When I read the article (Openly Networked) and listened to the commentary by Bud Hunt in the vialogue I had to ask myself, how can I, in my current avocation as a teacher of English utilizing only the internet, connect with others in my field. I have searched the net on various occasions for a forum or a blog which is current, and only to find that my efforts have been futile. Apparently, my avocation as an online teacher is a very self-centered occupation for most, or, those that are engaged in this activity do not consider themselves as professional teachers even though many, such as I, receive compensation for our activities.
I am beginning to believe that the concept of online teaching, in my case it is English as a second language to EFL students, is still not fully developed. Most of the so-called teaching is centered around commercial websites which offer little to no individual tutoring by experienced personnel.
On the other hand, I teach only on an individual basis and structure my classes for the needs of the student. In most of the websites or forums which I do visit, there is such a paucity and lack of discussion it is not worth while to frequently check in. I would like there to be a blog where posts are not 1 or 2 years old, and where lively discussions take place and ideas can be disseminated, typical to the connections we have been reading about in ED677.
It must be nice to teach in a classroom, in a school, in a school district where one can share the trials and tribulations with your colleagues from time to time and ask questions and learn from others in person, on online forums and blogs. Nothing of this kind exists solely for an online English teacher, at least not that I am aware of. Obviously, I would be happy to connect with online EFL teachers in my city and around the world.
So, this begs the question, what am I going to do about this situation? I believe that most teaching will completely move to cyberspace in the not so distant future and that brick and mortar schools may become a thing of the past. Since online teachers are already in the digitally connected world, it is just a matter of creating a good environment for us teachers to share and communicate our ideas, and learn from each other.
My solution: I will make a small move in creating a blog to address the issues of the English teacher who teaches online to students around the world. Ideally, the blog would be a place for discussions with others in the same profession, and not a platform to recruit students or to sell lessons- those are ubiquitous. I am sure there are hundreds of us internationally, and we would all benefit. Since I have gained a bit of experience with blogging, although I am still quite new and need to learn much more, the start will be slow. I foresee a blog taking shape in the summer after my Arcadia studies have terminated, although I not sure how much time and energy I should devote to this.
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