How to Use Facebook Groups to Increase Your Blog Traffic

How to use Facebook groups to increase your blog traffic

Facebook groups are a brilliant source of information, community and traffic. They differ in purpose and each have different rules, but essentially they can all be used for the same things: to meet new bloggers, ask questions to the community and to promote your posts.

As with many things in the blogging world – it took me a long time to discover the power of blogging focused Facebook groups. I joined one, run by a close blog friend when it had just a few hundred members last year and a very small targeted sharing group, but didn’t actively participate in either. My Facebook traffic was low at the time – I’d had a post go viral with 100,000 views in my first year of blogging, but since that point I averaged between 5-20 views a day, depending on whether I published to my blog Facebook page. Continue reading

Exams, Sore Feet and a Radio Interview!

It’s been an unusual few weeks!

I’ve done a radio interview, which was very exciting, I’ve continued to do some supply teaching, but I took on the role of exam invigilator towards the end of last week too – it’s mock exam season to prepare students for the process of sitting their GCSE exams. When I was initially asked about my availability I jumped at the chance – standing there for a few hours in silence with no responsibility other than to fetch paper and equipment and ensure that the students remain silent (which they do – the exams officer at the school is incredible) seemed perfect. However, after two-and-a-half days I had learnt several things. Continue reading

15 Things That Don’t Require Qualifications or Talent

imageWith the impending GCSE results due out tomorrow, the topic was already trending in the early hours of this morning on Twitter with thousands of teenagers anxiously waiting to see how they had fared, many of them already dismayed at the fact that grade boundaries for certain subjects had been raised… again.

At school, I was a high achiever who enjoyed the process of learning. I worked hard with the belief that qualifications were the be all and end all to everything that would make my life successful and happy in the future, and even after doing my A levels and a degree, my GCSE exams still remain as one of the scariest and most stressful experiences I’ve ever had.

And yet, eighteen years of life after leaving school (and spending ten years working as a teacher) has made me realise that, while qualifications on paper are important, there is more to success than just being able to understand what the value of X is, or have a working knowledge of a meander, or knowing how many wives Henry VIII had.

Here are fifteen things that require no qualifications or talent: Continue reading

Things I Wish I Had Learned in School

imageA while ago, I created a list all the useless things that I learned during my school years. This prompted a number of conversations with friends about what we felt we should actually have learned all those years ago that would be relevant to our present lives. Of course, financial insights into mortgages, loans and interest rates were at the top of our lists, but after a while the inevitable silliness took over. Here are some of the best:

1. How to work my bedroom blinds. I made the wrong decision at university – instead of a music degree my time would have been better spent learning how to pull my blinds up without them being uneven or falling back down again. They’re the bane of my life.

2. How to stop spending my money on useless crap. Even now, despite attempting to be much more frugal with my earnings, I can still leave the house with £30 in my purse and return with no money, nothing to show for it and no knowledge of how I have spent it.

3. How to fix a photocopier. The photocopier at work is the most complicated piece of machinery I have ever used. It contains so many components and parts I suspect that it was secretly designed by NASA, and it clearly has a grudge against me. I could be watching it for several minutes while the person before me does 50 copies, but the minute I put my paper in it shuts down and has a tantrum. I follow the instructions carefully to locate where the paper jam is, only to discover that there is no paper anywhere to be seen. I’ve heard of dog and horse whisperers, does this mean there are photocopier whisperers? Continue reading

I Quit My Job Today: A Year On…

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It’s been a year to the day that I decided to take one of the biggest risks of my life and hand in my resignation. Those of you have followed the blog for a long time will know of the mental state I found myself in a year ago, and as I sat in the classroom this morning with a group of students that I was covering on supply, I took a moment to reflect on just how much everything has changed in the last twelve months.

The unfortunate thing is, I love teaching. I love being in the classroom with the students. I love it when a child suddenly understands something that they have been struggling with. I love the banter that is possible with some of the older students. However, it was the changes made by the government and the pressures that accompanied it that made the job unbearable, and my initial idea was to leave teaching and education behind completely. Thankfully, things have worked out in a way where I still get to be in a classroom environment, but without any of the issues that caused the stress – no marking, planning, paperwork, reports, data… On some days I arrive in a morning and am told what classes I am going to be working with, I am given the work that the students need to do, I teach, then I leave. On others, I do singing workshops, rehearse with an orchestra or assist in coursework catch-up. No two days are the same – I’ve covered almost every subject and every year group – and while there are still occasionally days where I feel stressed or anxious, the good days now massively outweigh the bad, and sometimes I actually look forward to getting up and going to work when I know I’ll be spending time with a fantastic group of students

Admittedly, a large amount of my experiences have been down to the luck of being in the right place at the right time, the lack of responsibility in that I’m not married and don’t have children (which means that financially I have fewer worries than some), and the support of the people around me, including employment opportunities that were offered by my headteacher at my former school and another headteacher and teaching assistant at a primary school that I had previously worked with.

However, some of it has been a leap of faith with very little planning, and I’m genuinely grateful that it seems to be working out. I’m in the position where I can choose the hours and days that I work, along with the responsibility of being able to budget for the months ahead just in case the work dries up for a while. Consequently, I now work to live, rather than it being the other way around, and more importantly, I’m actually living it. My relationship with The Bloke is even better, I see my family and friends more and I’ve got so many things to look forward to over the coming months – parties, blog meets, events and a holiday in Scotland.

