Sunday, February 27, 2011

My SEETA guest blogging spot - a post-mortem

I have now finished my guest blogging gig for SEETA's My Working Week series:

My guide for how to approach it was the title of the blog My Working Week and the Community Manager Anna Parisi's comments in her invitation, both of which seemed to suggest that I simply shared details about what I did in my working week.  In retrospect, maybe I should have taken more notice of the main SEETA page where it says I will give readers my "insights, thoughts and reflections".

It has been an interesting experience which has given me new insight into my working day, even if I did bore any other readers silly.  I think of myself as good at reflecting on my teaching experiences, but realise that I do less and less of this the busier I have become, and haven’t kept a journal for some time.  Writing the blog posts meant my reflections had to be much more thoughtful, considered and regimented.  It also meant sitting at my laptop until after 11pm every night, which is very difficult for me.

I agonised over each post, I chopped, changed and edited, and feel I lost any spontaneity in the process.  I found it hard talking into 'thin air' without any feedback, or any sense of an audience.  I've written many long epistles while on extended working holidays abroad, and had very enthusiastic feedback from friends and family, but this blogging 'professionally' was a new, and interesting, experience for me.

It was kind of difficult when I wasn't even sure if anyone was reading.  On day 5 I sent Anna an email just to check as I had felt a little mad just talking to myself.  I had two comments to my first post, both by people I'd sent to the blog, one a friend and colleague, and had solicited comments via email from other writerly friends.  But after that I had no sense whether anyway was out there.  I had promoted it widely at my workplace, but no one mentioned having looked at it.  I got to the stage where I was wondering if it might be that they wanted to avoid the embarrassment of trying to find something nice to say when they really thought it was awful.  I do understand people's reluctance to make comments on blogs.  I know I will try to comment on other blogs more now, but then I always feel I need to have something to ask, or something worthwhile to add!

Anna reported that teachers had been reading my posts and that a teacher from Greece joined the #ELTchat after following my link on SEETA. I'm very happy about that as I've been trying to spread the word about this wonderful PD opportunity.  Anna also said that other teachers are sending emails asking if they could be future bloggers, so perhaps I made it all seem more accessible to others.

Posting to the blog has reminded me just how interesting and varied my work is, and how much I love it, even though sometimes it is very frustrating.  It also made me realise how much more I do as co-ordinator of our Distance Learning program than I had given myself credit for before (I just always wondered where the hours went!).  I also realised how much IT troubleshooting I do, many things which probably should go straight to our help desk, but need to have an intermediary since our support people don't always understand the needs of teachers and learners.

I didn't have time to make notes during the day, and have now realised that I left out lots of interesting things, but I hope I got across some of the fabulous programs we have for new arrivals in Australia.  I also hope that, through all of my editing and rewriting, some of the passion, enthusiasm and dedication got through!

I am very grateful to Anna and SEETA for inviting me to do this, it was an insightful week for me.

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