Saturday, June 4, 2011

10 good reasons why teachers should blog

I'm Jenny.  I'm a teacher.  I blog.

I started blogging because I was frustrated by talk of introducing more formalised learning programs into preschool.  Everything tells us that children learn through play, I thought, so why was no one listening?

Blogging about my experiences at a preschool was something that I could do to get an audience for this message - even if it initially only consisted of one! 



There are loads of other great reasons for teachers to be blogging.  Here are just a few:

1.  Blogging is educational.

We are teachers, but we are also learners..  After all, how can we teach kids to love learning when we don't love learning ourselves? 

Unfortunately the expense of workshops and day courses mean that they aren't a regular thing for most teachers.  And if you are a part time or casual teacher, or a child care worker you might as well forget it.

I was starving for insights into what was happening in other preschools, and in the wider worlds of early childhood and progressive education. 

Through my blog - and social media - I now have access to learning on tap.  The world is my classroom and within seconds I can access a links, ideas, opinions, and resources from people in the know.   

2.  Blogging builds community.

This is the big one.  Teachers can be quite isolated - we don't get out much which makes exchanging ideas, information, experiences and support quite a challenge. 

Through blogging - and tweeting and facebooking - I have found my own hand-picked world of people generously willing and able to share their insights and knowledge, their experiences and their humour.   Happy days indeed.

3.  Blogging helps us to reflect. 

Blogging can be a wonderful tool for teachers to reflect on their practices and grow professionally and personally.

The act of writing alone can be a powerful way to reflect on experiences, ideas or practices.   Reading other blogs challenges me to think of things in different ways, or to question my own practices or beliefs. 

4.  Blogging widens your horizons.

Like I said, teachers don't get out much. 

Now in addition to the amazing bunch of colleagues that I see when I'm at work, I feel like I have colleagues from all around the globe.

I have colleagues I can count on and call on in America, Canada, Scotland, England, South America and even Nigeria.  Closer to home I have blogger colleagues in Melbourne, Queensland, Perth and the ACT, some of whom I have been lucky enough to meet in person. 

5.  Blogging shifts your perspective.
 
I learn from my colleagues every day I work with them.  
 
However, if our colleagues are the only teachers we speak to it can be tricky to avoid becoming stuck in certain ways of thinking, acting and working.   

Through blogging I have daily contact with other teachers worldwide.  I'm exposed to different points of view and ways of working.  This will hopefully save me from the dreaded "because that's the way we have always done it" mentality. 

6.  Blogging motivates and inspires.

Connecting with other bloggers is a way of being around motivated and passionate teachers all the time, and this kind of positive energy is infectious. 

7.  Blogging is a way to share your expertise.

When I first started blogging I felt like a bit of a fraud.  Who did I think I was, an ordinary part time teacher  writing as if I knew what I was talking about?

Now I know that it doesn't matter if you are a student teacher or a professor - we can always learn from each other and contribute to the global conversation on education.

8  Blogging is a way to find support.

Whether it is due to administration, parental pressure, government reforms, standardized tests, parental pressure or the lack of a professional network, many teachers feel unsupported.   

Through blogging I've developed my own support network of like minded people.  I know that when I have a problem that needs sorting or a question that needs answering, someone, somewhere can help me out.

Sometimes I almost think that if I'm quiet enough, I can hear Sherry and Donna from Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning cheering me on all the way from Melbourne.  And that is a nice feeling.

9.  Blogging spreads the word.

Blogging won't change the education system, but it is a way to spread the word and make it contagious. 

As my friend Teacher Tom is fond of saying "Together we are stronger."

10.  Blogging is fun.

I blog because I enjoy it, pure and simple.  I enjoy the challenge of thinking of things to write and how to write them; I enjoy 'meeting' other teachers; I enjoy peeking into other people's classrooms; I enjoy learning something new each day. 

It is also a good excuse to spend time playing on the computer.

What about you?  Why do you blog?
What do you think of teachers having blogs?

35 comments:

  1. A very powerful and persuasive post. I echo much of what you say. For me blogging is a way of scratching the writing itch productively.

    It's also a reference tool for myself. I can't keep everything I want to remember in my head so a blog stores bits and pieces for me.

    I also believe in the generosity of sharing. We have infinite ideas and possibilities. Getting the good ideas flowing is fun.

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  2. hear hear, I now feel as if I have a wealth of like-minded professionals to tap into at any point. I have got more ideas from fellow bloggers since January than I ever did at any course!

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  3. Well said! Blogging along with Twitter has allowed me to connect with more people, more ideas, learn about research, find great ideas...has added much to my work & my life.

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  4. These are exactly the reasons why I started my preschool blog. I used to have a personal blog, but I found once I started teaching all I wanted to write about was my experiences! I have learned so very much this past year just perusing other teaching blogs, much more than I could learn elsewhere. I am fortunate that the organization that oversees my preschool will pay for me to go to conferences, but it's pretty tough to go to them when they are during the school year!

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  5. I think I'm a natural born idea swapper. When my kids try something they love I want to tell everyone so their kids can give it a try too! And being part of this wonderful early years on-line community brings me even more ideas from around the world. The blogging community inspires me in so many ways and makes me(try to be) better at my job.

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  6. Blogging is therapy ! LOVE IT !

