Warning! Excessive tautology.
I wrote a blog post for TeachingEnglish. I did my best trying to find arguements convincing enough to show that blogging helps me to be a better teacher. Well, there’s something else left to say. There’s a list of things left to say, random things I find important to say.
1) There are all types of ELT bloggers around, and once you immerse yourself in this ocean of blogs chances are you’ll find yourself drowning. There are blogs advocating one particular approach in language teaching. There are blogs of academics. There are blogs of questions. There are blogs of answers. There are blogs of projects. There are blogs of lesson plans. There are blogs of reflections. There are class blogs. There are edtech blogs. There are bloggers who write for themselves. There are bloggers who write for a community. I believe there are all other types of blogs as well. And every type matters.
It is easy to start by imitating, that’s how I started out. I suppose I’m still imitating, but I’m not worried about it anymore. It took time to decide what my kind of blogging is (sharing and/or getting a message across). These are not mutually exclusive, and I hope they do not necessarily cancel each other out on the pages of annloseva.wordpress.com.
2) I’ve only recently come to truly realize that having a reader is crucial, well at least for me. The perfect reader that you “speak” to and feel that they will understand (or kindly try to, or kindly pretend to try to), nod their head, or boldly tell the bitter truth. The perfect reader cares to express an opinion.
I’m trying to be the perfect reader to my students when they hand in their papers.
3) In one of the feedback sheets two months ago I read this: “Our teacher is broad-minded.” I smiled at the use of active vocabulary then. Now I wonder if my blogging, in all that it entails for me, has indeed helped develop some traits. The paradox I especially like is being both critical and accepting.
4) Finding out a new blog, reading a new blog post I learn there is a lot to learn for me. I also learn to accept the fact of my ignorance being infinite (which seems to be quite a useful thought for a teacher to have). Most exciting is the variety of teachers’ minds and realities you get a peek into, and the fact that you can take something valuable away from their posts so generously shared with the purpose to be taken away.
5) A teacher who doesn’t blog is not a teacher worse than a teacher who blogs. I don’t know them, the teachers who don’t blog. I don’t hear their voices, I don’t know their beliefs, I don’t have a chance to talk to them. This is the difference.
6) There’s something I wouldn’t do in a class if I hadn’t been blogging. 4 years ago I wouldn’t have given a deeper thought on some topics/ issues that get raised at lessons. To be quite honest, I wouldn’t have done things in a class that could spawn discussions on such topics/ issues. Though, I am still very much unsure what I’d do if some teenage student shared a personal story connected with abortion, for instance.
7) I’m incessantly sharpening my awareness, that probably helps all of the above to happen.
Final lines – on writing.
The obvious automatically gets trite as soon as I see it typed here. So maybe that’s another thing that blogging helps me to do – grope for the value of my thoughts on ELT and around. Or just as likely I merely love writing, with all its pains, night-time miseries, doubts, digressions, distractions, pressures, red eyes and overheated laptops.
There are people in ELT whose writing I adore, admire, look up to and consider supreme. There have been essays written by my students at different times that I wished I could’ve written myself.
Really final lines now. Here’s what people who wrote said about writing (let’s hope we can trust brainyquote):
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. (Ernest Hemingway)
Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwards. (Robert A. Heinlein)
Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money. (Moliere)
And finally (for the third, seriously final time), Truman Capote about my blog: That isn’t writing at all, it’s typing.
P.S. Last term my students were made to write more than ever before. More about this in the future posts.