New Zealand Graduating Standard 7.b
Graduating Teachers have knowledge and understanding of the ethical, professional and legal responsibilities of teachers.
A few weeks ago I wondered out loud whether Should student teachers blog. I decided that despite the risks, blogging is a great tool for student teachers. I was going to come up with a list of guidelines however a class of elementary students had already come up with a great list.
Let people know what you are doing
If you are lucky to have blogging as part of your course, then you will already have someone keeping an eye on your online presence. In my case I am the only one (that I know of) who is nerdy enough to blog. However before I got started, I let the powers-that-be at my university know that I would be blogging about my experiences and let them know my blog’s address. I have no idea if anyone from the university actually reads this blog but the point is I know that they could be. For student teachers the social constraints of observation is a good thing. As a bonus, you get more hits.
Be sensitive about subject matter
Bill Cosby was right kids say the darndest things and over the course of the day you are going to hear some stuff which would undoubtedly make for brilliant blogging material. But the children in your Teacher Experience classrooms are not your students and more importantly they are not your kids. Individually identifying them and the schools you are in would not be wise. Likewise you risk making yourself highly unpopular with your fellow student teachers if they feel that you are going to compromise their privacy with your blog.
Don’t pilfer other people’s images without their permission
Images are a great way to give your posts a pop. But as someone who has grown up around a creative industry, I know how important it is that the producers of content get recognition for their work. I’m a photography nerd so try to use my own photos before going out in search of an image. But if I am using others images, I use images that are licensed the Creative Commons. Both google and yahoo allow you to filter your image search for content that you can share with others. Miss T’s reflections has a great list of resources for finding images that you can use. Also never, ever upload photos of individual people without their permission.
Use your blog’s scheduling feature
Regularly updating your blog, is usually a no-brainer as far as blog advice goes. However I will add a caveat: resist the urge to push publish the minute you finish a post. Unless it is something time-sensitive, you don’t have to publish your work right now. In fact having a few posts up your sleeve for when you are busy means your blog will be updated even when you don’t have time blog. From a social networking point of view there is nothing worse than a person who blogs in bursts. For instance if I sign up for blog that has awesome cake recipes thinking mmmmm cake, I hope that the blog is regularly updated because I like reading recipes. But if I don’t hear anything months and suddenly the author pounds out 10 posts on cakes blocking up my feed reader this doesn’t make me want to read their blog, it makes me want to quit the subscription.
Let social networking work for you
My initial readership was largely friends from facebook however I am now a devotee of Twitter for blogging. Writing about such slavish devotion is boring. However I’ve found that twitter regularly brings in hits and the power of retweet means that awesome posts get a far wider audience than those stopping by. It’s also a great way to connect with other educators from around the country and around the world. So if you haven’t already, sign up to twitter.
Link, Link, Link
You’d never turn in an essay without references, likewise your posts should link back to original articles or other posts that inspired you to write on a subject. You’ll end up with more hits as people come in to see why you are linking to their work and maybe one day get someone linking to your stuff. Which is what blogging is all about, sharing.