When I started first started to teach some 6 years ago I also joined twitter as I read an article about the power of twitter within education. The article was centred around the CPD opportunities that twitter offers to NQTs. The very first part of this article advocated the use of twitter to follow key educators and their blogs.
This made me think – Blogging? What is it? why do educators do it?
I set up my own personal blog site. Although I enjoy blogging now, there was a period of time when my blog was unused. I felt as if my blog wasn’t or wouldn’t adding to my professional identify as a teacher. How wrong was i!!
This lead me to think: is blogging for everyone? – would teachers, busy as they are, benefit from blogging? Should every teacher engage in blogging and build her/his own teacher-centred blog?
In short – YES, in my opinion.
Here are a few reasons:
Fabulous way of sharing – Blogging is an awesome way of getting your thoughts, opinions, resources, ideas etc. out there. Blogging can open doors and can be a way of allowing others to know you without actually meeting you. Face to face interaction is still important, but blogging allows for a wider audience to see your work. Blogging also allows you to have an area of put ideas down and get constructive feedback from other professionals.
An awesome way of reflecting – Reflection is key to teaching! Reflect on your own learning and teaching by engaging in the best thinking activity – writing! Think of all the questions that you have and will never answer? Blogging allows a platform for these answers. What kind of a teacher are you? What kind of learner are you?
Also, blogging will help you clear your head and make sense of your own thinking, it will help organise and visualise your ideas. Reflection is important as a reflective teacher often delivers a more creative curriculum. Reflecting on practice and trying to improve is all part of being, and staying, a good teacher.
Publishing – Many teachers continue to research well beyond their PGCE or Bachelors degree. Just as writing was the way to process and report the findings while back in school, college and university, blogging will support the same goals. Turn your blogging into your own research degree while writing for a real audience and receiving real feedback. This might lead to something and is often a wonderful tool if you, in later years, decide to peruse a Masters degree or doctorate study. A blog can be an asset that you use to persuade potential supervisors that you have the skills to undertake a research degree.
Becoming digitally aware – Become proficient and knowledgeable with technology. Establish digital presence. Building a positive digital footprint. Blogging will make you a producer of information not just a consumer. You can create your positive digital footprint and become more proficient with technology. There is also a possibility, as in many cases, that this digital present can lead to additional work, CPD opportunities or even self-employment within consultancy. Many outstanding educators started their business with a simple blog in which they reflected and posted their thoughts. Fellow educators read these thoughts and before they know it their work is being read by thousands of people around the world and they are being asked to talk/lecturer because of their online presence.
Showcase work – Individual and students- showcase your work and projects. A blog is a very good way of exposing your work to an audience that is normally totally inaccessible. There are over 6 billion people in the world and 50+% of them have or can have access to your work. There is NO other medium that offers such coverage.
Flipped Classrooms – The idea of a flipped classroom normally relies on the fact you have somewhere that students can access to do their prior learning. A blog/website is an ideal place for such learning to be hosted. This allows work to be look at prior to the lesson and allows for learning to take place without any teacher – student interaction. a simple blog can open the door for many learners as it allows for student to access your material whilst at home, during revision sessions or simple to share and tell others what they have been learning. Blogs can also bridge a gap for some SEND learners. Some students find it hard to assimilate all the information you give them within a single lesson. A blog allows them to access this knowledge at their pace and on their time
Conclusion- In conclusion, teaching is a difficult profession at times, the marking, the observations, the learning walks, the scrutinises, the demands from SLT, the demands from government, the demands from parents, the demands form your own high standards, etc. all adds up to a stressful existence at times. But as someone who started blogging, then left and has now returned, I fully understand the benefits of it. I would strongly advocate the use of blogs as a way of reflecting, growing and developing yourself as an educator.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao-tzu
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great!” – Zig Zagler