Well, you know, I never really meant to become a blogger. It was all a bit of an accident. You see, I used to keep up individual course (b)logs to post homework and materials. Then one day I decided to get help (wouldn’t be anywhere without help) to build Beautiful Islands, my Moodle site, with separate project spaces for each of my company courses. The Island Weekly was the front page and was to contain weekly updates on what was happening on the Beautiful Islands. Well, most of my students had no use for Moodle, but the blog had some readers, so I eventually dropped the former and started expanding the latter from a weekly to a daily. Though I don’t make money from it and know I’m one of (and not one in) a million, blogging is as important to me as the teaching and writing I charge for.
The best part has been the discipline of thinking about things in greater depth. I write and podcast for people I actually know. It’s improved my writing style. But it’s also intrinsically rewarding: I came to teaching through the back door, an academic who loved discourse and had to start over in a new discipline. In my first ten years as a teacher I focused on learning the craft of helping others express themselves and became a good “midwife”. Now, writing has brought discourse back in through the front door. Of course a freelance teacher my age also needs to skill up. I’m fully aware that older does not mean better. So blogging keeps me on my toes and ready for the future.
The worst part of blogging is that writing has replaced making music as my meditative way into and out of the day, and I’m no longer making any progress on the keyboard. I really miss that.
I’m not in this for selfexpression, promoting learning is still what makes me tick. So I’d like to get a group of connected EFL bloggers up and running. I’ve taught academic writing and think – no, I know! – blogs would be the perfect vehicle for an open writing group based on assignments. This would all be free without competing with courses. People need to achieve a different level of English fluency than their parents did. I’m dying to try out my peer review system in such a group, but it’s a very slow process getting people up.
What traffic I get to this blog is generated though Twitter, posts on other people’s blogs, links on networking sites and word-of-mouth. People outside teaching with my interests find me through Google, and I’ve just begun using SEO. All of those are very effective ways of making sure a blog is connected. Because no blog, and no blogger, is an island.