Blogging


If you are reading this, you likely started reading my writings because of my reflections on student teaching. Some of you may have found me because of the recognition I received from Scholastic Magazine for “Best Student Teacher Blog” back in 2009. Others seem to have been sent here by teachers in education programs, possibly as part of your coursework in such a program. (If so, I’m extremely flattered that I was recommended to you, and I apologize that I left my humble blog in such disarray in my long absence.)

When I last updated this blog, I was still in my second year of teaching. I am now about to finish my fifth – and final – year of my teaching career. This is the epitaph of my time in the profession, my moment of grief for a vocation I loved and could not stay in, what happened when I told my students that I was leaving teaching, and ultimately a defense of why I am getting out now.

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I’m a bit behind, as the consistent reader can easily tell from the absence of new material – test prep season is here in full swing, and I’m putting my efforts into bringing this year to a close. I wish I had more time to post, especially since I went to the great IATE 2010 conference in Bloomington, IL, just over a week ago, and it was amazing. I met some great people and heard some great sessions, one of which is likely to alter my entire approach to at least one class for next year.

I’ll update again soon when I have a moment to breathe, and I definitely have a lot of reflecting to do with only a month or so left of my first year. It has gone by fast, and I need the opportunity to look back and critically evaluate what I did – or didn’t do – that affected the course of this year.

[I’m also testing something with WP – don’t mind this.]

I don’t often have time to surf other edublogs (which does make me feel a little bit guilty – how can I expect other people to read my blog if I can’t do the same?), but I’ve noticed something on several blogs: some type of image that goes along with the topic of the post. (For some examples: So You Want to Teach?, I’m a Dreamer, sometimes Epic Adventures.)

So, as one both interested in learning a better way to do things and interested in appealing to my audience, I ask: Does it get boring reading my largely image-less and certainly text-heavy posts? Would images make the reading experience more enjoyable for you?

Leave some feedback as to your thoughts in comments, or if you prefer anonymity, you can use the following poll:

This week is going to be an incredibly crazy week. Starting tonight, I have events through Tuesday night which will take a significant amount of my time, and I have lounge duty this week (meaning that I’m responsible for bringing snacks for coworkers and keeping the lounge clean all week). On Thursday, my fall evaluation period begins, and so I have to work out some time to 1) have a pre-evaluation chat (I think that’s what she wants) and 2) set up an observation time (prediction: it will not be during my junior classes). And there are further school events that will complicate matters further near the end of the week, which is very inopportune given that for at least one class I am already struggling to fit everything in that I want to do before the end of the quarter (which is three weeks away). I’m trying to plan as best I can to make this week work without too many issues, but, like so many things with teaching, it’s a juggling act.

It’s possible that I may not be able to blog very much at all consequently, so don’t be surprised if I’m absent for a few days. (Not that anyone will likely be holding their breath, so to speak…) We’ll have to see how things go.

Randomly, I happened to see a link come in through my WordPress admin panel, and I followed a short trail to find out that I got some recognition for my blogging from Scholastic Instructor. Docere Est Discere was apparently selected as the “Best Student Teacher Blog” for the September issue. I am absolutely thrilled to get that kind of recognition, especially in words like this:

Why We Love It: From tips for up-and-coming student teachers to his own reflections on his process, Mr. B. reminds us how far we have come. Perfect for those days when we’re feeling just a bit jaded.

How could I not be motivated to write about my teaching experiences with that kind of praise?

Thanks, Scholastic!

Okay, the title question isn’t entirely serious.

I guess I’m realizing that most of what I’ve been writing lately is so self-oriented: stuff about my progress getting ready, questions I’ve had, my schedule (which is probably my most popular post of late, although that’s not saying much at all). Yes, this blog is mostly for me, in some ways, but part of what I like is talking about issues that other teachers (and maybe some non-educator types) can relate to.

I get the feeling that either 1) most of my readers are on vacation (literally or figuratively) or 2) I’m not saying anything that anyone feels inspired to respond to (or a combination of the two). That’s okay.

Hopefully, in two weeks’ time, I will have more important things to say: things about classroom management, student interaction, the classroom environment, working relationships with colleagues, and the nitty-gritty (so to speak) of a teacher’s life.

Stick with me, intrepid readers – I can’t guarantee the ride will be fun, but it certainly should prove to be interesting.

I have long found blogging to be an excellent exercise for the reflective individual. There is something about writing, especially self-writing, that is great for critical reflection that can be incredibly useful for self-evaluation and -improvement.

Once, long, long ago in the beginning days of this blog (okay, only over a year ago), I proposed that a program in my own university should utilize blogging as a way of promoting reflection upon teaching, something that our school of education promotes highly in its own practicum. To my knowledge, that idea was never really considered too highly, but I still stand by the importance of teachers doing real reflecting, the sort that blogging is so great for.

But the benefits really do reach beyond even what I suggested there, I think. So here is a rationale for why the reflective teacher should consider blogging:

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