Throughout my career, teaching kids and adults in diverse districts and courses, I have lived in between higher ed and K-12. In higher ed there is a mantra to publish or perish, and throughout grad school, I had adopted this philosophy. I thought I had to publish in traditional journals to accomplish anything. Following in the foot steps of many, I had been planning on writing manuscripts and trying to perfect my ideas so I could share them some day, somewhere. I had one article from my dissertation that was accepted in a journal and was finally published 6 months ago. Aside from the time it took to write, it took 3 years after it was accepted to get it published and when it was finally published, I couldn’t even access it because I was no longer a subscriber to the journal.
This was a less than motivating experience and hadn’t inspired me to want to publish more, let alone write at all. I had many half baked ideas that just sat on my computer or on multiple sticky notes. Despite good intentions to write something, I never got around to it. With closed access and limited interactions with practitioners, it made me wonder–is this the best way to impact teaching and learning in schools? I hadn’t realized that by keeping my thinking, learning, and challenges private, I was stunting my own growth and impact on schools I was serving. When I began to see that I was a perpetuating the same learning practices I was working to change in schools, I knew I needed to model and share my own learning process. I am forever grateful to George Couros for helping me see this and pushing me to share what I was learning. Thanks to his less than gentle nudge, a year ago I wrote my first blog post.
A year later, I have written fairly consistently and published 45 blog posts. More importantly, as I have been reflecting, writing, and sharing openly I have grown and learned more than I could have ever imagined.
Here are some of my highlights from a year of blogging:
- I have gained clarity in my own thinking and ideas.
- Sharing my ideas with an authentic audience has made me want to write and read more.
- It is empowering to create content that makes an impact on others and adds value to the field of education.
- Not everyone loves everything I write and that’s okay.
- I have gained confidence in my ideas and myself.
- Now that I have experienced the power of blogging, I encourage everyone else to blog too.
- I have become connected with amazing people with similar ideas and passions via social media.
- I feel sense of accomplishment when I finalize and share a post.
- I am inspired to keep learning and seek the answers to new questions that continue to surface.
- I have created an open digital portfolio that showcases and catalogs my learning and ideas and I reference it often.
In this image that depicts the Networked Teacher by Alec Couros, the arrows go both ways, and I believe that is the where the power is in the learning process. Although I had been “connected” in many different ways with other educators, I was mostly taking in information and ideas and taking it back to integrate into my own context. I have always liked to integrate lots of different ideas and try new and better ways to improve teaching and learning. By making it public, I have begun to contribute to the broader community and it has taken my learning to a much different level. In essence, by creating my blog I moved my learning process from a private endeavor to an open, visible process to learn with many on the journey.
It’s been an incredible year with lots of growth and opportunity. I look forward to continuing to grow and learn with you all!