My First Post

After much thought on what to write on my first post of my blog… I came out with nothing. So I decided to write about what made me take the step and start writing. For people to understand me better, maybe it would be nice to give you a little background information.

I’ve been an EFL teacher in Recife (where I was born and raised) since 1993. At first I didn’t think I wanted to be an English teacher forever. I have a BA in graphic design and teaching English, up to a couple of years after I got my degree, was something I really enjoyed but that I did on the side (on Saturdays to be specific) while I got through school and later worked at an advertising agency. But one day I had to choose between teaching and design – and I couldn’t leave teaching, because it was what I really loved doing. I taught at the university for a couple of years, the history-related subjects of design. But something was missing…it was not only teaching that I enjoyed – it was teaching ENGLISH. And then I really threw myself into it and committed to it.

I love teaching and I always put a lot of dedication and effort into it. But lately I had been feeling unmotivated. Stuck in time. Feeling as if I kept doing the same things, reading the same texts, listening to the same ideas. Any teacher needs to feel like she (or he) is constantly evolving, changing, questioning. And I missed that. It got to a point where I started questioning whether I shouldn’t think about switching careers. THAT is how desperate I was. Until… I discovered Twitter.

Now, don’t think I hadn’t heard of twitter before. I had. I even had signed in already. But I only followed a couple of friends and while it was fun, I didn’t see how it could be a source of profesional development. But during the Braz-Tesol conference in São Paulo last July I discovered a new side to Twitter. I met Jeremy Harmer who knows what Twitter can do for a teacher, and started following him. He encouraged me and told me of some educators I should follow. And as I started reading those people’s tweets I discovered more interesting people, engaging discussions about teaching and ELT. I was introduced to the wonderful world of blogs written by educators. I was given links to great articles, activities… And most of all I met so many inspiring teachers from all over the world.

Being presented to this new world turned my world around. It was a breath of fresh air, new life, new energy. I know everybody says that, but that’s because it is true, and I can think of no better way to put it. I have read more about teaching and English than I can remember ever doing. I have learned, reflected upon my practice, upon my beliefs. I’ve learned about so many great tools available to help us teach better. I’ve made new friends, who share my enthusiasm and interest in teaching. I learned what a PLN was and started building one.  And most importantly, I have shared. I believe sharing is such an innate characteristic of teachers, we just can’t control it. And the sharing among educators on Twitter and the blogs is unbelievable. Powerful. Enpowering. Now all I can think about is “How hadn’t I heard of this before?”. Was I the only one who didn’t know what a PLN was? How many teachers all over the world haven’t heard about this? And after asking myself these questions I’ve made it my mission to help spread the word and get more teachers aboard. After all, I can’t refrain from sharing, right?

So, my first blog post is actually a big THANK YOU to my PLN, my new friends. Thank you for helping me, encouraging me (thanks @cerirhiannon!), challenging me (this one is for @englishraven!), sharing with me, teaching me… or just having some much needed fun. May everyone who hasn’t discovered the world of Twitter and the blogosphere be as lucky to have such a great PLN. :-)

46 comments on “My First Post

  1. I also didn’t see the “good” side of Twitter until now. I’m hooked.

    Been searching for your blog, but I didn’t find one. So, I say, finally. Looking forward to meaningful posts and interesting tweets. :)

  2. Welcome to the blogosphere, Cecilia.

    A lovely first post :-)


    • Hi Sean,

      Since you have one of the blogs that inspire me (not to mention the greatesr activities you’re always creating and sharing!) I take your comment as a very high compliment. :-) And thank you for the welcome.

  3. gret says:

    Hi Cecilia,
    Great post! What makes twitter so powerful is the sharing and collaboration. We get to learn a lot with and from inspiring educators. It’s just amazing. I’m a different educator thanks to my PLN. I think of twitter as my staff room.
    I totally agree with you! Let’s spread the word and help other teachers jump into this!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Greta!

      Thank you so much! You were actually one of the main reasons I decided to gather much needed courage and start blogging. After reading your first post and seeing myself in your words, I decided I too wanted to be a more active part of the blogosphere. And yes, I think we have to help other teachers discover this and become better educators too. I certainly am a different, better educator because of my PLN. :-)

  4. Interesting account of a journey from Twitter, to PLN and then to the blog. It was the other way about for me. Same engagement, though.

