If you have a professional Blog then I hope that you have had the same experience as me. If you do not then I think you should give it a go even if you are going to keep it to yourself like a diary or journal. Just by writing down your thoughts you will look at you actions in a different way and reflect on them and I believe that the act of reflection is one of the keys to being a learner.
Only 4 months ago I published my first post on this blog with the only person I was intending to read it being me or my principal when it came time for my appraisal. I did not really have a goal or vision, but just wanted a place to record the successes and fails and moments of clarity. After a few posts I realised that it was missing the connection of others so shared with a few members of staff and then Tweeted it to my PLN.
Once that first share through twitter was out in cyber space the blog became a true reflective tool. I had those people who I think of as friends and respect as educators commenting and reacting to my posts in a positive way or in a feed forward way that gave me links to further learning or ideas from others – success as there was an audience. Then came the next point that I had not thought through – if make a post public it can bounce around the world many times and the people that you get feedback from you have never met before and often are not educators, who was my initial target audience. Posts have been pinned and re-pinned or pinged back or tweeted or posted on FaceBook and scooped then re-scooped; a whole new language of online literacy.
I reflected on a Fighting Fantasy book that I read to my class. A few teachers commented, but scores of gamers sent me messages commenting on the concept. Their comments ranged from how their teacher read a similar book to them and it was a highlight of their education or a teacher hassled them about gaming (Dungeons & Dragons etc…) and it was the beginning of the end to their respect of teachers and education. Then I received a comment from the man who authored the book and WOW, what a Fan Boy moment that was. I wrote a post on my classroom design. I was sent links to others who were on the same wavelength and had Swedish designers ask me questions about why and how I had done certain things and what the effect on the students was from the choices that I had made.
But, taking aside the fact that people actually read my reflections I asked myself why I actually do this and discovered that it is therapeutic. By recording down 2-3 posts a week I am looking at my teaching practice in greater detail and am a better teacher for it. Each post takes me 10-30 minutes to write, but that 30 minutes is time I am thinking only about my teaching and classroom practice.
My blog is..
- …makes me ask the hard questions.
- …it lets me celebrate the successes.
- …models the writing process and although my students do not read my blog they know that I write it. Like them I am a writer.
- …a record of my learning journey.
- …a portal for feedback