How to follow blogs

I didn’t publish anything last week because I was busy tidying up the blog. I realised that the menu with post categories wasn’t very helpful because it just linked to pages with complete articles, so the readers had to scroll through a lot of content to reach some of the older posts. To make it easier to access everything, I have created pages listing all the posts in each category: Colombia, Teaching, Professional development, Interviews, Visa. I hope that the readers who stumble upon the TEFL in Colombia blog will now find it easier to navigate this website and read posts dealing with those topics.

Anyway, going through the articles and organising all the links made me think of different ways to follow blogs. I guess the most basic one is accessing the website by typing the URL or using a bookmark in your browser. I used to do that for a long time, but the main disadvantage of that is that you often end up opening a website that hasn’t been updated since your last visit. Some blogs may go a long time without any activity before a flurry of new posts, so it’s not always easy to keep track of what is happening on the website.

Fortunately, there are a few better ways to follow blogs. If you prefer using email, look for a box that appears either in the blog’s sidebar or at the very bottom of the page (depending on the device you are using):

How to follow blogs

This old school method does exactly what it says, and you simply receive an email every time a new blog post is published. Of course, email doesn’t seem to be popular anymore, so if you prefer something else, you can explore other options. Following your favourite bloggers on social networks is a good idea since most authors use those platforms to promote new posts. It doesn’t always work well because social media algorithms work in mysterious ways and the posts may not appear in your feed. What you can do to avoid that is enabling notifications for a specific account. This screenshot is from Twitter:

How to follow blogs

When it comes to Facebook pages, you can click on the three dots, select Follow settings, and choose the Favourites option. That should make the posts more visible in your feed.

How to follow blogs

Such tricks will help you access more content, but they have their downsides too since you will see everything the author posts. You may be interested only in the blog posts, so receiving ten notifications a day about something else isn’t ideal. Fortunately, there is a more convenient solution available thanks to the fact that most blogs, including this one, run on WordPress. You can usually see a follow button in the sidebar, or you can subscribe directly through WordPress Reader.

How to follow blogs

This option is pretty cool because you receive web notifications when new posts are published, and you can decide which articles you are going to read. I believe it’s worth having a WordPress account even if you don’t have a blog because it will allow you to follow your favourite websites and write comments.  

Another convenient way to follow blogs is using an RSS reader. People used to wax lyrical about them some time ago, but it all seemed to be a little complicated to me. The good news is that aggregators such as Feedly are very user-friendly these days. You can create a feed with websites relevant to your interests, and the best thing is that it doesn’t matter if the blog is hosted by WordPress, Blogger, or any other service.

How to follow blogs

Thank you for reading this post, and I hope that you keep visiting this website. If you wish to follow the TEFL in Colombia blog, you can use all the aforementioned options: social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), email notifications (available in the sidebar), WordPress Reader, and the RSS feed.

FUTURITY: Teachers on the move

If you are an active LinkedIn user involved in ELT, you have most likely come across Silvina Mascitti’s posts. Since the beginning of the year, this experienced English teacher has been sharing amazing lesson plans on her website EFL Creative Ideas, which I highly recommend visiting. When Silvina approached me with a few questions for an article on teachers living abroad, I was very happy to share my story. You can find her text in the following magazine:

FUTURITY: Teachers on the move

As we know, people involved in ELT love all kinds of abbreviations, so let me briefly explain what this is about. IATEFL stands for International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language, which is a prominent organisation involved in various activities, including hosting a huge international conference. SIG refers to a special interest group that focuses on a specific area. You can find a list of 16 SIGs associated with IATEFL here.

FUTURITY is an e-zine published by Global Issues SIG. Silvina Mascitti’s article titled Teachers on the move appears in the latest issue (#3) of the magazine. If you aren’t a member of IATEFL GISIG, you can get access to it for a small donation on this page.

Teachers on the move features stories of several people who decided to teach English abroad. It was really nice to read about other teachers’ experiences with adapting to working in a new country. I was also happy to see that the TEFL in Colombia blog was mentioned in the article. If you wish to find out more about topics related to living in Colombia, you can read my posts on learning Spanish, travelling, and obtaining necessary documents.

Most of my recent blog posts have been on professional development, so let me tell you a little bit about what has been going on in Colombia. You may have noticed that you can now enter the country without proof of a negative PCR test, so basically anyone can travel to Colombia without any restrictions. That sounds like positive news, but the actual situation in the country isn’t that rosy.

Colombia was supposed to co-host this year’s edition of Copa América, but CONMEBOL decided to move the tournament to Brazil, which is a clear sign that something isn’t right. COVID-19 still isn’t under control and several regions of Colombia have been heavily affected in recent weeks. There have also been strong countrywide protests taking place for more than six weeks. I understand that many people are keen on moving to Colombia to teach English, but I’d recommend postponing those plans because relocating to a new country when the local environment isn’t very stable wouldn’t be without its risks.

The good news is that more and more people in Colombia are getting vaccinated, so there is hope that things will improve in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, I am still teaching online and spending most of my time at home. It isn’t the most interesting experience ever, especially when you are an avid traveller, but I prefer not to get frustrated by stuff that is outside of my control. I decided to focus on taking courses, reading books, and trying to develop as a teacher. Even though it doesn’t make for very exciting blog content, I hope to benefit from that in the future.

I believe that it’s important to stay positive and have something to aim for, and I’d like to end this post with a quotation from Silvina’s article:

Sometimes the beginning of the journey can be tough: language barriers, employment difficulties, bureaucratic obstacles and homesickness can make migrants doubt whether they took the right decision or not. It is true that reality can hit you hard in the face, but being patient and learning from good and bad experiences will make them stronger and resilient, as long as they firmly believe in what they are doing.