    Suggestion: Add this post link to your Twitter profile.

    • Hi Claudia!

      I guess it doesn’t matter which way it goes, we all end up hooked on the power of all of this :-) It is truly amazing. I am happy you liked my account and thank you for the advice on likning it to my twitter. Will do it right away!

  5. DavidD says:

    Hi Cecilia,

    I found myself nodding in agreement and recognition as I read your post. I had also previously dismissed twitter as the most useless of social media tools. I had also started a blog that was going nowhere as only a few people knew it existed. Then a colleague from my MA course recommended twitter as a way to connect and find great internet sites and resources (I always used to wonder how people found them so easily) and I’ve never looked back!

    Welcome to the world of blogging!

    David D

    • Hi David!

      Isn’t it funny how we have so many people that go through the same feelings once they discoverer the great side of twitter and blogs? I too recognized myself in many posts I’ve read. Thanks for your warm welcome and comment! :-)

  6. Tim Julian says:

    Great post – you express exactly my own feelings about what a great resource Twitter is (and do so more eloquently than I could!)

    • Hi Tim!

      Thank you for the lovely – and flattering – comment :-) (blushing!). Let’s keep tweeting (and blogging now too!)! Does anyone know where I can buy a couple of extra hours a day?)

  7. Hi Cecilia,
    Welcome aboard. I’m sure you will have a fantastic journey in blogosphere, a place where people are trying to be helpful,motivating and collaborative…

  8. s h says:

    I really enjoyed your blog! Thank you.

  9. Rick says:

    Hi Cecília,

    I’d been looking forward to your first blog post for a while now, and I kind of knew it was coming! :)
    Congratulations and welcome to the blogosphere! It’s a wonderful tool for sharing and reflecting, as you’re well aware of. And I hope your co-workers also take to it! And if you need any help with your workshop, I’ve just presented a lecture on the use of technology for the professional development of the language teacher at UCB (Universidade Católica de Brasília).
    I’m really looking forward to all the things you have to contribute! :)
    And I’m really happy to have you as a member of my PLN!



    • Hi Henrick!

      Yeah, I guess people who have been at this longer already know the process and can feel what is going to happen with you once you get bitten by the whole PLN/Twitter/Blogosphere bug ;-) And I’ll take you up on the offer for help with the workshop. I have been reading and drafting a backbone to it – sure can use your help! I’ll get in touch when I get something more concrete on it, ok?
      I am really happy to have you in my PLN too. You and your blog are sure sources of knowledge and reflection! I look up to you!

  10. Hi Cecilia

    You have voiced your feelings and reasons for starting up a blog perfectly in your very first post. Many congratulations and welcome to the blogosphere. You will find a wealth of like-minded educators who will learn and share alongside you on your blogging journey. That is why this is experience is so amazing. We are all evolving together and helping each other become the best we can be.

    Good luck with spreading the word. Hope you have lots of fun and enjoyment along the way!

    Best wishes


    • Hi Janet!

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. And it was finding this wealth of educators that have pushed me to blog – as I’m sure happens to many people.

      Despite my liking to write, I’ve always felt insecure about a blog, for I usually feel I don’t have anything interesting to say. But after reading some blogs and posts and feeling strongly enough to comment on them I found out that just voicing the reflection people bring on you is interesting to these like-minded educators – because it makes them reflect too. It all comes down to the sharing, doesn’t it? I think this whole experience has taught me so much (still so much more to learn thankfully!) already. look forward to evolving alongside this wonderful PLN – and am happy to have you in it!

      Warm regards from Brazil :-)

      • Hi Cecilia

        Thank you for your lovely reply to my comment above. I too am delighted to have you in my PLN.

        Just a few years ago, I didn’t know what a PLN was. I had tried Twitter, but didn’t “get it” at first. I felt I was writing to a void, and that nobody knew I was around. I felt lost and confused. Until one day, a very kind educator sent me links to other teachers I could follow, and that was it.

        One little act of thoughtfulness paved the way for my future. I will always remember that.

