Saturday, March 31, 2012

Should my blog make me miserable?

maybe somewhere in here lies the reason your colleagues don't blog 

Whence I come.

I am in a wonderful time of first getting connected as a teacher. I've got TweetDeck pumping, RSS subscriptions growing, and this blog too. Fascinating stuff keeps appearing on my screen. It is overwhelming, especially now at the end of a year when it is really neither feasible nor fair to begin a wholesale paradigm shift in my classes. It's encouraging too, though, to look forward to a summer planning and to next year.

Anyways, my point starts with something from TeachPaperless:
"to blog is to teach yourself what you think"
Reflecting on this, I realized that I have changed a lot as a teacher since I began this blog. It has to do with following Twitter and getting into other blogs, of course, but it also has to do with me being forced to face my own practices as I write about them. It turns out I didn't know my true feelings when I started blogging because, as you just read, I had not yet taught myself what I thought.

This blog scares and embarrasses me.

So now here is the scary part: What happens if I am not done learning what I think? Keep in mind I am planning on making huge changes this summer to my courses, all as a result of a new view of education and teaching. You can see, then, how disheartening it is to look back and see how flimsy I have been and how quickly my mind has been made to go new directions. What if, one week before the year begins, my worldview changes again and my summer of planning is destroyed? (I almost wish I had not been inspired. Now I have to improve my course materials that have, until now, been satisfactory. Could I not have done better with a summer off?)

Beyond causing me such anxiety, this blog also serves as an embarrassment. It is, after all, a permanent record. Some of the posts I have written are by now, with my new eyes, ignorant and lacking that saving revolution. A good example is my detailed post on tracking participation points, which I no longer give. Will this post as well, dear reader, cause me at some time likewise to blush?

Whither we go?

One thing is clear: Without having subjected myself to the fear and humiliation this blog provides, I would be worse off. And, even worse, I wouldn't even know it. (How easy it would be to be that teacher who just lathers, rinses, and repeats!) So is this blog only working if I am miserable, forever changing and so forever chasing the teacher I want to be?

I should end with a question that isn't rhetorical: Why should teachers go through this unsettling experience of blogging? Share, if you dare, a scary and embarrassing post you've made. Help show that the risk is worth the reward.

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