Tuesday, 7 December 2010

‘I am a teacher’ - Shortlisted for Edublogs 2010 ‘Best New Blog’

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:

nominated_newblog

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:

  • Jason Renshaw’s English Raven blog has been a great source of inspiration for me, from his well-written descriptions of his lessons to his challenges such as the Wondrous Whiteboard and A Meeting of the Boards, which I have taken into my classrooms and posted on my blog.
  • Cecilia Coelho’s Box of Chocolates, which as a new blog on my radar asked the question ‘Are you a teacher all the time?’ helping me to give my blog new direction (also a candidate for Best New Blog - if you’re not going to vote for me, I’d say vote for this one).
  • 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!

8 comments:

  1. Great thoughts, Dave, and congrats on what you've achieved so far on your blogging journey.

    Like you, I started my blog not really knowing what I was doing, or where it was going, and -- also like you -- I've found the endeavour much more appealing and more audience-drawing now that much more of what I write is grounded in reflecting on actual lessons or plotting new ideas for future ones...

    Sort of like 'Teaching Unsmug' or something...

    Anyway, congrats on your nomination, it is very well-deserved!

    Best,

    - Jason

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  2. Count on me for sticking with you! It goes both ways - you have been a great source of motivation, inspiration and just good old fun to me :-) Thank you for everything. I am humbled by your words, by being shortlisted alongside you and so many other bloggers/teachers I admire and follow and learn from.

    And what a fabulous surprise it was to find out, reading your post that that post helped you give your blog a new direction - which I particularly like :-) I am honoured Dave.

    As you say, being shortlisted and in such company is already great recognition and a great honour in itself. And I just hope we continue to share, contribute and learn together. You truly deserved this Dave.

    Here's to another 500 posts! (you can't see but in my mind I am toasting you with a Devassa! Better get that plan for a Brazilian family vacay going! :-)

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  3. I'm glad you've made it to the short list. You knw I'm a big fan of your blog. I have learned a lot from it and it has also inspired me and helped me to continue writing in my own blog. I've just came to congratulate and really looking forward to the next 50 blog posts! Kisses and hugs!

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  4. Hi Dave,

    First of all, congratulations on your nomination! I must say your blog has come across as a very grateful surprise, and it's part of my own blog list for PD. It's only fair that you have been nominated.

    As you said, it's some fierce competition you guys have out there. Lots of wonderful blogs, but at least the bright side is that most people are part of each other's PLN, which means that you all must be having mixed feelings about it, huh?! :)

    I certainly look forward to the next 1000 posts, and I hope to keep learning from and sharing with you. Hope we'll be able to do it one day over a Devassa, right?!

    Congratulations and good luck! :)

    Henrick

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  5. Thanks for the great comments guys! I look forward to many more blog posts from each of you and lots of shared experiences. :)

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  6. Yep, congrats to you. Like Jason and others, it's hearing about lessons and reflecting on them that I like. Good name for a blog, in fact.

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  7. Well done Dave. I got nominated but didn't make the shortlist. Oh well, what can I do?

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  8. Congrats on the nomination Dave! I love your blog,it's one of my favorite ones. I always learn a lot from your reflections and experiences. Thanks for your comments on my blog too. Congratulations again and good luck!

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