Hello and welcome (back) to the YLTSIG blog! My name is Adrienn Szlapak and I am the YLTSIG’s new Publications Assistant responsible for this blog. You can find out more about me on the Committee page on our website. My new responsibilities, which are super exciting for me, involve blogging (duh!) as well as sourcing blog posts about teaching children and teenagers.

Today is a special day in the ‘blogosphere’ – it’s Blogger Day – which makes it the perfect date to share my first blog in my new role, and to tell you a little bit about why I find blogging so beneficial:

1. Blogging helps you reflect.

Reflection is the single most important skill for any teacher, and since it’s a skill, we can all learn to do it and to do it better. The initial intent behind starting my own blog was to use it as a way of reflecting on my professional journey. I was still relatively new in my job, where I was setting up an EAL department from scratch. I was working in a small school, where most of my colleagues were teachers of different subjects so I didn’t have many opportunities for reflective conversations. Blogging gave me an outlet to verbalise my thinking, which helped me make connections, refine my ideas, and see my priorities more clearly.

2. Blogging connects you to the global ELT community.

Blogging has been my professional development lifeline for the past 2 years. During the early days of the pandemic, I felt completely isolated from my professional community. Not only had I changed jobs right before the lockdown, but I also went from a staff room that was always buzzing with teachers sharing ideas to a school where each teacher kept to their respective classrooms. Starting my own blog allowed me to share ideas with my network and get feedback. It helped me keep in touch with old colleagues as well as build relationships with new people from other contexts around the world.

3. Blogging pushes you out of your comfort zone.

I have always found writing a challenge, so it took me a while to work up the courage. Every time I publish a post, I get an adrenaline rush – Is it good enough? What will people say about it? Will anyone read it? But it’s so worth it! I push myself to write about successes and challenges in my context and as a result, I get better. I learn new things, get interesting insights, and grow both as a person and as a classroom practitioner.

4. You can receive an incredible amount of valuable feedback.

I’m lucky to have a supportive professional network that is still expanding thanks to my blog. The people that engage with my posts have always been helpful, knowledgeable, and kind when offering feedback. Getting insights from different cultures and contexts has enriched my professional practice as a teacher of Young Learners. As a result, I have been able to learn and grow so much!

5. Last but not least, blogging can bring you new opportunities.

Last year, one of my posts was featured on this very same blog, which was a great honour. I also got the chance to present at an online conference. Earlier this year, I was even asked about my blog during a job interview, which was very flattering. And now, I have the chance to work together with other talented bloggers and help them share their ideas and get exposure. Who knows what’s next?!

If any of this is interesting to you, and if you feel you have something you’d like to share in the form of a blog post, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]. The YLTSIG team and I would love to hear from you: we are always looking for fresh ideas and different perspectives on working with young learners.

Until next time,

Adrienn Szlapak
Adrienn Szlapak

Adrienn has been involved in ELT for over 10 years and has held various teaching, training, and academic management roles in Europe and Asia. Most recently she has been working in an international school heading the EAL department. She holds a DELTA with a specialism in YL teaching, an MA in Cognitive Linguistics, and a PGCEi. She also runs a blog about her experience teaching EAL to Primary and Secondary students.

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