I realised after my last entry that I had reached the milestone of 50 blog posts, a number that got me reflecting on how my blog had developed over the last 6+ months and how I had found my ‘voice’ as a blogger (a question Cecilia and I were going to discuss but forgot when we shared our voices). I wasn’t actually going to post my thoughts but then I got this lovely surprise:
Completely unexpected and a great honour!! Thank you to Sabrina de Vita and Burcu Akyol for nominating me and thank you to everyone who has visited my blog, commented on the posts, retweeted my posts on Twitter and given me help, encouragement and support. I’m up against some tough competition, including a few of my favourite blogs like bcnpaul1′s blog, Box of Chocolates, Turklish TEFL and About a Teacher but just being nominated is enough for me. However, if you’d like to vote for my blog, please head over to the Edublogs Awards Best New Blog page and do so. All votes greatly appreciated! While you’re at it, don’t forget to vote in all the other categories too.
Looking back through my blog archive, it becomes clear how I found my voice - at first I didn’t really know what to write. My immediate audience consisted of my fellow MA participants so I just blogged some reflections on topics and themes we were covering and that was it. I made a decision to blog more over the summer but then I was really struggling for ideas. I blogged about Twitter and tried to give advice for anyone thinking of doing an MA - I even wrote a post connected to the World Cup! But not much traffic was coming my way and hardly any comments… I also tried guest posting, writing a piece for Prestwick House (which also got no comments…). At this point, I was in danger of giving up..
But I didn’t give up - so what changed? I think I started to blog better when I remembered something significant:
I am a teacher
“Well, duh!” you might say but this is what I mean: Once summer holidays were over and I was back to work, I started to blog about my lessons and that’s when it all started to flow more easily. Another guest post for Teaching Village on how I use PowerPoint in class was well-received, my description of a pictogloss activity became my most read post in the space of two days and my posts about lessons like writing descriptions, error correction, and dictogloss all started to get comments and generate discussion. Perhaps most importantly of all, writing these posts has been a great way to reflect on and review what I’ve done in class, what’s worked and what hasn’t.
There have been other influences as well from some great blogs I’ve been reading and my wonderful PLN and I’d like to finish by acknowledging some of them now:
- ELTchat and everyone connected with it - the chance to join weekly discussions on issues related to ELT has been a great source of reflection and inspiration leading to several posts appearing here (like this one on L1 in class, this one on grammar for kids, this one on professional development and this one on culture and ELT.
- All the discussion and debate on dogme - although I don’t really teach in this style, it has led me to make some changes to how I approach my classes as well as to blog posts about if/how it could work with young learners (see here and here) and also for the dogmeme challenge (No 4, No5, No 6 and No 7)
Thank you all - hope you’ll stick with me as I continue to 100 posts!