        Warm wishes from Abruzzo :-)

  11. Hi Cecilia!

    What a first great post! Honestly, I had moments that I felt like you, I had another career in foreign trade business. But after living some years in the UK, I was completely committed to my profession of English teacher. In addition to this, after the last Braz-Tesol which I couldn’t attend to it, I’ve decided to be updated from twitter where I rarely signed in. Since I’ve started following some awesome educators, I’ve discovered its potentially and how teachers around the world get connected for the same purpose, I’ve just got addicted to it. It’s amazing how it helps us. I’ve met on twitter wonderful educators who are teaching me lot. This week I had my first experience of taking part in a ELTchat as well as nchat, which I’ve also met fabulous educators. Needless to say that twitter is a powerful tool to build up our PLN, learning, sharing and spreading the word.

    Luciana Podschun
    São Paulo, Brazil

    • Hi Lu!

      I know what you meant when you said you felt like me…that’s exactly how I felt when I read so many posts. I guess it’s what Janet said about finding on twitter (and the blogosphere) so many like-minded educators. We all share the same essential passion for education, so it’s really no wonder we think alike – even if we disagree on something.

      I’m happy you’re also having so much fun and working on your PD. it really is addictive, isn’t it? Wish the day had a couple of extra hours :-)))

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. It means a lot to get such wonderful feedback. It fuels us!

  12. Hi Cecilia,

    What can I say that hasn’t already been mentioned above!

    I agree with David about having dismissed Twitter as pointless, but it really is quite amazing what you can do with it as a teacher.

    Welcome to the blogosphere; I look forward to reading about your journey =)


    • Hi Mike!

      I couldn’t agree more with how amazing twitter is for educators. Sometimes I wonder if it is this fantastic and helpful to other professions as well… But I certainly can’t think of any profession that takes sharing and helping each other as much as teachers. It’s in the blood I guess :-)

      Thanks for your warm welcome. And I hope my journey does for you what yours has done for me.:-)

  13. Aniya says:

    Hi Cecilia, I’m sure this will be the first of many to come blog posts – I got the link to it via Twitter – so there you go! All the best, Aniya aka @theengteacher :)

  14. marisapavan says:

    Hello Cecilia!

    What a great first post! Thanks for sharing your feelings. I agree with you that having a PLN on Twitter has refreshed our teaching practice and helped us grow through the interaction. I cannot imagine my life away from it!
    Congratulation on your new blog! It looks great!
    Marisa (@Mtranslator)

    • Hi Marisa!

      Sharing feelings is one of the things I do best – or so I’m told ;-) and I’m happy I’ve found some fertile soil for doing that. I really believe blogging will help me interact more with my PLN and therefore grow and develop in my practice. And much like you, I can’t imagine my life away from it either. I’m still in those early stages, completely in “the buzz”. I hope it never goes away – am happy with it.

      Thanks for the welcome and for being part of my PLN!:-)

  15. Joao Alves says:

    Hi Cecilia,
    I feel the same about Twitter and the PLN it allowed me to be part of. I’ve already learned so much from all the great teachers I’m following. Twitter and my PLN represent one of my best sources for PD.

    • Hi João!

      I totally agree with you about Twitter and a PLN being the best sources of PD. I’ve recently read a post by Jason T Bedell that discussed that and how Twitter, having a PLN, blog and the whole Web 2.0 have changed the way teachers work on their PD. I believe this change is extremely positive for it empowers us.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment :-)

  16. I couldn’t agree more. Using Twitter has increased my awareness of eLT applications and uses and introduced me to other teaching professionals from varied backgrounds with great ideas and insights. It’s great to be able to connect with so many other educators from around the world. Highly recommended.

    • Hello Graham!

      That is another fantastic side of Twitter and having a PLN: being introduced to all the applications, tools and sites available. I can’t imagine any other way of spreading the word around than twitter – at least not as effective. It’s just a little hard keeping up with them and learning how to use all of them. But it sure is fun! Thanks for your comment!

  17. Oh wow, Cecilia – you did it, you’re blogging!

    (Brushes tear from corner of eye) – we’re so proud of you…

    Can’t wait to see what comes out of THIS box of chocolates!

    You’ve done such an amazing job of contributing to other people’s blogs, so really happy to see you’ve started a corner of your own.

    Shall be visiting regularly!


