You don’t have to accept it as a universal truth that teachers need to blog. You could just take my word for it. However, because you are an educator and naturally curious, I’ve listed the reasons why you should blog and more importantly HOW to blog about your classroom, your teaching style, your experiences, or your niche. If you need help getting started, I’m here for you.
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(1) Create social connections with other educators.
Why: Teaching can be a lonely blood sport. Educators thrive when they collaborate and compare. Sharing ideas, best practices, and success stories (remember to keep all names confidential) can help inspire others and they can inspire you. Developing your ideas on paper, so-to-speak, helps to crystallize your thinking and provides fellow teachers with new ideas, too.
How: Create a basic WordPress account and start writing down your teaching ideas. Summarize key points of helpful articles, listing ways you use these methods in your classroom. Link your blog post to your relevant Pinterest boards, push to Facebook and Google+, share on Twitter, and ask questions in your post to encourage engagement with fellow educators. In addition, by enabling Facebook comments on your blog, you will make it easier for anyone to reply.
(2) Create a professional landing page
Why: Create a professional landing page for colleagues, administrators, parents (if you teach at the K-12 level), students, or peers you meet at conferences to visit to learn more about you. Demonstrate your authority in your field.
How: Create a basic Teacher or Professor Website that houses your Curriculum Vitae or Resume, your teaching philosophy, and any books or videos you have developed. Provide links to your content. Embed YouTube videos of relevant content you want your students to view or webinars you have conducted. Link to discussion guides, study guides, or teaching guides on the subject.
(3) Self-Reflection and Idea Creation
Why: Reflect on the teaching process to gain insight into your practice as well as to cultivate new ideas. As you reflect and write about your teaching, your subject area, or your goals, you will likely develop new ideas that would not have come to light without writing.
How: Using a basic website, write a daily or weekly round-up post of what you learned that week about teaching or about the content you covered, the sources that you used, or the ideas you had. Embed links to helpful information you found on the web. Encourage readers to comment by asking them to share favorite links or resources they have used in their classes.
(4) Create Content to Help Others and Develop Authority
Why: As an educator, you have developed a skill and expertise in a particular area. Therefore, sharing your knowledge with others can be beneficial not only to your readers or your colleagues, but to your own brand authority. If you’ve always dreamed of writing a book one day, writing increments of it in a blog can get you started on that process. By establishing some modest daily writing goals, you can generate content that is valuable to others while eventually creating enough content that you can repurpose into a book or eBook.
How: Decide on a nonfiction area you want to write about — ideally within your areas of expertise AND in an area where people need help — and write daily posts on your blog. Set a goal to write 500, 1000, or more words (whatever seems possible to you) per day or week on your topic. Provide quality information to your readers that is timely, relevant, and in-demand. Push that content out via your social media channels (see here if you need help with social media). Ask readers to share their experiences and where they need help. Once you have exhausted your blogging on a particular topic, repurpose that content into an eBook to share with a wider audience on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or other eBook sites.
(5) Interview Experts in Your Field
Why: If you are not yet an authority in your field, but are working on developing it interviewing authority figures in your niche can not only provide you a great opportunity to learn from the best, but also help you establish authority by having them on your site.
How: This is not hard. In fact, when I was doing research in my PhD program, I interviewed the financial director of an International Organization, the educational director of an international program offering education in refugee camps, a consultant for the US Agency for International Development, the chancellor of a university, a researcher who had broken new ground, and the director of a refugee agency in my state. These may not seem like authority figures in your niche, but in my research niche, these interviews were HUGE. Not only did they give me authority when I wrote about refugee issues in my research, not only did they expose me to new ways of thinking about my topic, but they also provided me a way to network with people professionally that I may not have had the opportunity to otherwise.
How did I do this? I simply asked. My requests for interviews were always done via email, in a straightforward, polite, and professional manner. My subject line was “doctoral student interview request” and my email was a brief two paragraphs explaining who I was, what I was doing, and the general focus of the requested interview. I was never turned down. In fact, I was offered research opportunities, access to potential participants for my dissertation study, and potential future consulting gigs. None of those things was ever my reason for requesting the interviews, but they have been a nice ancillary benefit.
If you would like help getting your blog started or your social media account started, I have experience with this, and would like to help.
Click here to get started.