In 2015 I was attending a training program called Women in Leadership. The series went over several days and before courses began one day, I was reading the agenda and noticed a session entitled, “Joys of Journaling and Benefits of Blogging.” The joys of journaling made sense, most of us have heard about the importance of journaling.
It was the blogging that caught me off guard. Blogging? I had my preconceived ideas about what blogging was, which I was sure involved being unemployed and laying on your parent’s couch typing all day. Dr. Mary Caton-Rosser’s presentation on blogging blew my mind and has changed my life. I was inspired and immediately began blogging on a number of topics, primarily on a professional level, aiming to train my employees, promote myself as a conference presenter and educator, and most importantly, to advocate for early childhood education.
My First Foray
I set up a private blog for my preschool staff. Each week they are assigned a blog post to read, comment, and respond to. We frequently utilize our blog at preschool for sharing ideas and additional training. We have one-hour staff meetings every week, but our work environment is very fast paced, and while we can complete the bulk of our agenda, there isn’t always enough time for the extra discussion or connection that I would prefer. Sometimes with the blog, we simply ask what everyone’s plans are for the upcoming holiday, or ask everyone to share a favorite childhood memory that we could adapt to our classroom. For example, someone will share that when they were a child they made gingerbread houses with their mom at Christmas, or they built forts outside with their friends in the summer. This opens a conversation that we might not have otherwise had the opportunity to have to enrich our classroom, and to increase our team’s engagement with one another.
Our team foundation is built on investment in each other and utilizing ideas from every staff member. Blogging helps us do that.
Early Education Plantation
This is the name of a public blog I administrate and is something that I use for early childhood educator professionalism advocacy. Subscribers to this blog are from a huge sampling of our South Dakota state population, as well as new teachers, experienced teachers, licensed and in-home daycare providers, parents, legislators, and many people who are just interested in the topic of early childhood education. People worldwide are now subscribing to this blog. Some do it as a case study of what is going on in the rural part of the US. I have also had child development teachers use it as a teaching tool for their classrooms for real life scenarios to share with students.
The blogging platform has become a HUGE part of what I do as an advocate. It is connecting people and allowing them to share their opinions; it is creating awareness about why early childhood educators need to be professionals; it is providing a comparison for how South Dakota measures up to other states. This blog is also used by other centers as a training and discussion tool for their staff.
From Then to Now
I have transitioned from a year and half ago, picturing a blogger as someone on a couch in their bunny slippers, to being approached by senators at conferences referencing a blog article I wrote that they found interesting.
I have had tremendous benefits from the blogging process. It has opened another form of communication between myself and my staff. It has improved my impact as an advocate for early childhood education professionals. It has also led to my ability to help others, as I have added a blogging training section to the early childhood education conferences that I speak at regionally. I now instruct the “Benefits of Blogging” course for Women in Leadership that I first attended in 2015. I reach out into the community speaking to small businesses and organizations like the American Advertising Federation to help them understand what they have to gain from the blogging process.
My work with Fractus Learning has opened a whole other avenue of communication and advocacy. In a recent post, I referenced one of my favorite authors. She read the blog and this led to communication about learning materials for my state as well as for my preschool. She also sent me a reviewer’s copy of her latest book and asked for my feedback. What an honor, and it was a direct result blogging and reaping the rewards which this brings.
As you look at the rewards of blogging, I want you to consider not only how it could help your workplace, but other arenas where you are a leader. Would your church or nonprofit organization benefit from a blog? Do you serve on a board or a committee where increased, organized discussion would be helpful?
There are days when it is a challenge to write. Sometimes I wonder if what I say makes a difference to anyone. I am always affirmed (sometimes immediately) that what I share makes an impact.
I instruct courses that really dig into blogging, addressing benefits, examining barriers, and practical strategies for the process. When Fractus Learning recommended “Rewards of Blogging” I jumped at the opportunity to write. Becoming a blogger has brought me more income, taken my name out into my community, given me a training and communication tool for my employees; I have been introduced to people all over the world and connected with an author that I admire.
Paramount, blogging has given me a platform to provide leadership, mentorship, communication, training, and advocacy for early childhood educators, as well as facilitated collaborations with our communities.
What have your blogging experiences been like? Let us know in the comments below, and share your blog with us to share awareness with fellow parents and educators.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, The New School.