As I’m coming up on the end of the year, I’ve had a couple of people ask if I’m going to keep blogging now that I’m almost a real teacher.
At first I thought no. There’s nothing worse than a blog which dies a slow death (I should know I’ve managed to kill 3 personal blogs) and I wondered if I would have the time and energy to put into blogging once I became a teacher. So when I started this blog I thought it would be year-long documentation project to keep personal blog buddies updated about my study exploits while still writing about cake and journeys to offbeat lands. Far better to burn out than fade away when it comes to blog death.
But then the blog took on a life of its own. It became a learning tool when I took up a suggestion to use blogging as way to engage with the graduating teacher standards. It also became a way to connect with teachers around the planet. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d end the year with a great learning community in place and a job when I started writing the blog.
The reality is that this blog wouldn’t have gotten off the ground if I was a campus-based student. The commute time alone would have sucked up extra time and energy I put into blogging plus being on campus wouldn’t have created a need for me to connect with others because I’d be hanging out with student teachers almost all the time. It was the isolation of online study which pushed me to seek out support and that support came through social media.
What has enabled me to write freely is that this blog has been largely anonymous. Over the second half of the year I started meeting members of my PLN through nethui, educamps and job hunting but that’s not the same as having people you interact with every day potentially reading your blog.
I know I find it easier to write knowing that I don’t have people talking to me about my posts in real life. That might sound a bit counter-intuitive. After all isn’t the whole point of blogging to share your thoughts with the world? To be honest much as I love blog comments, I hate people talking to me offline about my posts.
I cringe with embarrassment whenever anyone starts talking to me about the blog offline mostly because I think the quality of my writing is appallingly bad, my arguments suck and this is the worst blog in the history of the internet. A tad melodramatic to be sure, but that’s basically my thought process.
So I wonder if having colleagues being able to read what’s going on in my head might mean I’ll write less candid posts or in fact stop posting altogether such is the dysfunctional relationship I have with writing. I enjoy doing it, don’t mind anonymous people reading/commenting but want the ground to open up and swallow me whole when someone offline mentions a post. Even having the principal send me a nice comment on a post I wrote a few weeks ago had me feeling a bit uneasy.
Part of this cringe factor comes down to the little fragments of my life are often interwoven into the reflective process. There are some posts in particular that are brutally honest and really hard to write. Yet for some reason this medium is the one which I’m drawn to give voice to my perspective on the world. While I’ve had people thank me for articulating emotions that we student teachers don’t talk about, that raw honesty does leave you somewhat vulnerable emotionally.
However I’ve since found out that I will be writing weekly reflective journal as part of professional development within school. Although that journal doesn’t need to public it does mean that I’m going to have to get over this hang up I’ve got about having conversations about my writing.
And since I’m going to be writing anyway I might as well include my awesome PLN in the reflection process as I’ve done every week since I’ve started my course. So it looks like I’ll be taking on the Registered Teacher Criteria as my next blogging project.
Perhaps even working through the emotions of having people read my blog in a professional setting is a useful learning experience. So often we ask students to reveal parts of themselves through the arts whether it be art, drama, music or words. Yet if teachers aren’t regularly engaging in a creative process how we can empathize with what it feels like to have your view of the world be judged by others?
There will be some changes in the design and feel of the blog. I might make the move to self-hosting (I need a summer holiday project). But it seems that I’ll be blogging the journey from Beginning Teacher to Registered Teacher which means I’m going to need lots of help and advice.
PLN considered yourself warned!
Best of luck what ever way you go. I enjoy your blogs and are rather envious of your writing ability. I Am looking forward to starting a blog when I become a teacher as I will have solid need for critical reflection in my practice, and of course the classroom blog for the students will be the priority, along with the podcasts and story-writing. I do hope you keep blogging.
Yah I hope you enjoy the blogging journey. I do have moments when I wonder if it is worth it. Be clear of your purpose and the rest will take care of itself.
Thank goodness! After the beginning of this post and yesterday’s reply I thought that the world of blogging was going to lose one of its finest (and one of personal faves!) Cringe, cringe – I imagine you are now…!
Anyway, flattery aside, it is all about PURPOSE and if this particular blog has served its purpose then it is surely time to start a new, fresh blog next year. You will surely look back and read this from time to time and wonder how you ever thought and felt that way! We, your PLN, will look forward to sharing the next part of the journey with you!
Yeah I need to go back to why I blog. Perhaps also at this point in the year I’m just tired and need a break. But thanks for your kind words, they do mean a lot.
I’m out there teaching now and I find a blog handy just for personal reflection and of course remembering all the things I learn along the way! your blog will of course change, but it will be just as valuable to you and of course everyone who reads it :-).
Thanks for stopping by. There is the recording aspect of blogging that I like. As you can see from this post, I often link back to where I’ve come from. However knowing when to draw the line between who you are and what you are doing seems hard. Especially since who you are totally influences what you do in the classroom.
Stephanie, the start of this post scared me! Please don’t stop. You’re too valuable!
My reflective blog is a testament to my experiences and struggles as a new teacher. I started a year in –> which probably wasn’t too bad considering I was too angry and stressed to write.
I’m glad you’re going to continue. We need new teachers to blog, as it exposes the true nature of our experiences, our journeys.
Keep at it. We’ll back you every step of the way.
Dancing the line between reflective professional and personal writing seems to be my problem at the moment.
There are upsides and downsides. There was quite a while there when blogging about school was the only thing that kept me sane. I found also that it was a great tool for self-reflection and really gave me some perspective.
That having been said, I couldn’t have done that if any of my colleagues were reading it – solely because of the shockingly libellous content of what I was writing. It’s a question for you to consider – will, or how will, you write about an issue like bumping your head against a beraucracy, when in real terms that means the possibility of the beraucracy in question (ie a direct superior) reading about it?
Still keep going, I say.
I think our experiences will be a lot different in that my school leadership is really onto it in terms of supporting professional learning which is the polar opposite to your first few years. But having said that this blog can easily be read by colleagues which change the nature of the postings. Social constraints of observation and all that.
I hope you do keep going with your blog. I’ve recently started blogging to share my thoughts and experiences at The Lesson Locker and part of that experience for me is to read the thoughts of others. I’ve had a few teacher interns during my career and I always learn from them and I’ll be keen to follow your thoughts as you begin your career.
Hi Thanks for stopping by and for your words of encouragement. Having meltdowns into misery are par for the course around here from time to time..