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Teaching And Blogging #MondayMusings

When I finished school, and wanted to study English Literature, my parents asked me if I wanted to be a teacher. Those were days when there were not too many career options for anyone studying Arts. I certainly did not want to be a teacher. It was ironic then, that some 20 years later, I did become a teacher. This after graduating in Commerce and working in a bank for 7 years. I’ve done a lot of things before and after, but I have some good memories of the time I taught – more because of all I learnt during that time.

On 5 September, India celebrates Teacher’s Day, in honour of our first Vice President (later President). Having been a teacher myself, I would love to share my reflections on teaching and how what I learned there can be applied to blogging too.

Today I’d like to share 4 things I learned from my teaching career can be applied to blogging as well – personal blogging, that is.

Reflections On Teaching And Blogging

There are a lot of  similarities between a teacher and a blogger – being inspired, being inspirational,  needing to stay up to date, constantly working on your craft, but I’m going to keep this short.

Keeping it simple

I think the best thing I learned from teaching is the fact that what matters to students is not so much what you teach, but how you teach it. You might have a fantastic grasp on the subject, but if you aren’t able convey this in a way that is clear to the student, your teaching is useless. It’s the same with blogging. You might have a fantastic imagination and great ideas and a great depth of knowledge about the topic you’re blogging about, but if your reader can’t relate to your writing, you’ve failed. The idea is to write in an easy and flowing style, writing to communicate and not to impress.

Keeping it real

In the schools of today,  classrooms have closed circuit television so that the teacher’s actions can be monitored. But in a sense, teachers have always had their actions closely observed – by students! Young people have the unique gift of spotting a fake. So if you’re trying too hard to be nice, don’t waste your time, a student will spot it right away. They’d rather you keep it real. I’ve had days when I went to a classroom and told the students I wasn’t feeling up to teaching and would they please spend the time meaningfully – and funnily enough, a classroom of 80 adolescent boys have done just that.

Our readers too can spot a fake. If you keep writing about yourself in glowing terms and act as if you are the font of all knowledge, there comes a time when your regular readers will start to question if you are real. And then there’s the case of the blogger who is always writing to seek attention. It seems that almost nothing goes right in her life. Name any illness and she’s had it! Earlier this year, Belle Gibson, an Australian blogger was caught faking terminal brain cancer. As Lincoln said : You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Being person-centered

As a teacher, I’ve often spotted a student who didn’t seem to be doing alright and reached out to him outside the classroom. I can honestly say that in those interactions, I was more a teacher than when I taught the subject.

Like teachers, bloggers must make their blogs not about themselves or their subject but about their readers and what might interest them too. So while each of us must blog in our own unique style, we must keep the reader – the main consumer – in mind.

Many of our readers are bloggers too, and sometimes, it’s good to reach out to them outside our blogs and ask them how they’re doing. Or let them know that you’re around if they need a ear or some technical support. Reaching out to a new blogger can make a world of difference to them. I know that people did that for me, and I try, in a small measure to pay it forward.

Being responsible

As teachers and bloggers we are called to be responsible individuals. We must use our words with caution, knowing that they have the power to both inspire or wound. I knew that as a teacher. As a blogger, I was a little slower to understand that. I’ve sometimes ranted on my blog – not very constructive at all.  It’s alright to call a spade a spade and to talk about difficult subjects on our blogs. In fact, we must do that.  But at the end of the day, we’ve got to ask ourselves if what we’ve written is constructive.  So spreading rumours, gossip, or even giving glowing reviews about bad products are all irresponsible blogging and something we must not indulge in.

As Stephen King says – and I’m applying this both to teaching and blogging:

We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.

teaching-and-blogging1

 

Have you ever been a teacher? Do you have that one teacher or blogger who reached out to you and made a difference? Do you think there are any similarities between teaching and blogging? 

 

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Also linking to Mackenzie Glanville’s post.

Reflectionsfromme

24 Comments

  1. Harmony Harmony September 13, 2016

    There is so much I can relate to know this post. I loved every word. In a sense we are teaching in our blogs because we are writing to encourage and motivate the world around us.

  2. Geets Geets September 12, 2016

    I could connect so well with this post, Corinne! I’m a teacher right now. I started teaching two years back and now when I look back, I feel I have learned so much in this journey. So much of growth and inspiration has been on my way. And when I connect with my students and hear them say that they loved every minute of my class, it only brings a sense of satisfaction, that gratification that only I could feel and no amount of money or things in the world can measure that.

    I’m still not sure, how am I as a blogger. But I do know there’s a long way to go. And this post sure answered and connected so many points.

    Thank you for writing this one!

    Cheers
    Geets

  3. Mackenzie Glanville Mackenzie Glanville September 10, 2016

    I really loved this post from you and I feel like you were keeping it real! I never connected teaching and blogging, but you are so right. Funnily enough I wanted to be teacher, it was all I deemed of as a child and even as a teen, and to be honest I still wish that is what I had done. My older brother filmed me when I was 13 or 14 and did an interview with me about what I wanted to do when I grew up, I confidently answered a part time teacher and a writer. You have just made me see that although I don’t have a classroom as such in many ways through my blog I do teach. Maybe the universe has a funny way of answering our dreams and wishes? #mg

  4. Haralee Haralee September 8, 2016

    A great post Corinne. There are similarities in teaching in many aspects of life including blogging. I was a teacher for a minute. I learned in teaching that the best lesson plan executed and then when a test on the material is given and if all the students fail it is not they were not listening it is the teacher NOT executing the material well. Like you say keeping it simple and taking responsibility!
    I went into sales and the lessons I learned from teaching were excellent for sales.

