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Friday, August 24, 2012

Return of the Mack... I mean blog

 I can hardly believe that the last time I wrote a post was in December. Last year! I knew I hadn't got round to writing anything for a few months but I honestly didn't think I had left it so long. I know flying time is a cliché but that's what seems to have happened in 2012. I suppose I had become slightly disillusioned with the whole ELT world, mainly because of problems in the workplace, and shied away from any contact with it, preferring to spend my free time as far away as possible.

Because that is what I did - I stopped writing on my blog, I stopped reading other people's blogs, allowing my Google reader to get clogged up with hundreds of posts I would never read. I stopped going on Twitter.
You may call it a 6 month holiday from my PLN...

I'm wondering whether it is just all down to my wanting to "get away from it all".

I started blogging in 2009, I joined Twitter at around the same time. Although it took me some time to get into both, eventually I was spending hours every morning reading blogs, writing posts and reading tweets, not to mention the weekly hour of furiously tweeting that is ELTchat (by the way, I am very sorry to hear about the demise of the ELTchat website, although I'm sure you'll have it back up and running soon with another domain). During 2010 and 2011 I probably spent the equivalent hours to that of a part time job on Google Reader, Blogger and Twitter. Just as well I didn't use Facebook for professional development! Other people didn't understand - why are you spending so much time doing something that you are not getting paid for?

And in the end, I got a bit tired of it all. I would take a week "off" and then have 50 blogposts to read when I went back online. So I would ignore them and the following week there would be 86, and then 132 etc etc
It got to the point where I just stopped using Feedly/Igoogle and ignored them forever.

But let me get back to my point in question. I am one of those people who takes up a new hobby, at first spends hours and hours on it only for it to peter out after a few months. I may take it back up again at a later date, but for shorter periods and with less motivation. This is especially true for sport (I did swimming for about a year, then running from which I have to have 2 months off every summer due to the heat!) but has even happened this with knitting - I spent hours and hours knitting this winter, even taking it on the train with me to a professional development session, but who fancies knitting in the summer? All that sweaty wool...

So, is this what has happened to me with blogging and tweeting? Are all the above just excuses?
Now I've had so much time off, I feel it is time to get back into it. To reconnect with all those people I had regular "conversations" with on Twitter. To comment on blogposts written by my PLN. To write on my own blog. However, this time I am not going to spend hours every day as I just don't think it is healthy. I will try to post something once a week, or more if I get inspired. I will spend maximum one hour a day reading blogs and retweeting things I have discovered. I will try and take part in ELTchat in the lunchtime session.

Does that sound like a good plan to you?

Note - Anyone remember Mark Morrison? I hated this song but always ended up singing it!


  1. Hi Michelle and welcome back!

    I was wondering where you had gone - it seemed you 'virtually' disappeared after EVO in January.

    I totally understand the need to take a break. I have also had a couple of periods this year in which I've stayed away from Twitter. I guess the fact that you missed it enough to come back is another sign of the power of the PLN. :)

    As for blogs, I stopped reading every post on every blog I follow a while ago. Nowadays, I tend to skim the title and the first paragraph to see if it grabs my interest, otherwise there is simply too much to take in.

    Anyway, glad you are back especially as my school is going for 'CLIL' in a big way this year (or rather some corrupted form of it designed to slot into the never-changing exam/grade system, but more on that another time...)

  2. Hi Dave!

    I'm glad I'm still on your reading list after so long! :)
    I think you are wise to restrict your blog reading though, the next time the posts start to pile up I think I'll just mark them all as "read" and start again - it's impossible to keep up with everybody's blogs AND Twitter.

    Good luck with the changes in your school. I think CLIL can be great when done well, the idea behind it is sound. However, it is rarely implemented properly (here there is a lot of translation going on) and there seem to be serious gaps in subject knowledge in L1 in many cases.
    Despite this I'm sure you'll be able to liaise with the subject teachers at your school and help with the implementation of the system from an ELT perspective.

    I still don't know what classes I'll be teaching this year but I have some ideas for Five Six Seven type units of work for 8 to 10 year olds. Hopefully I'll find the time to write them!

    Anyway, thanks for commenting!


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