A PLN Story: From EVO to Blogging

This is my second blog post.  I’m still new to this world of blogging and reblogging but I’ve enjoyed the ride so far.  Just a few years ago (or even months!) I never would’ve guessed that I’d be posting on my own blog.  But here I am, blogging, tweeting and attending online sessions.  So how did I get here?

I’d have to say that it all started during an EVO course in 2006 (correct me if I have the year wrong, Mike).  I had never attended an online course.  The DoS at work mentioned it so I thought I’d check it out.  I’m so glad I did.  I enjoyed the course and walked away with lots of ideas for my Young Learners’ classes, but I also made a connection with a fellow attendee named Mike Griffin.  This connection would later be an invaluable part of and probably the beginning of my Personal Learning Network.

Mike and I kept in touch through email and later Facebook.  We had never met face-to-face but we discovered that we shared quite a bit of cultural background, political views, sense of humor, etc.  About a year and a half ago Mike started to suggest I use twitter.  I was reluctant at first but he’s a really good nudger and in February of 2013 I started tweeting.

Twitter opened up a whole new world to me.  It was overwhelming at first and I’m still getting the hang of it, but it helped me feel connected in a way that I didn’t think was possible.  It was through Twitter that my PLN started to take shape.  Before long I came across #eltchat, through which I started connecting with ELT teachers around the globe.  It was all so new and exciting to me.

Blogging has been on my mind for a few months now.  I began asking myself questions like: Should I blog? If so, why?  For what purpose?  And that’s when I came across the #springblogfestival.

Spring Blog Festival is three days of motivating, informative and fun sessions.  I was sick with a cold that weekend but I dragged myself out of bed so I could attend.   There were a lot of inspiring moments during those sessions but there are a few that stand out for me.

First of all, Shelly Terrell is one of the organizers behind the #springblogfestival.  Her passion for teaching and using technology is contagious.  There were also words of encouragement and advice from lots of people in the ELT world: Marisa Constantinides, Barbara Sakamoto, Luke Meddings, Jeremy Harmer, Fabiana Casella and many more.  Adam Beale suggested not to rush into blogging, do your research and take your time choosing a platform that suits you.  My head was buzzing with so much information but the best part was that cozy feeling of being connected with and supported by other professionals in my field.  I was hooked! On Sunday morning I was so excited about blogging that I wrote my first post (The Importance of Circle Time).

It took me around eight years but I made it from being an EVO attendee to an EFL blogger.  Through Twitter, #eltchat, online courses and now my blog, my PLN continues to grow and blossom. I wonder what the next eight years will hold.

Here’s a list of blogs to check out and follow:

Michael Griffin                 ELT Rants, Reviews and Reflections

Marisa Constantinides    TEFL Matters

Barbara Sakamoto          Teaching Village

Luke Meddings               onefortywords

Fabiana Casella               all4efl&elt

Adam Beale                     Five Against One

Teaching Unplugged Week

Thanks for reading and happy blogging!

About careymicaela

I've been teaching Young Learners and Very Young Learners for over ten years now. My degrees are in Psychology and Spanish. I also completed my TEFL certification in Madrid and the Ih Young Learners Course in Seville. I enjoy working with children and sharing those experiences with other teachers. In my free time (when that exists!) I like to read, listen to music, practice yoga and go on long cycling routes.
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9 Responses to A PLN Story: From EVO to Blogging

  1. Hana Tichá says:

    An amazing journey, Micaela! It seems we all experience the same twists and turns and we also meet the same influential people (nudgers) on our way. One of my first blog posts was also dedicated to the process of me becoming a blogger and I must admit that our stories do contain a lot of similarities. For example, at first I too was amazed at how crazy and attractive this virtual space could be. And I haven’t changed my mind since. The only difference is that I’m a little wiser now and I can easily navigate through the wonderful network of shared experience. Plus I know how precious all the people in the network are to me. And Twitter – once overwhelming and unintelligible, now helpful and friendly. Finally, like you, I also ask myself the same question: what does the future hold for me?


    • careymicaela says:

      Hi Hana
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my post. It’s nice to know that we have some experiences in common. I must say that I really enjoy your blog. Your posts are always so meaningful and your writing style is clear and descriptive. Writing has never been my strong point but I’m hoping to improve through blogging. I also think it’s going to help me organize my thoughts and reflect better on what I do in the classroom. Reflective Practice looks like something that would really interest me.
      Thanks for your encouragement and support. 🙂


  2. Hada Litim says:

    Hi Micaela!
    I love the way you were able to go back to the significant moments in your great journey. Like Hana, I recognise most of the landmarks you mention.

    Following you is adding another incentive to my ‘nudgers’! My husband having been one for many years. Whilst I read many blog posts with keen interest, I never feel as though my own experiences are worth sharing, so, I often end up thinking, ‘who’d read it anyway?!’

    Reading your, and other people’s blogs, helps me self-reflect too. But another exciting part of reading you all is that moment I get to share, in another country, another classroom, with other students. And the realisation that it’s amazing how similar we all are – teachers and students!

    Happy blogging. 🙂


    • careymicaela says:

      Hi Hada,
      I really enjoyed reading your comments. I especially liked the part where you wrote, ‘that moment I get to share, in another country, another classroom, with other students… it’s amazing how similar we all are…’. It’s this feeling of being connected that motivates me to read other people’s blogs and keep posting on my own. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


    • careymicaela says:

      P.S. I’m now following your ‘All Things ELT’. Are you considering starting to post there? Please keep me up-to-date. I know exactly what you mean by, ‘who’d read it anyway?’. I thought (and still think) the same thing about my blog. Clicking on ‘Publish’ after writing a post is a bit daunting and can be overwhelming but I get so much out of the self-reflection that it’s worth it! 🙂


  3. Hada Litim says:

    Micaela, thank you for nudging me. I might just click ‘publish’ next time. 😉


  4. mikecorea says:

    This is lovely. I have no idea how I didn’t manage to comment on it when it first came out.
    I think what I need to do is make as schedule or google doc or something about blog posts I really want to comment on. I somehow found this the other night based on your response to Zhenya’s most recent post. And here I am.
    And EVO is starting up again. I was pretty active last year but this year I think I will not be as active. How about you?
    It is always a pleasure to see your blog posts, by the way! Very enjoyable.
    I loved this post, because it is a nice and clear example of the power of PLNS. If I were unconvinced this is the type of post that would appeal to me.

    Thank you for sharing this.
    (and also thank you for the kind mention).

    have a great year!

    ps– I am so terrible at keeping surprises but I have a blog post cooking around in my mind that might get a kick out of.


    • careymicaela says:

      Hi Mike! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your words of encouragement. I know what you mean about finding time to comment. I barely have time to read all the blogs I want to let alone comment on them.

      I’m glad you find the posts enjoyable. Writing is a challenge for me because I find it hard to organize my thoughts and put into words what I want to say but blogging has helped me quite a bit. I’m gaining confidence as well as practice. It’s also helping me to maintain my English- I teach YLs all day and at home I speak Spanish so a good boost of expressing myself in English is exactly what I need.

      I completely forgot about registering for the EVO sessions. Thanks for the reminder! I’m going to look into it but I’m not sure I’ll have time this year. 😦

      Looking forward to the blog post you mentioned!


  5. mikecorea says:

    hahah i just liked and then unliked my comment here.
    That was weird.

    Liked by 1 person

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