The personal learning network for educators
So, today I begin my blogging life. To be clear, I'm not new to blogging. I've been reading blogs for years, searching them for answers or info- Even, assigning them to students about literature. I have loved, laughed and learned from all of these over the years but I continued to resist creating my very own blog about my experiences and reflections as a middle school language arts teacher.
I've resisted for so many years for a few reasons. First- I told myself I wasn't cool enough for anyone to read. Well, I'm still not cool enough :) but my understanding of the purpose of a blog has evolved. It isn't necessarily about being "cool enough" to read but about reflecting and sharing my thoughts about issues that continue to force me to grow as an educator. Second- I didn't have anything "worthwhile" to blog about. This reason still worries me a bit. But, I believe that just blogging about my experiences will continue to help me reflect and refine what I do in my classroom. I'm also hoping that by blogging I will be completely honest with myself about the positives and negatives in my daily classroom practice. I want this activity to challenge me to not stop growing. Finally- I didn't think I had enough time. But really, who has enough time? Even my semi-retired parents complain that the day goes too quick. I also know that we make time for that which we feel is important. I'm hoping that this self-reflection will become important even integral to my ability to do my job.
On a funny note, I had a class blog about two years ago and it was hugely successful. I used to do a class study of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. This may come as a bit of a shocker to some but 14 year old adolescents don't seem to love Dickens. I know- shocking! However, it was an expectation that kids would read the book and I actually love the book so I work very hard to get kids into the story. It is a timeless story of a boy challenging his social status and falling in love with the wrong girl. I always stress to the kids that I consider this book an important read because it shows how "control" can affect so many aspects of life. We also try to make the book applicable to the current time by talking about what controls people today. Anyway, since I had two classes reading the book I created a class blog which I began and then required kids to post to at least 5 times during the course of the book. At first, it was a struggle. I was always hounding kids, reminding, prodding, etc... Then, we had a few days off for snow. (Yeah, snow days!) All of a sudden, the blog became a hit. Kids were posting. Talking to each other, arguing, explaining each others misconceptions- It was amazing. That summer (3 months later) kids were still blogging to me and each other. I knew that I had something there but I ignored it. I even -gasp- dismissed that maybe it was just a fluke. Just this year some of the students, who are now high school sophomores, came to visit me. Each one of them mentioned the blog and how it was so much fun. At the time I had also been struggling with some pedagogical issues about my gifted students not growing according to my state tests. I also desperately missed my weekly time to meet with my literacy coach and my gifted and talented intervention specialist to reflect and debrief. Call it coincidence or divine intervention but I read a tweet about the power of blogging that same day. It was then that I had my teachable moment. It was my turn to bring back the blog both for my student and for me.
So, wish me luck. I begin with this first post as my "coming out" to the blogging world. My students will start blogging soon for class after I create a class blog. I also hope to blog at least 1x a week to work on reflecting and tackling some of the issues that I struggle with in my room. So, thanks for reading and wish me luck.