I had a false blogging start back in the spring when I took the easy way out by posting something I already had written–the charge I gave to the “graduating” 5th grade class at my previous school. It was cute and clever, I thought, and a good post to start with since it was already written. Then I took a break. Worn out, apparently, from that taxing foray into the world of blogging, I haven’t written since–until now when I finally decided to put recent inspiration into action.
It was another blogger’s post that inspired my fingers to get moving. In his blog, The Principal of Change, George Couros writes about how nothing has made a greater impact on his career and learning than his “learning portfolio” he has created through his blog. I know that I do not completely understand what this digital portfolio “should” look like, but I think that statement I just wrote is in itself the point. I am learning. I am learning to be a leader, a blogger, and a curator of a digital portfolio.
When I think of blogging as a way to make my thinking and learning transparent, instead of as a way to teach and inspire others it makes it “safer” to me. It doesn’t have to be perfect or impress anyone. It doesn’t have to be polished. It’s my thinking–my learning–my growth. It’s for me and for others, but my blogging will be like glimpses into my sketchbook, not a visit to a gallery to see my paintings. If I can write this blog for the purpose of writing to learn instead of writing to demonstrate learning I can handle that.
So what’s the point then? What’s the value in allowing others to see my thinking? Well, first, I believe in being transparent. I want the folks that I am serving and supporting to know where I stand and where ideas that I might share are coming from. I want others to know my philosophies and what it’s important to me. In turn, I want to encourage others to share their ideas with me. I don’t want to make false assumptions about anyone and I feel very strongly about giving everyone the benefit of the doubt in terms of intentions and motivations.
Second, two of the characteristics that I value most as an educator are being reflective and open to new learning. The most effective teachers I have known are constantly reflecting on their practice and what they can do even better next time. They never stop learning and are hungry to learn. I need to model what I value. Blogging for me will be reflective writing and my blog will be where I reflect on the new learning that I am constantly engaged in.
Last, but perhaps the most important reason why I think blogging will be valuable is because it is another way to connect me to the types of experiences I want our students to be prepared for. In the early days of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA), we who were teaching then learned how important it was to be writers ourselves as we taught our students to “publish” through the writing process. We participated in professional development where we wrote pieces for different purposes and audiences. Audiences, modes of writing, and publishing have changed quite a bit since the 90’s. Whether it is through email, a newsletter, a blog, or social media, my profession requires that I can write quickly, concisely, and fluidly go through all stages of the writing process almost simultaneously. This is the type of writing that is most relevant to our students.
I hope that that this post will encourage others to reflect and be brave enough to make their thinking visible too. It’s okay to have false starts from time to time. That’s just part of it–as long as I continue to start and keep going. I hope that I will grow and improve my skills as a leader and educator, but this I know for sure–I will never stop learning.