7 thoughts on blogging

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Warning! Excessive tautology.

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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.

Thank you for your attention. More (and better) posts on how blogging can help you to be a better teacher you can find down the links: by Graham StanleyVicky Loras, Dave Dodgson, Lizzie Pinard

P.S. Last term my students were made to write more than ever before. More about this in the future posts.

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16 thoughts on “7 thoughts on blogging

  1. swisssirja says:

    Dear Ann,
    I have just a one line comment this morning,
    You made me want to write right now!

    Hugs

  2. Hello Anna! It’s a bit weird to write in English as I could have written in Russian. But I want to make an effort. From your entry I understood that making effort brings a lot. A person who blogs has to do it even if he is tired or not inspired. I just want to express my admiration and respect. I am thankful to you because you are a model to follow you inspire others! Please don’t stop.

    • annloseva says:

      Hello Alfia,

      Good to see you here. I want to thank you for your effort, and for all the kind words (too kind in fact!). I also have a couple of things to say)

      When you say it’s weird I think of our students and us in the classrooms. Don’t they think it’s weird that we talk to them in English while we could be saying things in Russian? I know for sure most of my students do think so (and so they say) for the first weeks of our classes, until they get used. That’s the effort I want them to make, because I make this effort myself as well. So it’s fair!:)

      I would love to hear opinions of other people who blog. How does this come to them? I always start inspired, but the process in most cases requires will power to stay on track of thought. The video recording of me writing must be very funny to watch) yes, it’s definitely effort.

      Thank you very much for the comment! It means a lot.

  3. Dear Ann,

    Love the randomness and sharpness of your post. Can listen to your voice with your beautiful Russian accent telling these to me.

    Yes, blogging is really something. It has organized my thoughts, my practice, and my portfolio. It has brought me some fame, friends, and future. But more than that my love for blogging comes from the intrinsic pleasure of just blogging.

    I agree completely that the beauty of the blogosphere lies in the diversity of voices coming from bloggers all around the world. I believe that I am evolving in my blogging practice now to make sure I read blogs more often and specially engage in dialogue by commenting.

    Only being a ghost visitor doesn’t satisfy me now. I want to validate, discuss, and have a great time being with others. Love your humor and the quotes you selected, in particular the bleeding and the prostitution one.

    Frog-hugs,

    Juan

    Yes, ignorance is infinite. Our lives are finite.

    • annloseva says:

      Hello Juan,

      Thanks so much for dropping by)
      “Beautiful Russian accent” is a quote from you I’ll be sharing with my students from now on. Most Russians are concerned about their accent.)) so thanks.
      I’m signing under almost every word you say (not under fame, yet)))). And yes, for me the intrinsic pleasure of blogging is almost an issue.
      Happy you’ve noted the quotes)

      So let’s deal with ignorance, live on and blog on, too.

      Cheers

  4. haeundaelife says:

    Hi Ann,

    Your final thought mirrors my every day fight to blog. When I go long spells without blogging I do so because I feel everything I write is obvious and only serves to highlight my lack of understanding.

    I totally agree with you that in case and point, blogging is space in which we search for and discover the value and substance of our thoughts surrounding our practice.

    I found your point on finding your ideal reader is also quite pertinent when considering blogging. When I started I felt enormous pressure because I wanted to hold a standard to which other professionals would want to emulate. After awhile though, I realized that my perfect reader was myself, because hashing out a blog post was most helpful to sorting through the muddy waters that fill my mind.

    That being said, it is the comments from you and others that truly revitalizes my passion and desire to keep blogging. Even though I write for me, knowing my thoughts are shared in the wider community, and that they have value to someone other than me is an immense feeling. It serves to increase my passion and desire to improve myself and continue sharing that journey.

    thank you for this and all of your blogging. thank you for helping others understand what drives your, and others, blog(s). thank you for sharing your passion. It is contagious.

    John

    • annloseva says:

      Thanks for the awesomely thoughtful comment that makes a lot of personal difference, John, that’s when I find writing truly worthwhile. This particular one [comment] is also quite difficult to reply to, because you’ve said what I could have said. So I generally just feel like I would nod and agree. Especially when I think of the self-inflicted, horrible pressure to hold a standard which I had too, and only managed to shake off several months ago, thanks to some small steps in understanding why I need this and what my place is.
      Connections through blogs that we are making here are something very special for me. And hard to explain, now. It might take a couple more years I guess))

      Thank you!

  5. haeundaelife says:

    it’s a pleasure to read and watch your blog as it grows and morphs into something truly yours. thank you for being such a positive reader. you set a great model for the rest of us

  6. k. liz says:

    I love this post, Anna!! It’s so good to reflect on how blogging has influenced us, and it is really interesting to see in your own situation how it has actually changed your teaching. It makes me think through my own teaching and trying to see how blogging has influenced me (it doesn’t help that I’m not teaching right now 😦 ) But, I was just talking to my husband about how finding blogging as a ‘thing’ in the ELT world changed who I was as a teacher.

    I love blogging, and finding others who love it too is so fun!

    • annloseva says:

      Thanks a lot, Kylie! I agree that blogging is definitely a THING in ELT, and whatever side of this “thing” you prefer to be keeping, it does take time to feel..home. There’s a lot to blogging. It’d be interesting to learn how your own experience managing two (!) blogs has influenced you.
      Now that I’ve read Dave’s post on TeachingEnglish I think indeed becoming aware has been the biggest “thing” of this blogging thing for me.))
      Thanks for thinking about it, leaving this comment and including my post in your weekend wrap up!

  7. […] 2. 7 Thoughts on Blogging by Anna – It is a new year, and there are a plethora of posts out there on new resolutions, and since there are so many bloggers out there, there are lots of posts right now on why we blog and how it helps us. This is one I really liked because it was linked to educational blogging as opposed to blogging for a living. So, if you blog, why do you blog? How does it help you? […]

  8. mrtesol says:

    Hello, Anna.

    I am new to blogging and reading this blog of yours has certainly opened my mind as to what blogging can be about.

    Rob.

    • annloseva says:

      Hello Rob,

      It feels great and special to know my ideas could actually be helpful =) I hope you’ll find what blogging is for you and take pleasure from the process and everything else it entails!
      Thanks for your kind comment. See you on the blogs!

      Ann

  9. […] I blog for my own pleasure but hope for shifts in the classroom. Then in no time I come up with a follow-up which is 800 more words about blogging and writing. Here I keep mentioning myself and my plans for […]

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