As the fall semester and 2016 come to a close, I asked my students to reflect on how they are doing with blogging. Many said they weren't sure at first, but they have grown to really like it. Others thought it was a great idea from the start and hope to do it long after the school year ends (What a great affirmation for any teacher!). A few are still finding it difficult. I asked them to share how they had grown or something they do well (a glow) and something they need to work on (a grow). Many could do only one of the two. The students who enjoy the process found the glows pretty quickly. Those who don't like to do it focused on the grows. Their reflections gave me insight into more than just their writing process. It gave me a better understanding of each of them. One student even commented on how they have to read and comment on each others' blogs and that allows them to know their classmates more. Awwww.
As I read through their blogs, I started to think of my own process. I have been blogging for 9 months now. While each post is a reflection in itself, I have never put a lot of extra thought into the process itself. I had multiple reasons why I started this (see the first blog in March 2016). One of them was to force myself to put into writing what I do in the classroom for myself and others. I was never one to reflect for long on what I was doing with the students. I knew what worked, what needed tweaking and what to never try again, but that was about as far as it went. I shared with those who I work with and a few friends, but no one else. Why would they care?
Through this process, I have been forced to really think through what I do. Some posts are because I need to keep the ritual going so I don't find an excuse to stop. Others are posts I am truely passionate about and have to stop myself before I write so much I bore the reader. As many of my students expressed in their latest posts, it was definitely easier to write the ones I was excited about. However, it is also the ones that aren't as great (at least in my opinion) that may have given me the best insight. If I can't get behind something I am doing in the classroom or writing about, how can I expect others to? How can I make sure more of what I do is something I can get passionate about? This would be my grow.
I have learned that there is an audience out there for anyone who wants to share their thoughts. I admit I geek out a little when I see my stats increase (especially for new views, and I do check more than I care to admit.) I'm a teacher in a small school in a smallish town. What do I have to offer? Apparently more than I thought based on the number of people who are reading it. While having an audience is not the sole reason one should blog, it helps to know others value what you say. So that would definitely be a glow for me.
As we get ready to finish off the fall semester (we have 3 more days until break), I think about all that I have written in my posts and done in my classroom. For the most part, the students and I are happy with how things are. Most of them enjoy blogging and are greatly improving in their writing skills. Those who don't like it are improving as well, just not quite as quickly (effort goes a long way to improving anything you do, as any teacher can tell you!) Since I started on my own journey, I have grown in a lot of ways. Sharing with others has affected much more than I ever thought possible. It has been a wonderful journey that I hope to take for a long time. Thanks to everyone for taking it with me.
Have a wonderful holiday season!
20+ year teacher, mother of 2 kids and 2 dogs, wife, lover of all things M&M, interested in tech in the classroom, and changing up my teaching