Last summer, I noticed a huge amount of new teaching blogs – unfortunately most of them only lasted a few weeks/months so I’ve decided to write this blogpost to offer tips/ideas.
Why set up a teaching blog?
My blog was originally for me – to keep track of ideas that worked well for me or that I saw other teachers using and wanted to remember. Within a few months it grew massively and became quite popular. Now it is one of the most popular teaching blogs in Ireland.
Share ideas – whether you are an experienced teacher, or just newly qualified and you have ideas – set up a blog to keep track of them/ share them with others.
Teaching journey – are you moving abroad to teach? are you just beginning your teaching career?
Share resources – do you enjoy making resources? do you have good ICT skills? will other teachers find your resources useful?
How to set up a blog?
There are lots of different sites that you can use to set up a free blog. When I first started my blog I used blogspot.
Blogger/Blogspot is really easy to use. However, it is tricky to change the layout of the site, there are very few applications/widgets that can be used.
I changed to WordPress last summer and I find it much better. It did take a number of weeks to set up different things on the site however and to get it to look like I wanted. There are lots of different ‘themes’ to choose from with WordPress so you can easily try different styles and layouts. I was also able to add a ‘Shop’ function and a slideshow to show some pictures from my teaching/classroom.
For my current site, I have to pay for the domain name www.irishprimaryteacher.ie as well as hosting for the site. (You can get a free wordpress site too).
How to gain followers/readers?
Social media; Facebook is still probably the biggest and best way to gain followers and readers.
It can be very time consuming to run 5 different social media accounts for your blog. I mainly concentrate on Facebook and occasionally use the others.
How much work is involved?
There is a huge amount of work involved. I usually spend up to 2 hours on a single blogpost.
I receive a lot of messages/emails every day from fellow teachers looking for advice. It takes time to respond to each message and to offer the best advice i can.
Resources that I make for my blog can take up to 2 weeks to complete to a standard that I’m happy with.
Monitoring of social media accounts takes a long time too. These need to be updated regularly to grow your followers and readership of the blog. Unfortunately some people write nasty/ inappropriate comments which need to be dealt with too.
Public vs. Private
I follow lots of blogs covering a range of different topics. For beauty, fashion and fitness blogs its great to see the blogger in action doing beauty tutorials/ showing outfits/ sharing fitness progress.
However from a teaching point of view I don’t see any reason to become a ‘public figure’. Personally, I want my blog to be a place where I can share ideas, resources, lesson plans, and at the same time have a rant if things are not going well/ something didn’t work out as I had planned – (in a professional manner of course.)
Copy – whether its a name/ blog post/ idea (without giving credit). Its really annoying for the original poster and for your followers who will quickly realise that you’re copying content from others.
Just try to sell stuff- I sell some of my resources on my website. Most of my resources are free and my site is mainly for blogging. It is very annoying to see Facebook pages just advertising services (reading CV’s etc.) and selling resources. (If you just want to sell resources use sites such as Mash or Teachers Pay Teachers.
Be unprofessional – this is extremely important. Remember that a blog/ Facebook page is a public forum. Don’t write anything that you wouldn’t say in person or that offends others. Always maintain professionalism even when dealing with nasty comments.
I hope you found this post useful and I look forward to seeing some new education blogs this summer. Its great to learn and get ideas from one another. Niamh