This post was originally published on June 7, 2017, and was updated on May 11, 2020.
In the wake of COVID-19, many teachers are looking for ways to contribute and discover what processes work best. Information on distance and online learning is something many educators are writing about and seeking best practices for. Enter teacher blogs.
Teacher blogs — A resource and chance to share
A teacher’s job isn’t easy in the best of circumstances. They have to figure out how to reach their students and help them progress through lessons, even when each pupil thinks, listens and learns differently.
Now with the physical classroom taken out of the mix, keeping things on track and organized is even more difficult. However, as a teacher, by starting your own teacher blog you can share what challenges you face and what you discover works for you.
Why to consider starting a teacher blog
Whether you’re a seasoned educator or a first-year teacher, creating a blog about your challenges and successes in the classroom and how to translate them to online and remote learning can be extremely valuable.
Here are a few of the reasons why starting a teacher blog is a smart move not only for you but for other teachers as well.
Comments on your blog posts will provide the opportunity to interact with a greater network of educators than those just within your school or district.
You can read (and comment on) other teacher blogs for advice, resources and insight. You can share your experiences and ask for feedback from the community on your own posts.
This allows you to grow professionally — and help others do the same.
Do you have a great idea for an online classroom activity or a powerful lesson plan? Sharing ideas is a great way to be more effective with a diverse set of students, and it helps other educators who might be looking for new practices or student-engagement strategies.
Inviting reader feedback allows you to pool your knowledge with that of other teachers the world over.
Assessment of methods
As you come across new ideas or share the ones you’ve tried, you can see how others will respond. Are your methods the most effective? Are there things you could be doing better?
Use the experiences of other educators, as well as your own, to improve the quality of your teaching.
To become a thought leader
With many schools closing early and uncertainty about when they will reopen, teachers are in uncharted waters. Sharing quality content about how you are addressing the current environment can help you establish your position as an expert.
A blog that consistently has useful resources and guidance, especially if it’s focused on a particular situation or environment, will likely be revisited often and shared within industry circles.
What makes a great teacher blog
The advantages of writing and sharing online can only be realized if your blog attracts readers. Unlike Field of Dreams, “If you build it they will come” doesn’t apply to blogs (or anything on the web, for that matter). But you can improve your chances by incorporating a few characteristics many of the top teacher blogs have in common.
4 traits of the best teachers blogs
- Use of various media.
- Engaged readers.
Here are a few examples of teacher blogs that successfully incorporate these traits to get your ideas flowing.
If you care deeply about your students, your blog will emanate that. A great reference of what this looks like is Jose Vilson.
Jose writes about topics that are important to him, including race and education. And, with the coronavirus’s impact on New York, he’s been focusing on the topic of distance learning.
His insights make you think and challenge you to see things from a different perspective, which is both engaging and important.
Finding a narrow focus, or niche, for your teacher blog can make a big difference when it comes to standing out from the crowd.
For example, TeachThought makes it clear what their purpose is through their tagline, “We Grow Teachers.” If you browse some of their article titles, you will see this theme throughout.
3. Use of various media
It’s no secret that videos attract readers online. That’s why teacher bloggers who are most effective at entertaining and connecting with readers usually include multimedia in their blog strategy.
That means embedding videos, audio files or podcasts whenever possible.
Someone who does a great job of this is The Cool Cat Teacher, also known as Vicki Davis. She has a section on her blog called, “The 10-Minute Teacher Show,” which consists of podcasts of interviews with influencers in the industry.
4. Engaged readers
California high school teacher and blogger Larry Ferlazzo calls his Classroom Q&A “an experiment in knowledge-gathering.”
He poses a “question-of-the-week” and asks followers to provide answers, the latest being on remote learning. A few days later, he shares those answers and credits the responders. This provides visibility for readers who want to be featured as a resource in the space, while driving user involvement for his own gain.
Note: If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to find the best teacher blogs without having to browse around for hours, Teach 100 lists the top education blogs across the web every day.
Get started: Build your own teacher blog
Once you know what your blog will cover and how to make it stand out, it’s time to build it. Blog platforms like WordPress make creating your blog almost as simple as choosing a theme and writing the posts.
To get started on your new teacher blog, pick a name, pick your blog builder and hosting and start customizing the look.
For step-by-step instructions on how to build a blog in WordPress, we recommend, How to start a blog in 7 steps (in 2020).
This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Jessica Ropolo.