We’ve been writing our teaching blog for nearly a year now, and it has been a roller coaster experience. We’ve had positive feedback, negative feedback and met and spoken to some really interesting people. We wouldn’t change our experience as we found it quite cathartic, whilst living and working in Northern Spain, and we love hearing different teachers opinions. We are not the only ones: there is a huge world of EFL out there and hundreds of posts are written and shared everyday. People want to hear what you have to say, and being teachers we all seem to be fond of, and good at, writing.
Why you should start a blog
Not only do people want to hear what you have to say they also want to know about teaching techniques and material that they can use. You don’t just have to stick to one thing, you can diversify your writing to include all sorts of interesting things that help your fellow teacher and help spread your ideas.
There are plenty of topics to write about and it can help to organise ideas and even help with your overall teaching. We also found it to be quite empowering: we could write a piece about something we think is important and then find like-minded people who could help us to build on our ideas, and help us to improve as teachers. So many times, whilst teaching, have we felt that our voice just isn’t heard or we think that nobody cares, but by starting your own blog you can take part in a wider conversation and get your ideas out there.
Where to start
After finding whatever teaching related thing you want to write about, which is the hardest part, finding a platform for your writings is the next and one of the easiest things to do. We recommend either a free WordPress account or a free Blogger account; it gets you off the ground, and both are very straight forward to use. Furthermore, the discovery process of finding out how to make your blog look exactly how you want it is a great experience, and makes you realise what an art form blogging can be. Also don’t forget to add tags to all your posts!
What to write about
A few things have been touched upon, about what to write, in the previous paragraphs, and I don’t believe in just writing about the most popular things in order to get views. Write about whatever EFL thing you want. Here are some suggestions to get you off the ground:
- Topical teaching points: Native Speaker debate, Technology in the classroom, Teaching young learners.
- Daily blogs/ a day in the life or a diary
- Divisive issues
- Teaching Materials
- Tips and guides for cities or countries to work in
- All of the above and whatever you can think of
Finding inspiration can be tough but I recommend joining some EFL Facebook groups and checking out what other people post. We started our own Facebook group and the many people that contribute help inspire us, especially after my two month writer’s block.
Where to share and connect
Joining Facebook groups is not only a great way to find inspiration, you can also share and connect with other teachers, only when you have your well-written masterpiece of a blog: join as many groups as you like (check the rules of the group) and post away (don’t spam!). What the community wants is anybody’s guess and randomly posting can be pretty hit and miss, but until you find your audience it is your best bet at getting some early views.
Other areas to post include:
- Twitter – Using hashtags wisely
- Linkedin – Teaching groups
- Pinterest – Collaboration boards
These all make great platforms for any aspiring blogger.
Commenting and engaging with other bloggers can lead to all sorts of interesting collaborations and experiences and always be on the lookout for guest bloggers, don’t be afraid to ask.
However, it is not all about views, believe it or not, what I find more valuable is the feedback. As a blogger in the EFL industry it is just as important to listen as it is to be listened to.