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

Want to Build Your Twitter Following? Join my Twitter Link-Up!

At the start of 2017 I created a Facebook group – ‘Big Up Your Blog.’ I’m a member of several Facebook groups, but I find that there aren’t very many opportunities for people to actually connect and share their blog and social media accounts, so I started a ‘Social Saturday’ every week where participants could share their social media links, grow their following and connect with lots of other bloggers. Continue reading

How to Simplify and Authentically Grow Your Blog Without Spending Money

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Blogging is now a viable career option and there are endless examples of bloggers who have monetised their site to the point where they can quit their 9-5 job and live the dream.

Consequently, the bloggosphere (blogisphere? blogosphere? There really should be some clarification on this) is filled with ‘Earning Reports’ (which I often ignore), along with a bajillion things that we should all be doing to optimise our traffic and increase engagement to our sites. I apparently need an email list, in which I should offer incentives. I should be part of an Instagram pod or tailwind tribe. I should be self-hosted and have a professionally designed site, I should have paid advertising across all of my social media. I should be building up my social media accounts by following and then unfollowing people.

Nonsense.

No wonder so many bloggers are feeling overwhelmed or disappointed with the fact that they haven’t been able to quit their job after blogging for two months. There’s so much conflicting information that many feel the need to do everything because they have seen that it works for someone else. Continue reading

Self-Care, Honeymoon Plans and a Blog Update!

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If I’m being honest, I struggled after Christmas for a little while – The Black Dog and anxiety reared their ugly heads without any warning and I spent a little bit of time consciously focusing on self-care and busying myself with little projects to keep my mind occupied. I’ve become a little obsessed with the Hygge movement, albeit a little later than everyone else it seems, and it really helps. Thankfully, it slowly dissipated and by the time New Year arrived I was feeling a little better. Continue reading

A Post-Christmas Catch-Up, a Facebook Launch and a Pinterest Promo Opportunity!

I always find this a strange time of year – between the two main celebrations. Christmas is over but the decorations are still up, the turkey has been eaten but the party plans are being made, the sales have hit but everyone is broke…

I’ve taken a few days to try and catch up a bit and yet seem to have made little progress. Christmas was nice – we sat around the table and ate the food that my VERY heavily pregnant sis and my brother-in-law cooked, accompanied by a crying Dougal (my other sister’s pug), who looked very fetching in his Christmas jumper. We had races with the wind-up penguins that were in our crackers, then sat and chilled out for the rest of the afternoon while the dog fell asleep on my mum’s lap.

Continue reading

Housesitting…

I’m currently sitting on a ridiculously comfy couch in front of the TV at my friend’s beautiful new house. I’ve been given the Wi-Fi password, the Sky remote, money for a takeaway and some mojito lollipops (early birthday present).

This wasn’t a planned visit – my friend and her bloke have had a trip to London booked for a while to celebrate her birthday – but two days ago a couple of scumbags decided that they had nothing better to do than break in and steal thousands of pounds worth of electronics and even worse, sentimental possessions that hold more value than anything money can buy. And, for some reason, my friend’s face cream, just to rub a little salt into the wound.

Assholes. I’m gutted for them both – they have only just moved into the property and it was obvious that they had been deliberately targeted. A month before Christmas. I’m not one to wish pain and suffering on people usually, but may the burglars crotches be infested with the fleas of a thousand camels and their arms be too short to scratch. Let’s hope that karma comes back to get them. Continue reading

The Romance of Ghostbusters and McDonalds…

imageI was in the staffroom this morning when my friend Steve walked in to say hello. It was his final day at work as he and his lovely wife, Kirsty, have decided to move down to the coast to live the surfing dream that they have sought after for a long time. I’ve got to know them over the last few years and they’re an absolutely adorable couple… and they love cats as much as I do. Continue reading

Seven Basic Ways To Increase Your Blog Traffic in Thirty Minutes

Boosting blog trafficYou’ve written a blog post that you’re proud of. You’ve read, re-read, edited, re-edited and then edited again once after you’ve inevitably discovered lots of mistakes that were missed. You’ve created a pinnable picture and included all your social media links.