    – Jason

    • What can I say???? This blog is in a big part because of you. YOUR posts always make me want to comment on, give my two cents… And you’ve been one of the greatest motivators I’ve found on twitter :-) I’m happy you’re proud! Shall wait for your visits… :-) And BTW, I suspect there’ll be quite a few Brazilian flavors on the chocolates!
      Thanks. For commenting, for the support, for the challenges….you have certainly being a big part of my PD lately. :-)

  18. Not much more to add! Welcome to the blogosphere!

    It’s a great extension of Twitter and a really brilliant way to expand on those short and difficult to capture140 characters plus like Jas, have been reading your contributions on other blogs and you’ve definitely got more than a buck’s worth of things to add in conversations so am very much looking forward to sampling all the flavours :-)

    • Hi Karenne!

      Thanks for the support!!! And all the help with my technology / web 2.0 doubts, patiently answering them :-) I’ll try to keep those flavors varied, the chocolate tasty and fresh. As well as bringing a little bit of Brazilian fillings into the blogosphere! I’ve been having a blast since I started this, look forward to more interaction, sharing… and hopefully living up to people’s expectations!

  19. Ceri says:

    Hello Cecilia!
    Wow, what a great start!
    I love your blog, the title, the design, the familiar voice from so many interesting discussions, on and off Twitter. It’s going to be great fun following you here too.
    A big bem vindo to the blogosphere :))

    • Hi Ceri!!!

      I’m really happy you liked it. After all, if this is my new baby, you’re his Godmother ;-). You were the one who opened up your blog for my very first blog post ever. After that it was hard to stay away from it. Thanks for the support and so many sometimes insightful/reflective discussions and othe times just some silly old fun. And hold my seat for the Welsh classes!
      Obrigada pela acolhida.

  20. […] My First Post « Box of Chocolates RT @englishraven: Wow! Congrats @cecilialcoelho on a very tasteful start to ELT blogging! (tags: This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← links for 2010-09-24 […]

  21. Pedrina says:

    It’s a great start, Cecilia! Very thoughtful words that speak for most, if not all, of us. I’d love to follow you on twitter.

    • Thanks Pedrina! Finding so may people who share the same love for education has been the best part of my “re-discovering” twitter. It would be my pleasure to have you in my twitter PLN: @cecilialcoelho. :-)

  22. There is no “good side” to Twitter, unless you possess the attention span of a gnat.

    In an age when proper methods of communication are being devalued by netspeak, poor spelling, poor grammatics, and generally sloppy style, it’s absurd to popularize a format that limits communications to an arbitrary limit.

    Ninety per cent of the tweets I’ve read are incomprehensible gibberish. It’s a waste of time when email, or even bulletin boards or newsgroups, exist to allow internet communications.

    But sadly, too many people on the net operate as retro-adolescents too fascinated with what seems “hip” and “trendy,” instead of thinking what’s first practical or pragmatic.

    • Well, I feel very sorry you feel that way Mark. I certainly don’t have the attention span of a gnat and see a lot of great sides to twitter. Differently from you (and as I have mentioned in another reply to a comment you’ve made) I value different opinions, as long as people respect the ones who think differently – which I don’t think was your case here. As for attributing the devaluation of communication and language to twitter (or any other kinds of social networking), I recommend (if you’re not familiar with it) reading what David Crystal has to say about this – it might give you a different perspective on it. This is a link for a nice article he published in The Linguist about this topic: Txting: frNd or foe?

      And if 90% of the tweets you’ve read are incomprehensible gibberish it may be because you’re following the wrong kind of people. I get great tweets from the people I follow – some are insightful, some give me links to interesting articles or tools to help me in my practice, some are discussions relevant to my professions and some are just fun, but life needs a little of that too!

  23. Hi Cecilia and Mark,

    Twitter is what you make it! Sometimes it is banal and gibberish. Sometimes it is angry and petty. Sometimes it is really boring. But the ability to create and amusing, informative or challenging message in 140 characters is a higher order skill – only possible (pace Crystal – thanks for that reference Cecilia) if you are on top of your game linguistically.

    So I agree I have read a lot of rubbish on Twitter. But it has also entertained, informed and warmed me on many occasions!


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