Life is good.

While I don’t feel confident enough to categorically state that it has been a successful decision as yet, I do feel comfortable to say this:

It is never too late…

Thank you for all your support – it means the world xx

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.

I am Batman…

BatmanAfter a wonderful (and busy) half-term (more on that in a later post), I’m back at work. Even though I’ve been doing supply and freelance workshops for six months now, I’m still adjusting to the changes in my schedule and the difference in workload, but I’m predominantly loving it.

The students also find it strange at times – some I have worked with for years in the role of their music teacher and have found it quite confusing to see me in their maths, Spanish or ICT lessons, but I have been incredibly lucky in that my history with them means that they know my rules and expectations for each lesson, regardless of the subject: they sit down, get their stationary out, work in silence, and ask either myself or their peers as many questions about the work as they like if they find it challenging. Continue reading

Questions I’ve Been Asked Today

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It’s been an interesting and enjoyable day mainly for the fact that I have had some opportunity to observe students as they complete their work, which something that I rarely get to do. I’ve been covering an outstanding teacher who is away on jury duty, and the classes have been an absolute dream to work with – silently getting stuck into every task with enthusiasm, asking intelligent questions and reflecting what they have learnt at the end without any prompt. If I’m being honest, it’s one of the best working days I’ve ever had, and if every day could be like this I wouldn’t have quit in the first place!

However, the kiddies still like to keep me on my toes, particularly as I’m walking past them in the corridor, by asking me a whole host of random questions… I thought it might be a fun idea to keep a note of them.

Here’s just a sample…

What’s a cobbler?
How do you spell raisins?
Is Scotland in Jamaica?
Do you like Justin Bieber?
So, if you paid into a pension and the company went bankrupt, would you get your money back? (I was quite impressed with that one)
How much do you get paid?
Are you wearing eyeliner?
Are you going out with Mr…?
Do you like my shoes?
Have you heard of MAC?
Are you teaching us today? (I always have to bite my tongue and stop myself from answering this with ‘No, I just thought I’d come and stand outside your classroom for the fun of it…’)
Why can’t we do cooking today? (We were in a history room).
What did you get for Christmas?
Have you got a hamster?
Who’s David Bowie?
What’s an exhibition? (I’d told students I’d been to the Bowie Exhibition in 2014)
(All by one student) How many years are in a century? So, does that mean we’re in the 21st Century or the 22nd Century? How old am I going to be in the 23rd Century?(My response to the last question was simply ‘dead.’)

What about you guys? Been asked any random questions that have made you smile today?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.

Not In My Name…

After hearing the decision to launch strikes in Syria, I was horrified at the imminent death sentence that has been given to countless innocent civilians.
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I don’t use this space to promote my political views or agendas, but I’m angry that a decision was made on my behalf by a group of over 300 people, most of them belonging to a party that I didn’t vote for.

#NotInMyName

 

I Quit My Job Update: Seven Months On

I quit my teaching job update

I was scrolling down my Facebook feed this morning, and one status from a teacher friend immediately stood out:

‘Is it wrong to have the Sunday night blues at this time in a morning?’

How I remember that feeling. Twelve months ago, my state of mind was exactly the same, except, my Sunday night blues would start on Saturday morning – the respite from the almost permanent state of anxiety I experienced would be on Friday nights, when I knew I wouldn’t have to face anything for two days and was busy comforting myself with huge amounts of junk food in an effort to make myself feel temporarily better.

Just over seven months ago, I decided that I’d had enough, and I quit my teaching job without a new job to go to. This was the scariest thing I have ever done – I’ve had a job since I got my National Insurance Card at the age of 16, and I’ve never left one job without securing another first. Want to know the full story? Click here – I’ve had an amazing response to this. Continue reading

Back to a New Reality

imageI did my first day of supply teaching today. I was lying in bed at 8.45am, contemplating getting up and facing the day, when I received a phone call to request two days of cover for an absent teacher at my former school.

I was surprised, I didn’t expect this sort of work for at least a few months, but it was a brilliant opportunity to see all of my former colleagues and earn a bit of extra cash – never a bad thing in my opinion!

Admittedly, I was a little nervous on the way there. I was covering languages all day, which is far out of my comfort zone, and I hadn’t met any of the new students. There have been a few changes in the faculty as several staff left with me last year, and after ten weeks of being away from the classroom I was concerned that I would struggle.

It was initially a very surreal experience. My surroundings were so familiar, and yet it seemed totally different. It was a completely new reality.

However, it turned out to be an enjoyable day – I was greeted by some of my favourite students with ‘I thought you’d left – good to see you back!’ and one sixth former launched himself down the corridor to give me a massive hug. I also found it amusing that staff said hello as they normally would, and then did a double take when realising that I was at work. It was really good talking to everyone and listening to stories of their summer adventures, and after a while it almost felt like I had never left.

Almost.

What was particularly brilliant was that after a few months of doubt over my decision to leave the profession, there were several occasions where I had to deal with challenging behaviour, (despite knowing these particular students well), and it was a solid reminder that I was absolutely doing the right thing.

Best of all, I left at the end of the day just after the students, several hours earlier than I used to, without a single piece of work to do in the evening – no marking, no paperwork, no worries. Instead of going home with a headache and anxiety, I met my friend and went to the pub.

I could get used to this!

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks, and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks.