Blogging is so…
Therapeutic! I blog because I’ve got a lot to say. I can write for hours on end and no one butts in, begs to differ, or tunes me out…on paper. The crazy thing is, blogging has unlocked a talent that I didn’t even realize I had until recently. I was going through some old school certificates, which were mainly athletic. I came across the most rewarding one in the bunch! It read, “This certifies that Joan Sharpe made a perfect score on the North Carolina Eighth Grade Writing Test…”
Wait… You mean to tell me that I’ve searched the world over to find my calling, find my ideal career, find myself, and find my purpose in life, and the answer was filed away in a drawer all this time??? This explains why I could often times spit out a 10 page paper in college the night before it was due and make an A (but more on that later)!
Why should all educators blog? I’ve got a few reasons that apply to all, regardless of your writing skills, or your level of desire.
1. It’s Good Reflective Practice
One of the major parts of the basic lesson plan is reflective practice (RP). This is where teachers reflect on the effectiveness of, and the areas of improvement needed after a lesson has been delivered. RP is an essential part of the planning process because if we learn to critique our own lessons and make changes for the better, then we improve as we facilitate instruction. We can also research trends and discover ways to stay current in the profession. For example, because I blogged about social media in the classroom, it actually opened my scope further about ways to use various platforms in my lessons. It also led me to find Today’s Meet, for the tweeting impaired. Administrators may also reflect on their philosophies of education, trends they see in their buildings, and initiatives under which their school may operate. Blogging is a great way to build your digital portfolio.
2. Everybody’s Doing it!
Well, not really. Actually, I think that I may probably be the only educator in my district who blogs. Seriously. A major concept that’s trending in education currently though, is the Personal Learning Network, or PLN. A PLN helps you build a network of resourceful people through social media from whom you can gain insight, lesson planning tips, and all things A-Z! Imagine if you only associated with teachers in your school building for stimulating conversation about your subject area. After one or two PLC meetings, you’ll all be about tapped out for information. If you were to start a blog, follow other people’s blogs, share your content via social media, and engage your followers, your resources will grow rapidly. From there, you’ll be able to bring something new to the table in your classroom, building or school system.
3. We Have To Lead By Example
Currently, we’re charged to prepare our students for real-world career and college readiness, and literacy is a huge area of concern in America. It seems that the multiple choice, standardized testing phase has hit a snag. Now, North Carolina final exams (formerly called MSLs, and excluding the EOG/EOC exams) have a section for constructed response questions. Teachers are being asked to incorporate writing in class on a regular basis. There are tons of protocols for writing assignments across the curriculum. It’s no longer just for English Language Arts! What better way to model good writing for students than to be writers, ourselves? If you in turn, teach your students how to blog, then you can stop taking piles of papers home to grade. Sure, there are other ways to collect digital writing assignments like google docs, email, Edmodo, and such, but this post is specifically about blogging…The same goes for school and district administrators. You do indeed have a voice, but you can’t say it all over the intercom.
4. It Sharpens Your Saw
If you don’t feel confident in your writing, there’s only one remedy: practice. The more you write, the more you cultivate your own writing style. You begin to discover your voice, and more ways to express your thoughts clearly. Of course, the other way to be a better writer is to READ. Learning is a life-long process. There’s lots of information out there just waiting to jump right into our brains! Isn’t that great? A friend recently said to me, “Joan, you’re such a nerd.” What a compliment! Personally, while others are watching a certain hit television drama on Thursday nights on ABC, I’m likely to be skimming blog sites on my laptop or iPad looking for something new to learn. It’s somewhat of a compulsion, really. I have a Kindle Fire on standby in case my iPad needs a charge, and my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is always by my side for times when there’s no wi-fi or if I’m at an appointment, a passenger in a vehicle, or well…basically ALL THE TIME. Dont judge me.
5. It Really Is Therapeutic
The key to blogging is to find your niche, and write about one particular topic, product, service or concept. From there, you should market your blog, selling your niche, and even making money! I have to tell you, what things I feel inspired to blog about literally depends on in which direction the wind blows on a given day. Yes, that breaks the blogging rules as stated by most of the experts, however at this time, Social Juggernaut is my personal and professional playground. Although I will be working to find a focus soon, right now what comes up, must come out. That’s what therapy is all about. Talking it out. Working through your thoughts and feelings. On paper. Whatever you’d like to write about, do it, and do it often. Don’t get caught up into feeling like you must sound like an educational guru either. Whether you like cooking, gaming, or building model cars in your spare time, write about it! Read what others have written about it, and share it with people in your network.
So, if you’re ready to jump right in, WordPress and Blogger are great blog hosting sites. If you want to write but don’t want to necessarily share it with the world, I suggest trying Evernote. One more thing… do you remember the tip about following other people’s blogs? Follow mine over in the right panel. It’s just the “write” thing to do! Good luck, and happy writing!