Thursday, May 1, 2014

Other People's Blogs (Dear Katie V2 #17)

Dear Katie,

Next time you go to the Crossings Shopping Mall in Tannersville, PA, go past the light where you make a left and you will come to a T in the road.  You will see in front of you a HUGE sign that will list the variety of stores, restaurant, and hotels along Rt 611.  In the brief time you are in front of the sign you cannot take in all the places that you can choose to go.  My assistant principal encouraged me to get involved with the educational community on Twitter.  Sometimes I feel about Twitter the same way I do that sign.  So much information how do you sift through it all.  There are sites that will curate information for you, but even that reminds me of that sign in the Poconos.

As you have seen recently, I have started to read other people's blogs that I am following on Twitter.  It doesn't matter if it is new or years old (since it was obviously important at one time for the author to post and good stuff to read is always good stuff to read).  Sitting down and looking through the teachers who blog on my Twitter account and finding a few to read every few days has been refreshingly rewarding and doesn't send my brain into overload. (I think having a goal in mind to read three blogs armed with a good cup of coffee is calming for me.)

I named my list that I offer you "Eduvox".  Vox means voice an I have always been taught that the roots of the word Education literally means "the process of being led out" and when you are educated you are being led out of ignorance.  When I read a well crafted opinion or idea on someone else's blog, I can feel their hand gently guiding me into new knowledge.  When you become a teacher, take time to talk to and read what other teacher's are doing, as I say

"All my originals ideas are borrowed ideas infused with my creativity & style."

Here is why I believe it is beneficial:

1) You can always learn something new and/or be affirmed in your own practice/philosophy by someone who shares your views.  Reading new ideas or having my own ideas reinforced always revs me up and motivates me in my teaching to attempt new things in the classroom.

I know there are teachers who have written books, and your professors or principal will suggest some to you .  What about the thousands of teachers who will never write a book?  Are their ideas not worthy of your consideration?  Nonsense.  A teacher who takes the time to reflect on their practice and/or ideas are demonstrating how seriously they take their craft.  Give me the teacher who has been in the trenches with kids for years over the one who spent a few years in them, writes a book, and joins an educational think tank.  The blogs of the former will have enriching stories and opinions that will be well worth it.

2) Writing a brief synopsis of what the blog is about and/or what I took away from it helps to reinforce what I learned from reading the blog. (And is probably the reason why my principal encourages us to conclude our lessons with that practice as well).

3) Hopefully it encourages the writers of the blogs as well.  When you become a teacher, you will quickly realize you work and create in a bubble where very few adults will venture.  You will spend most of your day talking to people vastly younger than you.

When someone writes a blog on their educational practices, they are allowing you into that bubble to explore, take notes, and to be inspired.

Thanks to all the teachers in Twitter and face-to-face that have allowed me into their bubble.

Uncle Kevin

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