I used to have this standard response when people would talk about blogging: “You know, I think I can live my life, or I can blog about it, but I’m not sure how to do both.”
That was then.
Now I realize that I don’t have to blog about my life, but I do have to blog about my work (which is, of course, a huge part of my life).
This, my friends, is post #100. Many thanks to my friend Amanda Goss who suggested this format!
10 Ways Blogging has Helped Me Grow:
- I have become more reflective on my teaching practice.
- I have become more reflective on my own writing process.
- I write more and almost every day.
- I felt pressure to live up to the values (especially empathy) I so publicly embraced.
- I taught my students about blogging and began using blogging for reader response.
- I joined Twitter, participated in Twitter chats, and developed an amazing PLN.
- I began reading several other teachers’ blogs in earnest.
- I have a greater sense of transparency in my classroom.
- I have learned all kinds of information about digital literacy.
- I used my greater confidence in my ideas to write an article for English Journal.
10 Ideal Conditions for Me to Blog:
- When I have a question.
- When I’m struggling to teach a concept.
- When I feel good about how I taught a concept.
- When I need advice.
- When I’m actually teaching. Breaks are difficult.
- When I want to document something my students did.
- When I have read a great book I want to recommend.
- When I want to remember or document books I’ve been reading.
- When I’m grappling with a difficult text.
- When I’m grappling with my current emotional or spiritual state.
10 Ways Blogging Has Changed My View of the Teaching Profession:
- Some of the same struggles in education exist in every context.
- The teachers in the blogosphere are passionate about teaching, and connecting online is a positive and filling experience.
- Best teaching practices are best adopted and promoted by teachers, not purchased by a district.
- Teachers want to talk about what they are doing and share their practice with other like-minded teachers.
- The best teachers are loyal to their students, their colleagues, and their craft.
- Teaching is an art form.
- We can grow beyond our local contexts.
- We need each other.
- Together, we have a powerful voice that we can use to change the perception of American education.
- Even in the midst of a vitriolic political discourse about education, there is much joy in real-life American classrooms, and students are doing amazing work.
10 Things I’ve Learned about Writing Blog Posts:
- It’s really tough to predict what’s going to be popular with readers.
- Keep it practical and useful.
- If you can’t be practical, try to be funny.
- If you need to write something philosophical and not funny, that’s okay too.
- Keep it short and focused. Write about the small things.
- If you can’t keep it short, that’s okay too.
- Use pictures.
- Format matters: Use white space, center your pictures, create headings, insert hyperlinks, etc.
- Keep it organized so you can find posts later: use categories and tags.
- Post something even if it’s not the best thing you’ve ever written.
10 Ways I Learn How to Blog:
- Googling “blogging tips”
- Reading other teacher blogs
- Reading non-teacher blogs
- Searching “blogging” on Pinterest
- Noticing what kinds of blog posts I actually read and which ones I just skim.
- By forcing myself to teach blogging.
- Asking questions of my readers and colleagues and taking their suggestions.
- By actually reading technical stuff, AKA help topics, about WordPress.
- By thinking of the blog as a work in progress. If I need to change something, I just do.
- Just writing something every day.
10 Things I Learned Not to Do:
- Don’t compare myself to other bloggers. We’re all in this together.
- Don’t compete. We’re all in this together.
- Don’t worry when I’m not writing about what other people are writing about, the trending topics.
- Don’t put too much pressure on myself to keep a super tight blogging schedule.
- Don’t worry about making my writing perfect (I may still be working on this one. . .).
- Don’t only write when I feel passionate about my topic.
- Don’t obsess over stats.
- Don’t act like I have all the answers.
- Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
- Don’t give up.
10 Educator Blogs I Like:
- Moving Writers
- Three Teachers Talk
- Reinventing the Librarian
- Talks with Teachers
- The Dirigible Plum
- Nerdy Book Club
- Steve Perkins’ Blog
- Wicked Decent Learning
- Form of the Good
- The Readiness Is All
10 Things I Neglected Because I Was Blogging:
- Grading Papers
- Cleaning My Desk
- Making My Bed
- Returning Phone Calls/Emails/Letters
- Washing My Hair
10 Words I Use Most While Blogging (see Wordle above):
10 Goals for the Future:
- Write guest posts for other bloggers.
- Find educators to guest post on my blog.
- Ask former students to guest post.
- Tell more people I actually work with in “real” life about my blog.
- Get more colleagues to start blogging.
- Be a better teacher of blogging for students.
- Participate in more Twitter chats.
- Write more about poetry.
- Comment more on other blogs.
- Turn more of my blog content into pieces that can be published in other formats.
Thanks to all my readers and fellow educators who have encouraged me in this endeavor! Keep writing!