I first started blogging in 2009 after being inspired by the brilliant Tim Rylands and Andy Hutt. Since then I have written more than 650 blog posts on this site and much more on previous blogging sites such as Posterous, wordpress.com and sites such as Staffrm plus articles for magazines and papers such as Teach Secondary, the TES and much more.
Despite having been lucky enough to have won awards for my blog and a whole host of other things to recognise my writing and sharing – frankly, in my head I am still the nervous shy person who really struggles to think he has anything much to say. This is why when people ask me about blogging I say; when it comes to blogging, write for yourself, when you want to, imagining only you will read it whilst being mindful that others may read it (I say the last bit because of course, it is important to be mindful of your potential audience).
It is true to say however that blogging, social media such as Twitter and Teachmeets collectively have transformed my career both in and out of the classroom. More so than I ever thought I would do. I simply love blogging and sharing. Sometimes though, like recently, I get a bit of a blogger’s block. I’ve got lots of things planned to write about. I’ve currently got 10 or so blogs written in draft. So why haven’t I posted them? The truth of it is, I haven’t had the confidence. I’ve felt like I haven’t got anything worthwhile to say and my confidence has been knocked by some pretty nasty experiences on these platforms that I champion so much. I’ve been sworn at. I’ve been called all sorts of nasty things. It isn’t very nice. My skin definitely isn’t very thick and so the knock-on effect of that has been I haven’t really wanted to use social media much and I haven’t posted anything new.
I’ve been reflecting upon this a bit. I’ve learned that blogging (for me) should be something I do when you feel you have something worthwhile to share. I shouldn’t feel any pressure to blog. Certainly, I shouldn’t blog just for the sake of it either. I’m in awe of some people who have a blogging routine and do it day in, day out regardless. I simply cannot do that. I know that I should have a thicker skin and should not allow others to impact on me in this way.
It has been my distinct privilege over the years to support a number of teachers who now blog prolifically, some of which have written books and some who are writing books now too. So, in this blog post, I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve picked up along the way to help aspiring bloggers and those who already blog too.
“I don’t have anything worthwhile to share.”
Yes, you do. Every teacher does. Even if it’s a reflective blog post about something that hasn’t gone quite right – it could help others. A good example would be the post from Alex Quigley written over the weekend titled, “Regrets, I’ve had a few”. Like many teachers, I have suffered from imposter syndrome. Fight through it though. From my perspective, it has definitely been worthwhile.
“What if someone from my school reads it?”
Sometimes, sharing things going on in your school can be just the catalyst for change that is required. Some of my best blog posts have come from reflecting on things happening in my school about how I can improve or do better. So long as you don’t bad mouth your school or write anything you wouldn’t be prepared to say to your Mum, Headteacher or Chair of Governors you won’t go far wrong. Always be mindful of language and data protection.
“I’m worried about my SPaG.”
Don’t worry about it. Sure, install something like Grammarly for Chrome onto your laptop/Chromebook/MacBook to help you. I often get my partner to double check my posts for inconsistencies and errors. I do the same thing for her too when she blogs. Interestingly, the more you blog though, the more confident you get and the less you worry about it. One of the positive effects of blogging is that you not only get better at typing but additionally your writing will inevitably improve too.
“Nobody will read it so what’s the point?”
That comes down to the purpose of your blog. I set up my blog in the first place to share teaching and learning ideas with technology. I don’t always write about that and certainly, this post isn’t about that either. The point for many is to provide a platform for their careful reflection on what they’re doing in the classroom, in their school or with some of the projects they’re involved in. The process of writing is reflective and so if nobody reads it, then that’s fine. That said, you will most likely find that people will. Without exception, everyone I have ever spoken with who has started a blog has said positive things about the experience. And if you’re like me, you will probably find that sharing will bring back responses that help you in improving the work going on in your own classroom. Also – it’s great to share. I love that by sharing things on my blog I am able to positively impact classrooms not just in my local area but around the world.
The world of education for educators is so very different to what it was like when I first started teaching. The best CPD I got was on the rare occasion I got to visit other classrooms and I didn’t really have anyone other than my HoD and other colleagues to bounce or share ideas with. Blogging and sharing open up a whole world of new opportunities for developing yourself professionally. If you don’t want to, then don’t. That’s up to you. I however and countless others have found it a very worthwhile experience.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. If you blog and have some tips you’d like to share I’d love to read them in the comments. For further reading, you might like to check out this blog post by Blake Harvard on the positive effects of blogging. It’s good (the post I mean!).
Thanks for reading.