Starting a blog has been a blessing in many ways. However, I thought I must first share the impact it has had on the first reason this blog was started for.
Before this, I had blogging on my mind for some years, as somebody has once suggested this to me because I like writing. But like most people I know, I was quite unaware of what it was all about. Being too busy with multiple things in life, and honestly at times quite lazy to figure it out, I kept procrastinating it until days became months and months became years. I had a feeling it would be too much work, and not that it isn’t as per most people in the blogging world, but the reasons I blog have helped me balance things in my life with blogging. So it’s not as strenuous or time-consuming.
In fact, it has helped me quite a bit to get better at my work. How did I get there? The techniques I used… More on that some other day. Today’s blog introduces you to how I improved as a teacher, unlike the anticipated regression, by taking on an additional responsibility- blogging.
Listed below are some ways blogging has helped me with my teaching:
1. Research Work
Since all teachers are perpetual learners, even my learning has improved. Gone are the days when I would crib about not finding enough time to research new things beyond the basic that was required to teach. To blog and upload content, I obviously have to make time to research more and that too more often. No doubt this is also because the more time one spends working at a place, the better they get at time-management skills. But taking time out for blogging and research was a conscious effort. This brings me to my next reason.
2. Better at Time-Management
Had I not been a blogger, I probably would not have worked on this aspect with a war-footing at school and at home as well. Initially it took a lot of time to post anything, even when it was not as good as it is now (Check out my old “Word of the Day” posts.) But sticking to it, pushed me to work things out in this direction. How you may ask. Read point 3!
Also, most of my content is saved online. It’s easily accessible. For grammar topics that I have written the content, it’s almost as if the entire lesson plan is up on the smart board on projection. (Refer to this post- Use of Apostrophes in English) It really makes for better time-management even in the class, which was something I was struggling with for a long time.
3. More Organised
Needless to say that better time-management came with better organisational skills, so I don’t end up in a situation like Spongebob. I now have come up ways for myself to avoid bringing a lot of work home, for I know I have to give time to blogging at home.
Instead of working just hard, I now have found ways to work smart too.
I teach using my blog. Most of the content on various topics is curated for me to use. I simply have to project and facilitate learning. I do keep adding and renewing content, but unlike before I don’t have to repeat many of the tasks.
Also, a lot of research and activities the children and I do at school features on my blog in various ways, making the children happy as they get recognition, like on the “Word of the Day” posts, and I am happy as they are improving faster and so am I and my blog.
By the way, how to develop better organisational skills is a complete blog post in itself. However, I must add, it is an ongoing process.
4. Improvement in Content Knowledge
All the research is improving the content knowledge of my students only because my own content- knowledge is being enhanced every step of the way. I see a monumental difference even in the pedagogy I use and my work habits and ultimately my classroom management.
5. Class time has something new in store.
The more I read and research, the more ideas I have on how a particular lesson can be taught in a better way. Creativity sparks creativity. Also, the content on the blog features various visuals and online quizzes and exercises that make the topic fun. Again, I only reap the fruits of research done.
6. A Great Tool for Motivation
The day after I post something and enter the class, the hot topic of discussion for the first few minutes is always the new blog post, the new word, the child who got featured and the new research MY STUDENTS have done to get featured on the blog. They come to me multiple times during the day to add onto their findings, as they have developed a keen eye of what is required to get a special mention on the blog. Here I must mention that as a teacher you must channelize this well as per the need of your students. There is no set path. I can go on and on about how blogging has helped so much with student engagement.
Go read about it on the comments on any of the educational content I post on this blog to see how much love they shower each time something is posted.
Story time: In the past when I was unable to post, my students would complain about how they were checking their phone every half an hour to see the new blog post which was never posted.
Confession/Story time: During the initial days, when it was quite time-consuming to post content on the blog, I thought of giving up multiple times. But one day in the middle of a serious discussion on some completely different topic, one of my students raised his hand. I assumed he wanted to add to the discussion or ask a doubt. In fact, I had forgotten about the blog, for I hadn’t posted in weeks. He asked, “Ma’am, why have you not been posting on the blog?” The fact that he had been thinking about it even after all this time and during an engrossing class discussion really woke me up to the impact this platform had on the children. I decided to keep going, because a good teacher would never leave a teachable moment or source that too when the students themselves are asking for it!
So, most of my work is done. They are taking more interest, reading more, researching, revising at home through the videos and practice exercises and also learning how to conduct themselves in an online society. And so am I!
7. It has expanded my classroom beyond the confines of the walls of the school
Quite literally in my case! The blogposts enable various learners to learn at their own pace. Furthermore, it caters to multiple learning styles. Instead of me being the one in possession of all the content in a tiny, thin magic device called the pen drive, it is now accessible to them at home for revision.
But you may think they already have access to YouTube. Well, most students are unaware of which website is worth trusting. At primary level, some of them are not good at going from video to video, website to website and reading through content to realise what is dependable and age- appropriate. So the content posted on the blog plays an important role.
8. I now record moments and successes
Unlike earlier, where I would just share a success story of a child with the class, applaud him, give him a reward and then forget about what I did to make it work or record the shift that took place in the child, I have now started curating those moments. It provides oodles of positive reinforcement. One way I do it is on my vocabulary posts. However, I also plan to feature success stories and strategies on this blog in various ways, in the future.
10. Great for positive- reinforcement
All the above things work in my classroom because my students feel a sense of achievement and happiness from learning and sharing as well as featuring on the blog. I have received emails and comments from parents expressing gratitude for this. I especially feel happy to see a child who earlier was not so keen on learning a certain thing, suddenly putting in so much effort to improve. Again success stories to be shared in future blog posts.
11. Better Student-Teacher Relationship
All the above things and the ones below have collectively only improved my relationship with my students… ummm… definitely not like in the GIF.
12. My students think it’s cool!
Need I say more on this one!
13. It makes me happy.
A happy teacher means happy students. I feel calmer and come happy to school, ready to discuss the blog posts. Seeing my own personal growth has been deeply satisfying and motivating. It pushes me to stretch my own limits of what I think I was capable of.
Also, research work makes my creative juices flow and I enjoy class time more. I experiment more in class and have recently starting writing stories after 7 to 8 years! This is all because of the focus and training blogging is giving me. This as well can be another blog post. See, so many ideas sprang to my mind while writing this post itself.
All these reasons have contributed greatly to improving my own mental health.
With all things said and done, I have to admit that not all students will respond enthusiastically or take as much interest as you want them to. But this does not mean they might never move in that direction. I too have some children who have started taking interest in my blog recently.
But think about the majority of children who do enjoy this platform of learning. For the next generation learner, this truly is a good platform to facilitate learning.
Think about why you became a teacher.
Will this platform help you to get closer to your aims and objectives of teaching? Will it help your students in any way? If there was even a soft voice that murmured “yes” in your head, then blogging as a teacher is worth giving a shot!