Technologically and linguistically adventurous EFL teacher, trainer, writer and manager

300

This is my 300th post!

I started my blog in October 2010 with a post detailing my resolutions for the new academic year, my final one working at International Brno. It was 128 words (those were the days, I hear you cry!) and could be boiled down to this:

to use more technology in my classroom

The interim 298 posts have been a voyage in professional discovery. Coupled with the many blogs that I read, the conversations that I have on social media, and the conferences I’ve been lucky enough to go to, as well as the professional support I’ve had from all of the great IH schools I’ve worked at and my Delta, my blog and the ensuing comments have encouraged me to reflect on what I do in the classroom and really think about why I do it.

Going back to my original post, I now use a lot more technology in the classroom, but I’m also much more aware of when it’s not appropriate. I’ve learnt how and when to apply it, and I’m constantly experimenting with technology, among many other things. This is just one example of how joining the online teaching community has shaped my teaching.

In addition to what happens in the classroom, my writing style has developed hugely thanks to my blog, and I’ve branched out from being purely professional-focussed into sharing other aspects of my life as a teacher, including some of the bad bits, and some of the things I am witness to thanks to living in other countries and being from the UK. I’ve also learnt a lot about putting together posts, the most important of which is to always include an image – it makes it much easier to share it, and a bit more interesting to look at. It breaks up the text a bit too!

Statistics map

This is where my readers have come from since February 25, 2012. Thank you!

When people come up to me and say they’ve read my blog, there’s always a little voice in my head saying ‘Wow, how did that happen? How did I get to this?’ When I first started writing it, I wondered what I could add to all the great blogs I’d already been reading for a few months and I thought ‘No-one will ever read mine’. I decided to write for myself, and looking back over the blog is a great record of my professional development. I still write what I want to write, when I want to, without worrying about any kind of schedule, but now I know that someone somewhere will hopefully find each post useful, and I love the discussion/comments/other posts that come out of what I write. They make me think and inspire me to keep writing.

Last week, largely thanks to the TeachingEnglish British Council facebook page, which I cannot recommend highly enough, I reached over 300,000 views on my blog. This happened at the same time as my highest single day’s views (11,011) from this guest post by Tereza Eliasova on praise and feedback, which also meant that in May so far (it’s the 6th as I write this) I already have more views than I have had in any other month in the nearly four years I’ve been writing my blog. I find this phenomonal, and slightly scary!

That first post still only has 20 views, and about a quarter of my posts have less than 100 views. At the other end of the scale, these are the all time top five posts:

  1. Useful FCE websites – 28,292 views
  2. I am *super* impressed! (guest post) – 13,415 views
  3. How I’m learning Russian – 8,395 views
  4. Key Word Transformations with Modals of Speculation/Deduction – 7,503 views
  5. Online resources for Business English teaching – 7,053 views

The second/third ones were written this week, and those views came almost exclusively from TeachingEnglish British Council on facebook. The first post is almost always the one that gets the highest number of views in any given week. I wonder how much that will change over the next 100 posts? 🙂

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Comments on: "300" (10)

  1. @natibrandi said:

    Way to go Sandy! Congrats!

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  2. Tyson Seburn said:

    An amazing volume of quality posts, Sandy. Congrats on the milestone and cheers to many more.

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  3. Great post, Sandy, and a good companion piece to the interview of you and Adam at IATEFL about blogging. It’s pretty amazing what you can achieve (and what you *have* achieved!) from blogging. From the prime reasons for me, which were a) being an outlet for the creative ideas I wanted to develop in my teaching b) being an outlet for my developing thoughts about teaching and it all c) being simply a place to store good ideas and thoughts to come back to again in the future: for me personally, blogging is SO worthwhile. That’s not even to mention the opportunities that can come about from doing something like this (which we do for free). Hand on heart, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today, wouldn’t have done the things I’ve done, wouldn’t be the professional I am today, were it not for writing a blog.

    People may say that blogging as a medium is dead (or dying), or at the very least very diluted due to the sheer number of blogs out there. And I was even looking through my old blogroll links the other day and lamenting a little bit over the number of abandoned, dead blogs. That’s not to say I feel badly towards those people who have stopped blogging (regularly) – far from it. There are obviously myriad reasons why people choose to stop, as there are for people to choose to blog.

    Incidentally, what do you think about teachers (beginning and experienced alike) could benefit from studying blogging, maybe using a platform like WordPress, and that it could (should?) be a feature of teacher training courses? 😉

    Congratulations on the 300 (I’m about 70-odd behind you!) and here’s to the next hundred!!

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    • Hi Mike,
      What a great comment! Thank you 🙂
      I agree completely with everything, particularly what you said about how worthwhile blogging is. I look at my blogroll occasionally too, and wonder what happened to some of the blogs on there and to the teachers who wrote them. Sometimes they come back, but even if they don’t what they wrote is still there for us to read, which adds to the mine of information available to us.
      I find blogging so useful that I feel like I’ll never stop, but who knows what the future will bring, and if/when we might not be able to or want to write any more. I certainly don’t feel like blogging is dead, and while the number of blogs can be overwhelming sometimes, especially for those new to the whole process, it also gives people the chance to read and write what is of most relevance to them.
      I like the idea of blogging being part of teacher training, but not everyone takes to it, so it shouldn’t be obligatory. What I love about it is that fact that you can write what you want, when you want. Maybe a group blog for all the students on the course, so no-one feels like they *have* to write, but everyone can if they want to?
      Looking forward to keeping the blogs alive! 😉

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  4. Hana Tichá said:

    Congratulations, Sandy. And thanks for being a role model for all of us, especially inexperienced bloggers, who can learn from your honest, straightforward and passionate way of writing about ELT-related stuff (and more).

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    • Thank you very much Hana. I love reading your blog precisely because of how honest and straightforward you are about the teaching situations you find yourself in. Looking forward to reading more!

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  5. Hooray! I second what Mike said – it’s so worth it! I was really unsure about doing it at first and didn’t really want to share personal things with the internet (I was quite proud of my near anonymity on the net), but once I got going, and thanks to support from people like you and the British Council’s Teaching English Facebook page, I really started to get a lot from it and my teaching has come a long way. I like your no-pressure as-and-when approach, too! Don’t stop writing!

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    • Hi Emma,
      As I’ve said before, I’m so glad you decided to start blogging! Anonymity on the net is good in some ways, but I think the potential benefits of not being anonymous outweigh the drawbacks. Don’t stop writing either! 🙂

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