Nearly four years ago, I created my first blog about education. I had the great intention of writing regularly and sharing about my classroom. Then, life happened – new marriage, new house, new job, graduate school, etc. It was simply one of those crazy times of life and my brain was not in the right space for writing on a regular basis. So, my blog sat out in the internet universe for several years with about ten posts, zero comments, and no direction.
It wasn’t until about a year ago that I decided to refresh my blog and make a commitment to writing. I realized that there was so much that I wanted to share and reflect upon from my classroom experiences. However, I wanted to hear from other teachers when I wrote my posts. After all, who wants to talk to an empty room? An empty room will not give you encouragement, ideas for improvement, or critique. Thankfully, I quickly realized that Twitter was an excellent way to share my blog posts and open dialogue among teachers across the world. (Don’t worry, I won’t go into depth about my love affair with Twitter again!)
As the goal-setting nerd that I am, I set a “blogging goal”:
I will blog once a week for one year.
At this point, I can happily say that I have kept to this goal an it is a goal I plan to continue into the next year. Although, sometimes I am cutting it close…As you can tell since I am writing this post at 11’clock on a Saturday night. As always, I want to be completely transparent. Blogging is not always easy. Sometimes it is hard and I don’t have the motivation to write. Writer’s block is a real thing and, as they say, the struggle is real. Even though it is difficult, I have found that there is so much benefit into blogging as an educator. In fact, it might even be essential to educators to continue to grow professionally.
Here are my four reasons why blogging is essential for educators to grow:
Four Reasons Blogging is Essential for Educator Growth
I would classify my blog posts into three categories: Classroom Resources, Educational Technology Tutorials, and Personal Reflections. In the first two categories, I tend to create resources or tutorials for teachers to use and/or learn. For these blog posts, I try to read blogs, conduct research on the topic, and then begin the writing process. As an educator, I have found that this has helped me to learn and grow. As an example, when I created our Statistical Research Project, I spent time researching statistics and how surveys are conducted. I researched lesson design by incorporating HyperDocs, SmashboardEDU, and design thinking. As I began building these resources, I found myself referring to other lessons and examples, in order to create a student-driven project.
Although I was creating something for my students, I was also creating something that I hoped would benefit other teachers once I shared it on my blog. Therefore, I spent quite a bit of time reading, researching, and learning about the product I was creating so that I could learn and share that knowledge with others. One of the greatest benefits of blogging is creating learning opportunities for yourself and other teachers.
The initial reason I began blogging was to reflect upon my teaching practices. I truly believe that this is one of the most important practices for educators. If we do not reflect on our classroom, lessons, and students, how can we ever meet the individual needs of our students? How can we grow?
When I share lessons that I have done in my classroom, I tend to follow a specific format:
- General Info: What is the lesson? How was used in the classroom?
- Strengths: What worked? How did it benefit students?
- Recommendations: What didn’t work? How can it be improved for future students?
Through this process of reflection, I have found myself revising lessons, activities, and projects. I have found myself discovering ways to improve instruction, increase collaboration, and promote student agency. It will never be perfect but it will continue to be refined and improved to support student learning.
I encourage you – be reflective and transparent, find your strengths, and areas of improvement. You’ll grow as an educator and your students will grow as learners.
Personally, I feel like the first two reasons to blog (Learn and Reflect) are those “duh” reasons. We all know it will help us grow by continuing to learn and reflect on our practices. However, I have found that this third reason is one that is often over looked but extremely important.
There are amazing educators in our world. It is a world filled with phenomenal and passionate educators who want to support student learning. Yet…How often do these educators share what they are doing in their classrooms? How often do they give resources to other teachers on a site, district, or worldwide level?
If you are reading this blog, you are one of those educators that are passionate about what they do. After all, why else would you be reading the crazy ramblings of middle school math teacher? So, if you are one of these educators, I am going to lay down some harsh truth. Some truth that I heard a year ago that cut deeply.
If you aren’t sharing what you are doing in your classroom, then you are doing a disservice to educators and students all over the world.
Ouch. Kind of hurts, right? I think it hurts because we know it’s true. We know that we have ideas to share, whether it is to offer support or receive feedback, but we are cautious about putting ourselves out there. It can be scary, maybe even terrifying. But you have to do it. You have amazing ideas rattling around in your brain, so don’t let them get stuck there. Share your thoughts, lessons, projects, tutorials, and any resources that can support teachers and students. It’s of the utmost importance to create a positive impact not only in your classroom but in the world.
If you begin to blog regularly, you will find that you begin to form connections with teachers all over the world. These teachers will offer words of encouragement, ideas for improvement, and sometimes critique. You will begin to form a Profesional Learning Network (PLN) of educators that are passionate about education and supporting students. These individuals will help you to grow – both personally and professionally.
Getting Started with Blogging
I hope that this post has inspired you to begin blogging and sharing. Like I said, it is not always easy but I truly believe that you will find it to be beneficial once you get going.
Here are a few quick tips on getting started:
- Create a Blog
- WordPress, Blogger, etc. It doesn’t need to be fancy – just write!
- Set a Goal
- What is your “blogging goal”? How often will you write?
- Write a Post
- Start writing, include pictures, and let your passion and personality shine.
- Share on Twitter/Social Media
- Share on Twitter and Social Media – you don’t want to be talking to an empty room.
As you get going with blogging, feel free to reach out for questions and tag me in your blog posts that you share on Twitter. I would love to read what you are writing and grow from you!