When I was teaching full-time I used to blog here. But that seems like a lifetime ago. I daren’t look. I probably hate most of the stuff I wrote. Oh and stop me if you’ve heard this one before – although this version 2.0.
Now I’m a freelance editor of educational (English language teaching) materials. Although I’ll also write, work on course development and various other things, if you ask nicely. I am most interested in thinking about course design, materials design and interaction design, particularly related to blended learning. At some point soon, it may be acceptable in the ELT mainstream to talk about things like ‘Instructional Design’ or ‘Learner / Learning Experience Design’, but at the moment, most people haven’t a clue what those things are. Perhaps I’ll never get that type of work anyway, but I’ll be trying!
At the moment, I mostly work on the development of digital products. It’s the day job. I earn money. It’s ok. A lot of this is adapting print materials for a digital platform – whether LMS, online workbook, presentation software, ebook or app.
I call myself an ‘Independent ELT publishing professional’, mainly because I saw that someone else had used this on LinkedIn and I thought it was good. It makes me feel slightly uncomfortable. Not because I stole the idea, I’m not going to beat myself up thinking about a new twist on something that’s perfectly adequate already. That reminds me of many things to do with ELT (EFL, TESOL, TEFL, *choose your favourite acronym*) and education in general, for that matter.
It makes me feel slightly uncomfortable because it reminds me of the kind of thing that I used to see and think: “what a tool!”. But the world has changed.
Sometimes I get offered interesting tasks and it’s easier to get on with, because it’s interesting. Other times I’m a glorified data-entry monkey filling in a spreadsheet. Streamlining the editorial process would save a lot of time and money and make life more difficult for freelance editors, as lots of the work would be unnecessary. One day this might happen. It’s also much cheaper to give the simple tasks to staff in countries like India, in the way that call centres went that way. Globalisation: it’s been around for a while, but ELT publishing is starting to catch up. Once AI can deal with minor editorial and writing process, or even just write whole articles, then who knows what will happen!
Here I am with some time to think and to write about stuff, so I am. You can stop reading now if you wish. I’m not making you stay.
I have reams (if that’s possible, digitally speaking) of stuff written in Evernote. I like Evernote. I wrote this on Evernote. Now it’s on WordPress (it was on Blogger. I don’t think Blogger is the cool tool any more. Was it ever?) because i decided to migrate the blog.
Often I write but I feel unable to post (publish? sounds a bit grand for a blog, but I suppose it’s the same) because I doubt something. I doubt myself. I doubt that I’m right (whatever that means), I wonder if I’ll appear stupid and I wonder if my ideas have value. Well, sod that. I feel that I have some good ideas, or opinions, and I want to share them. And let’s not hide the fact that getting yourself ‘out there’ online is about self-promotion.
“I’m sharing altruistically with my PLN” *
A bit, yes. But it makes you feel good, needed, useful, clever, whatever. There’s NO PROBLEM with this. I’ve watched people achieve success, get materials published, get jobs, teacher training or conference speaking gigs seemingly from being active online. Brilliant. Well done! I sincerely congratulate you. But let’s leave that altruism myth alone: self-promotion and networking, with a dash of public service generosity. And people are often spiteful behind your back, but you probably know that.
Anyway, back to blogging…
The internet is full, overflowing; a sewage pipe bursting at the seems with crap. UTTER CRAP. Maybe this blog will add more crap, or more, erm… detergent? What’s the opposite of crap in this metaphor? That’s the other thing, I’m not very good at metaphors. I also (as an editor, but I’m not really that type of editor) worry about making mistakes and (especially) getting my punctuation wrong. Sod that as well. To get better at writing, you need to write.
In general, I love reading, researching and learning. I’m an addict. If I could get paid for this I would love it. Or maybe I wouldn’t because it would be my day job. Who knows?
Find something you love doing and figure out how to monetise it. That’s what they say.
We’re all entrepreneurs. It’s the future.
I’m writing. I’m blogging. I’m self-promoting. Or perhaps I’m just adding more worthless crap to the interweb, but I’m here anyway.
*PLN = Personal (or Professional) Learning Network. A grand term for those people you hang out with online. Possibly only applicable if you’re an education professional over the age of 30.