Thursday, May 7, 2015

Reflections from the Anti-Blogger

By: Rachel Barry

At the beginning of second semester, our Instructional Technology Team decided to post daily blogs.  This meant that each of the four of us would write a post one day of the week, and we would collaborate or bring in a guest blogger for the fifth day.  I will readily admit that I was not nearly as excited as the rest of the team with this decision.  What will I write about?  When will I find the time?  Who wants to read what I have to say?  Needless to say, I tip-toed into this new world of blogging with a sense of apprehension.

I decided to first post about what I know, which I now see as "matter of fact" posts.  This is how I introduce content to my students, this is how I assess my students, this is how I use data to drive instruction, etc.  In these posts, I walked teachers through the reasoning behind using a specific technology resource over another, and sometimes provided "how-to" directions to help a teacher just starting with the process.  Eventually I moved into more philosophical education topics, such as the role a teacher plays in the classroom or the meaning of a letter grade.  With the elimination of my self-doubt, I soon found was that I was actually enjoying this process!

Blogging has forced me to reflect on my teaching.  We educators don't always take the time to reflect on our practices because we are caught up in the assessment that needs to be edited, the quizzes that need to be graded, and the parent needs to be contacted.  At first, it felt like another thing to add to my list of things to do, however, now I find myself reflecting over my teaching at odd times.  I use these thoughts, as well as my conversations with coworkers, in brainstorming future blog posts.

I used to believe that I spent a lot of time reflecting on my teaching.  I am an avid runner and spend a lot of time commuting, so I felt that I was taking the appropriate amount of time between these two activities contemplating how my lessons went that day.  I have found, though, that physically writing down my thought processes has had a significant impact on the way I think about my lessons and the modes of implementing curriculum.   I articulate things differently when I am explaining to an audience.  I think about my practices from multiple angles -- I play devil's advocate with myself.  Why did I implement that topic that way?  Was it the best use of time?  Did students learn the content accurately and fully?  Does the app I chose best support my learning goal?  Ultimately, blogging makes me think about why we educators do what we do, and more specifically why I do what I do.

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