Then the little-one starts to cry. Dinner needs to be made. The laundry needs to be hung out to dry. In my world, papers need to be marked.

For those of us that want our blogs to be seen, but have busy schedules, children, jobs and homes to maintain, we often find it difficult to promote ourselves to the biggest possible audience. Time is always our biggest barrier and in the blogging world it is highly unlikely that a post will receive lots of views simply by pressing the publish button. Continue reading

Suzie81 Speaks Is On Pinterest!

My Pinterest Boards

My Pinterest Boards

I’ve had a Pinterest account for about a year and I’ve done absolutely nothing with it – I’ve spent the last six months attempting to build my Twitter and Facebook accounts – but this morning I decided to start developing my boards.

It has been hugely time consuming and I have only created four so far, but I decided to use it as an opportunity to share not only my blog posts, but my photography too. In addition, I have added a board for images that I like, and another for blog posts from my favourite bloggers. I find it fascinating to see how many different topics are available, and I have been able to find some of you guys already!

Want to follow me on Pinterest? Click on the link below.

http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks

Don’t forget that you can also follow me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks

Feel free to leave your links below!

Social Media: When Teachers Become The Targets

imageIt was reported in the news today that the number of teachers facing abuse via social media has more than doubled over the last year, with staff being subjected to personal and professional insults and pictures and videos of them being uploaded without their consent. Worse still, 40% of this online abuse came from parents.

Only two days ago, a picture of a very attractive maths teacher went viral – one of his students at UCL had discovered that he also worked as a model and the student had taken a picture in the classroom and uploaded it to his social media sites. It seemed to be taken in a light-hearted manner and jokes were being made about suddenly developing an interest in algebra, but I was really annoyed on his behalf. The poor teacher may have been absolutely mortified. The question I asked that day to my Facebook friends was this:

What if he had done this to one of his students?

Teachers and staff have now become ‘fair game’ in the world of social media, particularly when using Facebook. From the outset of starting a teaching career, the rules are simple. Don’t add the students, don’t post anything embarrassing and watch what you say. Granted, over the years I have become ‘friends’ with a select group of former students who are now adults and have their own careers and families, but I am so conscious of the risk that having a Facebook page entails that I use an alias to stop my current students finding me, as many of my friends in the teaching profession now do.

I remember a conversation that I had with a former colleague a few years ago. This teacher is, to be frank, an extremely handsome man, and he had done some modelling in the past. He told me that when working at a previous school, a parent had secretly taken pictures of him on her phone because she thought he was ‘hot.’ There were a number of students who had pictures of him too, and they were shared around Facebook. Another colleague of mine is on YouTube – it is a perfectly innocent video of him conducting a choir a few years ago, but the fact is that someone has filmed him (and lots of students) without his consent and posted the video to one of the biggest social media sites in the world where anyone could write anything about him at any time.

This isn’t uncommon. It’s easy to find videos of teachers on YouTube. I’ve seen pictures and videos of former colleagues on Facebook groups, and read the disgusting abuse that has been written underneath. One set of comments about a colleague were particularly awful, to the point where I went to my line manager about it and reported it to Facebook. Funnily enough, the student who had posted those comments returned to the school a year later for work experience, and I refused to work with him.

It angers me that we are no longer seen as human beings, and the state of play is less than fair. Can you imagine what would happen if we took pictures of our students and their parents, uploaded it to our Facebook pages and made comments about them? Or secretly filmed a child in the classroom, put it on YouTube and then encouraged others to mock them?

We’d be sacked and potentially prosecuted for cyberbullying.

Of course, there are a number of questions that are being asked in response, and of course they imply that it is the teacher at fault. How has the child been able to take a picture in a lesson? What was the teacher doing? Why don’t teachers just get rid of their Facebook pages and stop complaining?

As a teacher, I have a question.

At what point did the respect for the profession become so low that children, and indeed their parents, feel that they have a right to embarrass and humiliate someone because they are a teacher.

It’s no wonder that 40% of teachers now leave within the first year.

What about you? Do you think that students and their parents should be made accountable for their actions on social media?

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