After I viewed some pieces on the DVD that accompanies Penny Kittle’s Write Beside Them, I thought about my improvement as a teacher over the last few years, and I have decided that a lucky confluence of two events contributed to making me a better teacher: I began teaching at Weber four years ago, and a year later I began writing this blog.
Working at my school with an administration that has supported my efforts to grow and try new things, like blogging and wikis and other ideas, has been so freeing, and if I had not found Weber, I wonder if I would be blogging now or trying some of the other things I’ve tried. In fact, I wonder if I would be teaching.
Here I am, in the middle of July, and I’m blogging about education and reading education books and blogs. Why? I can take a vacation, right? The thing is, I really want to be back in school and try it all over again. I am lucky in that my school doesn’t mind that I blog. This is huge in an era when blogs are routinely blocked at schools, never mind encouraged. I have always been able to blog about my journey as an educator, here, under my real name, and not worry about it.
And the blogging is what really made me a better educator. I really began thinking and reflecting about my practice in a way I hadn’t done before. I read professional literature and wrote about it here. I jumped in and took risks with projects, and even if they failed, I felt better for having tried. I shared. I asked questions. I helped. I got feedback. The audience I have here has truly been helpful to me as I struggled to figure out who I was as an educator and what I wanted to do.
I am excited about the next school year already. Each year is better than the last. I am learning and growing all the time. Blogging has energized me and made me excited about my career. I have struggled with my career in the past and even quit teaching for a time. Now I just can’t imagine doing anything else, and this reflection, this space to think and discuss ideas, has given that to me.