In this post I want to have a closer look on why I am thinking that EVERY teacher should blog. My first blogging experience was in 2005, when I started a homepage at http://teacher.eduhi.at/kurtsoeser (long retired now). I thought that I want to have a place where I can put materials I’ve created for my students and soon after that I started to create my online presence.
Since 14.04.2008 I own the domain kurtsoeser.at (and recently kurtsoeser.com) and regularly blog here about all kind of things, mostly concerning my professional career as a teacher.
The main purpose of my blog is to share my ideas and let people know what I think about things that are bothering and challenging me. These are not only ideas but also materials I’ve created for my students or even thoughts of school development. I always thought: „Why the hell has every teacher start from scratch?“ There are thousand of great ideas and minds out there and I would love to get my hands on this full and splendid range of experience that teachers have all over the world. „Wouldn’t it ber nice to reach out to those great ideas and minds?“ That’s why I „give away“ lots of stuff for free. So if you are afraid that somebody „steals“ your ideas think again: Be proud that you have influenced somebody else and maybe lots of his/her students too!
…to build your own digital footprint
Everybody should google his or her name to get to know, „…what the Internet knows about you!“ There is no doubt that your online presence is very important and that everybody can find out a lot of things of you via the Internet, BUT in my opinion you can contribute to this by adding your personal info to that „Big data“. With a personal blog you make sure that people find the „right“ information about you and to go even further: nobody can steal your online identity if you create it actively
I also want to point out, that my blogging has led to many, many great contacts and after all to some pretty cool oppertunities, which has even earned me some money (or better: experiences!). But I do not earn any cent by my blog! I have no ads or other things on my blog, although I got some requests regularly.
I also use my website as a digital portfolio to point out things that I have accomplished or experienced. In my side profession as a workshop leader, public speaker and consultant it is very useful to show your past. And i personally love to see through my older posts from the last years and how I have developed my ideas…
…to show you are human too
Teacher are often seen as NOT-HUMAN or „creatures with no privat life at all“ by students and that makes it often very difficult to make it clear that you are experiencing the same things like everybody else and that you are dealing or struggling with the same problems like everybody else.
Some teachers‘ blogs are very personal (e.g. halbtagsblog.de ), others are completely dedicated to their profession. Where you want to find yourself is up to you (I have clearly drawn my personal line!), but in my opinion it is good to let people and especially students know, that you have a life and hobbies and other interests than school too!
…to build your professional network
One of the most underrated and overlooked issue as a teacher is that you are often completely alone. You teach alone in your class, you are resonsible for your personal professional development, you often do not have the time to discuss the problems with other teachers and you are let alone with this problems.
So in my example I am very into Microsoft technology (e.g. OneNote) and its use in educational environments and „modern math lessons „. It is very hard for me to find some colleagues in school who are thinking in the same direction or are facing the same problems or having the experience I need.
So by blogging I expaned my network and connect with „mind-like“ people but also with critics, who give you some reflections of your work and ideas. I really love the idea of a global teacher exchange! How easy it is to find the right person or the right answer within minutes. So I am very glad that I can reach out to people I have met virtually and discuss ideas (although this often does not happen on my blog, but on Twitter and Facebook).
…to learn how to express yourself
I never thought that I would write so much in my career, but as I blog regularly I am slowly developing some kind of „language skills“ that even help me with all other parts of my professional career. Every time I post an article I have to think carefully about what I want to tell and find the right wording for expressing my thoughts. This is pure language practice!
Take this post; my English teacher would never ever have thought that I am writing in English after school! 😉
On the other hand I find it very stimulating to create a visual appealing website and beautiful blogposts. I love to play around with settings and „gimmicks“ of my website template (e. g. http://www.kurtsoeser.at/2015/01/02/zahlen-zahlen-zahlen-und-danke) and altough sometimes this is very time-consuming I really learn lots of things by doing so.
…to get feedback
In school it is very hard for me to get feedback and it is even harder to get positive feedback! In an environment where we emphasize on „what students can’t do“ (think about that: we mark the the things that students did wrong, not the things they have done the right way!!!) I get very, very little feedback on my work. „If there are no problems then you have done a good job“ I often hear colleagues say. BUT I have to admit, that I love positive feedback, I love to hear things like „Wow, this was good“ or „You really helped me to solve my problem“… and even a small „Thank You“ is very empowering for me, but often not reality.
So when I look at my blog and especially the stats I feel very proud that my blog gets over 200 visits daily and that my blog posts spread literally all over the world. I take these numbers as a positive feedback and it gives me positive energy to carry on and write the next blog post.
…to have fun
Last but not least: blogging is my hobby. it makes fun, to express your thoughts, to have the freedom to write down things that are coming to my mind! So I never ever see my homepage as a job or work, I really have fun to take care about „my baby“! And I really love how this baby evolves and I hope that I can keep this passion going for a very long time…
So what do you think? Why do you blog?