Sunday, December 22, 2013

Why Blog?

I finally convinced myself that it would be worth it to start blogging.  It's not like I just learned about blogging and realized that this was for me -- I just never saw the point in posting my thoughts on random topics for the internet to (maybe) read.  The thing that finally pushed me over the edge?  Realizing that blogging meant participating in a global community of reflective people, the kind of people who care about what they do, push themselves to get better, and do their best to align what they say and what they do.  After attending the TIES conference in Minneapolis last week and meeting so many of these types of people in person, I finally connected the dots.

In the past, I almost started blogging.  Here are the motivations that got me close but never really moving:
  • Push a philosophy: I have a teaching philosophy that doesn't align with the "traditional" view of what a teacher is or what they should do.  Since I feel passionately about these beliefs, I want to share them with others.  I thought starting a blog would be a good way to pass these beliefs onto others.  The problem?  I didn't have a perfectly refined vision of what a teacher should be, so I never felt ready to publish a new post.
  • Get feedback on my ideas: This is a great benefit of being part of a community of bloggers.  However, I didn't think of being part of a community of bloggers -- I wanted feedback on my ideas.  If there isn't a community of reflective people who want to learn from and share with each other, there isn't going to be a lot of feedback or comments.
  • Blog on a topic: I have a bunch of empty blogs that I started in Blogger titled with specific themes.  What's wrong with that?  My brain doesn't think narrowed into a single topic.  My reading list is filled with a variety of topics, I'm passionate about lots of things, and I'm not an expert at anything (not yet at least!).  Like the first reason, I never felt like I had a good-enough post that I could make.
Okay, so I'm writing to become a closer part of this community of reflective people.  I believe reflection is the process of doing something, taking time to think about what I did, and evaluating my motivations and outcomes to find successes, failures, and lessons learned.  What I'm hoping blogging will do for me:
  • Since I have quite a few beliefs that I feel strongly about, reflection is also evaluating all of the things I do in the context of those beliefs to determine if I'm really accomplishing anything.  Since a blog is a public record of my philosophies at various snapshots in time, it becomes an accountability mechanism for others to help me reflect on whether the things I do mirror the things I say.
  • I hope blogging will balance how I present myself.  Thoughtout my life, I never fit well into social categories.  I'm a teacher, but I think like a designer, and I like to program (computers).  I'm obsessed with psychology, I'm obsessed with the Packers but a bad general sports fan, I'm a Christ follower, I'm a husband, and I'm a young save-the-world type that wants to make a meaningful difference without letting my ego get too involved.  Different social groups see me differently, so for the sake of my own identify, I'm excited about presenting all of me in the same place.  Perhaps this broader focus will draw away readers.  I'm not sure how this affects my goal of being part of a community (specifically of progressive educators), but I don't think I want to join a community that doesn't accept me for all that I am.
  • The act of blogging will push me to engage in the community of bloggers.  I stink at being passive -- I'm an all-in or all-out kind of guy.  By posting to my own blog, I am convinced that I will do more reading and commenting and Twitter-lurking in the community because I'll be more invested.
  • Writing my own blog can help me engage with my "normal" friends, family, and co-workers.  The people I'm most excited to see comments from are the people who actually see me do things and know me well.  Providing an online forum for critical comments from the people I trust opens up one more channel for the feedback that will make me a better person (whether I like it or not).
So here it goes -- I have a lot to say, but in the end, it will all be a waste of time if it is just a dump of thoughts.  I'm blogging so I can more fully engage in a community of reflective, awesome people!

1 comment:

  1. Good on you. May I just say, I'm not sure I fit in categories either (or if I do, it annoys me). Don't be afraid of going for a broader perspective... my own blog veered around about before settling (mostly) on writing (the initial intent) and education (now a larger proportion). But reviews of "Doctor Who" still creep in, just because. People don't have to read those if they don't want to.

    By the way, do blog if you ever figure out what a generic teacher or their philosophy might be. My thought is a number of us defy description.