  5. Lux G. Lux G. September 7, 2016

    Love that closing quote. So much truth and realizations in it.

  6. Tamuria Tamuria September 7, 2016

    I love the way you pointed out similarities between blogging and teaching. I teach art to people with disabilities and I totally agree with the principals you mentioned. Keeping it simple, being authentic, and being person-centred are so important to both teaching and blogging, but the most important thing is being responsible and understanding how much power is in your words – spoken and written.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 16, 2016

      I’m glad this made sense to you, Tamuria. Taking responsibility is key, is it not?

  7. Emma (Upside Mum) Emma (Upside Mum) September 7, 2016

    I am a teacher too and agree with a lot of what you have said. They are very similar and require lots of the same types of skills. #mg

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 16, 2016

      Ah a teacher would appreciate the similarities. Thanks for stopping by, Emma.

  8. Kathy @ SMART Living 365 Kathy @ SMART Living 365 September 6, 2016

    Hi Corinne! I agree that there are a lot of similarities between teaching and blogging, but I also think that all your tips apply to living a SMART life! I particularly like how you say, “what matters to students is not so much what you teach, but how you teach it.” Didn’t Gandhi say something like, “we are our message.” So very true. And I also believe that our words have incredible power whether we are writing, teaching or just talking. Thanks for this #Mondaymusing! ~Kathy

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 16, 2016

      Oh yes! They hold true for life in general, don’t they, Kathy?
      This is why I believe that we can’t just churn out posts without them meaning something to us. Yours are such great examples of walking the talk.
      Thank you for being you.

  9. Yes, bloggers learn fast that if you’re going to write and write… and write, you better be true to yourself and your audience. I can’t imagine faking anything. It sounds exhausting. Its hard enough to just be real!

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 16, 2016

      I know it can be draining to be fake, Laurie, but you’ll be surprised how many people can be just that!

  10. laughing mum laughing mum September 6, 2016

    some really good points here.. very true, they are extremely similar and I love the point about keeping it real, thats so important! #mg

  11. Gilly Maddison Gilly Maddison September 6, 2016

    Yes – so true – young people are expert in picking up on our true feelings and so keeping it real is the only way. It honors them and ourselves at the same time. I was not a teacher exactly, but after working in the media for years as a photojournalist, I left to pursue a career with emotionally challenged children who were failing at school.

    All my study did not prepare me for the way children see straight through fakes or the way they can pick up on nerves at 50 paces! One of the little boys I will never forget was a complete rogue even at 7. I knew his history and on the first day that I went to collect him from class, I was really nervous but thought I was bluffing through it.

    He used to runaway from me en route to the room where we worked, swear at me, refuse to talk to me and generally be really difficult. But as we got to know each other, he understood how much I cared about him as a little human who needed to learn how to live a happy life without fighting people all the time. We ended our 18 weeks of regular sessions with great respect for each other and as I prepared to withdraw, I asked him if he remembered the first time I went to get him from class (to let him see how far he had come) and he looked me right in the eyes and said “yes, I do, you were REALLY nervous!” That made me smile and think of how far we had come TOGETHER – it was about my learning as much as his.

    Then this ‘terrible’ little boy walked over to the sink in the craft room and came back with a small bouquet of flowers that he thrust in my face and said proudly “I choosed these for you!” I will never forget him – he made all the study, training and frightening career change worthwhile.

    I really enjoyed your post and I especially agree with the last part about responsibility in blogging and reviewing – being responsible is so important. We, as writers, definitely need to have a code of ethics we use to avoid harming others with our words.

  12. Payal Agarwal Payal Agarwal September 6, 2016

    Inspiring! I remember Corinne, a link of a poetry website that you shared with me on fb, a few months back, it really helped me in that moment! Such random acts create ripples. Nice points there, and a lovely quote. 🙂

  13. Barbara Barbara September 6, 2016

    This is so true, Corinne. I suppose when we share our opinions on our blog we’re hoping to sway some who lean the other way, but I’m not sure it happens that often. I rant to keep from exploding, at times. Great post!
    b

  14. Nabanita Nabanita September 6, 2016

    I never thought of blogging and teaching in the same way but you have now made me see these two in completely different light, Corinne. I have never been good at teaching anyone, not because I never want to but because I somehow feel I’m inadequate and not competent enough to teach. Even if I know something, I feel shy perhaps to proclaim I know and then teach others about it. Makes sense?

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 18, 2016

      You have no business feeling that you won’t be good at sharing information, Naba. You do a great job with getting your message across in your writing – teaching is just an extension and the common factor is words.

  15. Parul Thakur Parul Thakur September 5, 2016

    Such a thoughtful post and I agree with you on the reflections. My parents are teachers and when growing up, I also never wanted to be a teacher. Now I feel I am so happy teaching things to others. Reading your post, I feel that I why I am a blogger too 🙂

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 18, 2016

      So nice to know that your parents are teachers, Parul. I’m sure you do some sort of teaching in your work too.

  16. Darla M Sands Darla M Sands September 5, 2016

    I can’t imagine teaching, though coworkers have told me I’m good at it. Go figure.

    Great post. I cannot imagine faking a disease for any reason. Yowza! Yeah, let’s keep it real, people.

    • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues Post author | September 18, 2016

      I guess we’ll never know how good we are at anything, until we try it out.
      About the fakes, sadly there are quite a few out there.

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