I wouldn't really consider myself an avid writer, though I have a file of my writing that is getting pretty large. I don't often refer back to it but when I do I am always amazed by what I gain from it. I find that in writing I gain clarity from putting my thoughts on paper that I can’t get any other way.
For the past few months I have debated whether I should start a blog or if I should just continue to write my thoughts into a word document that will be filed away. I have historically avoided making these thoughts public. But, lately I have had a change of heart. As I have become more involved in professional development on Twitter I find that the thoughts of others and how they deal with the daily troubles of teaching are very important to me. I first began by looking for resources, then I began to appreciate the passionate conversations about teaching with people who feel the way that I do about the job. Recently I have started to read more blogs.
I often find that the things that I like the best about a blog are small throw away comments that I connect with or that provide me with insight. I have really grown as a teacher and as a person for reading and considering these essays and the people who wrote them. It was at this point that I felt (as I did with Twitter) that it was time to start giving as much as I take.
I hope that over time a blog will serve as a chance to reflect on what I am doing and what I have done. The more I record what I do, the more I find that I can avoid mistakes, make meaningful lessons and then share them with others.
I am realistic about the fact that I cannot write every day. I am a busy person, and tend to be unhappy when I am not. Yet I like what I am doing to count and I think that in this case writing can make what I am doing count for much more.
After 17 years of teaching I have decided that in the classroom, the best that I can offer to the world is to get my students ready to learn. In class I get them ready to learn by creating an environment that rewards learning but also by teaching them the skills they need to do so. When a student is overwhelmed by life, I get them ready to learn by showing compassion, listening and then making my lesson relevant to their lives today. (This is actually a policy of mine, if they ever challenge me about why a lesson matters to them today and I can’t give them a solid answer, the lesson is over and they get a free day. It forces them to look for the connection.)
I find now that if I want to be a really good teacher I have to do the same thing for myself. I have to be ready to learn. New facts, new methods, new technology, regardless of what it may be, I cannot close my mind to where the world and my students are going. I need to be ready to help them get there.