakes but learning from them!

– Guest posts. You can invite other educators whose work you admire to write for you! The reflection coming from these posts are amazing. Plus, you get to network with these educators and exchange ideas. My first ever guest blogger was George Couros, all the way from Alberta, Canada.

It is a firm belief of mine that blogging is a great way for educators to develop professionally, as you can reflect and learn from your teaching – it is also good to write these thoughts down, as you can revisit them. Yesterday, I got to read an amazing post by Dean Shareski, who is an educator from Saskatchewan. (The post was actually tweeted by George – which led me to Dean’s article…the beauty of social media! A whole different post though.) He sums it all up perfectly in How to Make Better Teachers and is honestly one of the best posts I have come across on blogging and professional development. The post is from 2010 and as current as ever.

I truly thanks Ken for motivating me to start my own blog – it has helped me in so many ways! No matter if you are a new teacher or an experienced one, a blog is one of the best things you can do for your own learning.

Here is a great list of ELT blogs, by Chiew Pang: http://chiewpang.blogspot.com/

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24 thoughts on “Blogging – PD in Focus 8

  1. Love your blogs Vicky! Don’t ever stop writing posts! Ooops, this sounds way too much as an imperative. But, you have so many great ideas, your style is simple and I enjoy reading it! Congrats on your courage so far and the person who pushed you into blogging! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Marijana!

      Thanks so much for all your support and kind words. It didn’t sound as an imperative, but rather very motivating! Hvala, draga Marijana : )

  2. Thank you Vicky. Reading this, I was reminded that I haven’t posted anything on my blog for a long time. Blogging helped me grow not just as a teacher but as a person. It seems like such a long time ago I wanted to hide under the table every time I had to hit “publish”. I feel really lucky that when I started sharing my own experiences via my blog, people like you (especially you!) were there as a friendly and supportive community! I’ve learned so much from you.

    1. Hi Anne!

      Thanks so much for your comment. I go through periods when I don’t post as well – I think that it can happen when we go through phases like this – then something happens and boom! We find something to write about. I love your posts because they are sincere and reflect your great work as a teacherand that you like to share, which is very important.

      I am so grateful to have met you in person and to know you!

      Hugs,
      Vicky

    1. Hi Naomi!

      Thanks so much – I don’t know what I would have done without educators and friends like you! I love your enthusiasm and your blog is one of my favourites! Huge hugs from Zug coming your way!!!

      Love,
      Vicky

  3. I guess I’d never thought about how blogs start from a story – I know mine did, so it’s good to know I’m not alone :).

    I’m glad you got started and I appreciate your link to other ELT blogs. We have an EAL specialist coming to my school at the beginning of Term 3 to help teachers better understanding what mainstream classroom reading feels like to the second language learner. At the end, I’ll send them to your site and the sites of other ELT bloggers.

    1. Hi Janet!

      Following your blog now too : ) Thanks so so much for your kind words and mentioning my blog. Chiew made such a great list, I think every educator should have this!

      Thanks so much again,
      Vicky

  4. Whoop, whoop! Thanks for the mention! We haven’t coincided much lately – I guess we’ve been busy in our own diverse devilish? ways πŸ˜‰ Way to go, Whoopy Loras!

    1. Hi Chiew!

      You’re right, it’s been quite a while – this has been a very busy year for me (and you too, I imagine : ), but a really super one!

      Thank y o u for the great list, which I always mention in my talks about professional development!

      Keep doing a whooping good job!
      Vicky

  5. Vicky, thanks for the post!
    oh yes, when I just came to WordPress and was starting my writing here, your blog was the first from the ELT ones I came to, and it gave me great inspiration)
    and for me blogging has become a good opportunity for PD, too: at the moment I am on maternity leave and missing my work immensely, so blogging and sharing the new activities and tasks, there is my chance not to forget my career…I try to write and post new activities regularly, and the feedback I get is really important for me!

    1. Hi Svetlana!

      Thanks so much for your kind words – I am happy to see we are out there for each other, getting inspiration from one another…isn’t it great how we all network through social media and technology? : )

      I am happy you can stay in touch with teaching through blogging, as you love teaching so much – my best wishes to you and your baby!

      Thanks so much,
      Vicky

  6. I have been so bad about keeping up with my blogging. I am trying to fix that, but I always feel like I don’t have anything worth sharing. Thanks for posting. You have a lot to share.

    1. Hi Nathan!

      No worries – I think that you do have lots to share, it’s just that sometimes, teaching gets in the way, life does, or we just think we don’t have anything to say : ) As I said in my post, sometimes something we think is pretty usual or we have been doing it for ages so we are used to it, might be an aha moment for another educator! Many are the times when I have read a post here an educator says, “I don’t really think this is an original idea, but I will share it anyway” and I think “Brilliant!” – or the other way round : )

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Have a great summer,
      Vicky

      1. Thanks, Vicky. A lot of the time, I have something bouncing around in my head, but no way of getting it out without it sounding jumbled. I am not that great at writing eloquently or even intelligibly for that matter. I sometimes just need to write and leave it for later and hope that I will find a better way of saying what I really want to communicate. I guess the only way I will get over that is to continue to write.

        Thanks again. I hope you have a great summer as well.
        Nathan

  7. Vicky, I’ve just created my own blog and it’s funny to see you had the same questions I did before creating yours. As soon as I started writing, however, I noticed that the fear I had had vanished and I actually enjoyed every second of it: the writing, the layouting, the posting, etc. In terms of PD, I do consider blogs to be of great assistance as they provoke you and require a lot of thoughts before your ideas are written down. When I wrote my very first post (the only one I have so far) I could see myself reading about the topic, thinking, reflecting and recalling what I went through when my career as a teacher started off. The beauty of sharing ideas in this on-line community is that you get to see what other people do as well as what their frustrations are, so you start seeing yourself as a part of something bigger than the teachers’ room of the company you work for. You see that your doubts or triumphs are the same no matter where your peers are from. We all share the same crazy life. We all have the same type of students. We all have the same difficulties, or maybe not… and we all want to become better teachers. Thanks for your post and I loved your PD series.

    1. Hi Eduardo!

      Thanks so much for your comment and for reading – and your kind words as well! I wish you the very best on your blogging journey! It is an exciting, creative and learning experience.

      Best wishes,
      Vicky

  8. I just love this post, it reminded me of your presentation in Athens and I totally agree with you in every point! I just wanted to mention that blog challenges gave me the inspiration to go on! Sometimes, when you feel that you have nothing to give, you just need a push from somebody or something! I am glad that there are some people like you who actually give us the inspiration to go on trying!

    1. Thank you so so much, Theodora!

      I get and learn a lot from all of you as well – and I absolutely love your blog, so full of motivation and your love for teaching! It is people like you who give me strength as well.

      Best wishes,
      Vicky

    1. Hi Eva!

      First of all, look through the various platforms and see which one fits you. Blogger, WordPress, Typepad, Edublogs, Tumblr?

      Then note down teaching ideas you have or experiences in the classroom. Start writing short and then maybe longer texts about them, as much as you have to say. But blog when you feel that you have something to share, otherwise it ends up as a chore : )

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment πŸ™‚

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