I took a break from my blog in the recent past. I told myself I didn’t have enough time. I thought I didn’t have anything to share. I pulled together every excuse in the book and took a break from writing and blogging—it was not a healthy choice. Now, I’m getting back into the swing of things and it feels great. Blogging is a choice, and to me, it is a positive one that has helped me grow professionally and personally.
Every educator can and should start a blog.
At first, I thought blogging in education was for people with grand titles, those who were authors or keynote speakers. I enjoy reading and learning from those more well-known educators, reflecting on their insights, saving inspirational words to pull up again and again when I needed it most. I subscribed to the blogs, added them to my Feedly list, reading and taking away the insight that was being shared. It is truly wonderful to gain ideas and wisdom from these influential educators.
However, I was just a consumer; consuming goodness is fine for a while, but it will never truly push you to grow. In order to grow personally and professionally, I had to create a blog myself, express my thoughts and ideas and share them with the world.
The Power of the Written Word
My blog has allowed me to share my voice, reflecting on daily happenings within my school and in my personal life. By putting my reflections and ideas in writing, I hold myself accountable and actionable for my own insights and feelings, keeping the positivity flowing. Basically, my blog is my public journal, ensuring I get better with each post. It is a way to put my ideas on “paper”, something I can continually refer back to when I need it most.
Even more than that, because my blog is public to the world, now I am sharing my thoughts with others. This is quite scary at first. Hitting that publish button for the first time spurred anxiety throughout my body. However, I found the world of educators more than supportive and encouraging, pushing me to want to write and share more. Honestly, I didn’t think I had anything worth sharing. What do I have to give the world of education that someone else hasn’t written about or shared? But, I found that my voice does matter, is important, and does offer many ideas that they can relate to or have felt before. My network of educators grew through my blog, and it has giving me even more opportunities to write for others, such as Fractus Learning, BamRadio’s EdWords, and the LeadUpNow blog. Sharing opened doors I didn’t know existed before.
Finally, modeling is also a key benefit from blogging. Not only am I modeling sharing and blogging for other educators in the world, but I am modeling this sharing for the people closest to me, my staff and my family. With each post I write, I share the stories of my school and family, relating them to the educational realm and learning. With this, I have shown how just the daily happenings can have a great impact on who we are and what we do, thus helping others to blog as well. I have encouraged my staff to blog and a few have jumped in! By modeling and taking the risk myself, others feel empowered to do the same.
What Do I Write About?
I struggled with what to write about for the longest time. What is worthy of a blog post? And the truth of it is…ANYTHING! I have written about my family numerous times, highlighting a lesson my boys have learned or a fun family adventure we went on. Through that, it spurred a connection to education and to my school.
I love writing about my school and the awesomeness that happens. I have shared the journey of our maker-space or other fun learning opportunities within our school.
Any topic is worthy of a blog post, but the most meaningful and reflective posts come from the heart, something near and dear to you.
Write about a great lesson.
Write about a lesson that didn’t go well and what you learned from it.
Write about that student who perseveres through it all (without using their full name, course)
Write about your family.
Write about your vacation.
Write about an aha! moment.
If we find it worthy of a Facebook or Twitter post, it can easily become a blog post.
Blog posts do not have to be long, just long enough to get the message across. Honestly, the shorter the post, the better. The key to writing is that it comes from you and your passion for the topic rings throughout your writing.
How Do I Get Started?
Starting a blog is very easy. Because I am a Google user, I already have a Blogger account and so that is the blog service I have used. I put together a very simple design but have added more gadgets and backgrounds as I have grown more comfortable with the platform and the writing process. Others use WordPress, which is another free service. It does not matter what service you use, your message will come across the same.
I like writing my posts in a Word or Google document to start. I can access it anywhere and can return to my writing without having to log in and track down my posts, then I simply copy and paste my final draft into Blogger, grab a couple of graphics to break up the words and publish it!
Getting It Out There!
Once you have written and published your post, the key is to share it. I know this is scary—trust me! Each time I write a post, I share the title and link on Twitter with my PLN, sending it out to the world. It is nerve-wracking! Will it resonate with anyone? Yet each time I write I receive messages of how the post helped someone, resonated with them, encouraged them. What is even better, is that through my sharing, others share their own blog posts with me and we learn from each other. We grow with each other, becoming better educators through each post we write.
It matters to every educator who wants to better themselves and their students. In an educational world where we want to break down isolated silos of learning, we need to share what we are doing, what we are thinking, and learn from each other’s wisdom. Blogging is a powerful and rewarding way to share and learn, reflect and grow. It is up to each of us to stop being consumers of information and share our own insights that have an impact on the students we serve daily.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, barron.