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  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You always have a way of nailing the thoughts of so many of us - and 10 Reasons to Blog is right on point. On a rain-storming morning in California, from the comfort of my couch, I can be inspired yet again to read and learn and share because of blogging leaders like YOU who keep the blogging world of early education rolling! Well done. :)

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  8. This is a great post. I think I can repeat each of your points for myself as well. When I started blogging, I was just thinking about sharing my thoughts and experiences. I didn't expect to develop such a community, a friendship with other teachers from around the world. And, sometimes, I think I learn and take so much and give so little. But I'm thankful to be plugged in with other bloggers like you.

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  9. Hi Jenny,
    My sentiments exactly.
    The #1 reason I Blog is to SHARE.
    I truly enjoy helping others, and believe if God gives you a gift He expects you to share that talent.
    It's sad that within many school's that I visit teachers tell me that fellow teachers won't share resources and ideas with each other-we need to network more.
    http://teachwithme.com/getting-to-the-core

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  10. So well put! #11 for me - Blogging helps me to remember. So many times this year I said "How did I do that?" and I searched my own blog to find out! I also used the blog to actually teach lessons - the pics from the previous year's kids helped to inspire this year's bunch. Having a set curriculum, I often repeat concepts, but blogging helps me to remember, teach, reflect, and do better. So glad to be part of your blogging community!

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  11. Great post, and spot on.

    If I had to add anything, it would be to say that when I feel conflicted about an issue, I find that writing a blog post about it helps me get my own thoughts clear. If I'm angry about something, it helps me straighten my feelings out and work out what's real and what's just emotional fluff.

    Most importantly of all, it helps me keep a child-centred perspective; blogging is the voice of my conscience, and I won't let myself get away with being self-indulgent.

    I'm already following some of the people who've responded here, but I'd love to follow all of you. Can you leave your blog addresses in the comments? I'm going to bookmark this page... my blog is at
    http://auntannieschildcare.blogspot.com/

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  12. I love blogging and I have many!
    One is my therapy (about living after I lost my son).
    Another is my 'scrapbook' documenting my everyday adventures with my family which is then turned into a hard-cover book at the end of each year.
    I have blogs for my school aged kids of their writing and projects (they love reading comments from family and friends.
    And I am a teacher and started two blogs for my classroom this year. The parents love that it gives them a window into our learning and what we do each day and the kids love seeing pictures of themselves and videos. It helps spark conversation between parent and child in a society that is so 'hooked up' with TV and video games that discussion and play do not seem to be as important.
    In the last week I started yet another blog for the purpose of showcasing my first graders writing. Being "published" has motivated them. They see a purpose in it and the love reading the comments I leave and the comments other's leave.
    My friend just shared your blog with me. She said that we have the same philosophies and beliefs. I am looking forward to checking out more!
    :-)
    Laura

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  13. Totally agree with your points Jenny - Blogging is the only time I feel I get at the moment to reflect on the bigger issues and to focus on the reasons why I became a teacher.

    The sense of community amongst all of the bloggers is incredible and is really helpful when I get stuck in a rut or frustrated with the day to day!

    Wendy

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  14. yes! yes! yes!

    i'm so glad you do blog! you provide support and inspiration to me!

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  15. Hello! I'm new to your blog. I am pre-school teacher too and I am a blogger. I have a baking blog though, not a blog about my teaching experiences because, like you mention in one of your points, I thought I do not have any original thing to share as I don't have a very long experience in teaching. Your post made me reconsider this all. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  16. I agree - I have felt so inspired when I read other teachers blogs. If I feel I am stuck in a rut with my teaching I browse some early childhood blogs and get great ideas.

    Unfortunately I recently made the decision to take a step back from writing about teaching on my blog because of time restraints and privacy issues. But I will continue to read teaching blogs and hope to return to writing about my teaching at another time.

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  17. Jenny....thank you for continuing to build this early childhood community of learners. You are making a difference in the lives of children and teachers around the world!

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  18. You're so right, there's definitely something about blogging - I'm moving into working with teachers so the first thing I did was to start a new blog, this time focused on education. It's such a great way of organising and recording your thoughts and letting you reflect on them.

    One of my foci is remote education, and isolation both personal and professional is our big problem. Part of what I'm doing is showing teachers how social media is perfect to reduce it and support us no matter where we are, I recently wrote 13 Reasons Territory Teachers need to use social media and now I'm doing a post on each point.

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  19. I blog because I enjoy sharing ideas. Blogging is an excellent way to network with like minded people and learn with them.

    I also enjoy the added benefit of having a written and visual record of the activities we have tried.

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  20. Right on, Jenny! I love the inspiration and fellowship I get from your blog and others. We all have so much to learn from each other -- how lucky are we to have found a way to connect with so many, far and wide.

    xoxo- Bethe

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  21. Wonderful blog post! I too blog for many of the same reason. Thanks for posting this.
    http://mrskarensclass.blogspot.com/

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  22. There you go, reading my mind again, Jenny!

    As long as I teach, I will blog. It simply makes me a better teacher. And you make me a better teacher too!

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  23. Beautifully put! Thanks for sharing and putting into words why I'm doing it! :)

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  24. Yep! For all the reasons listed above... go bloggers, go bloggers!!!

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  25. Everything everyone has said here is so true Jenny. Never in our wildest dreams did we think that blogging would bring us into contact with so many amazing people from all over the world who assist and inspire us every single day. A handful of whom we've actually met but still a megabunch of people we call our friends! And Tom is absolutely right when he says "Together we are stronger". If for no other reason that is why people should blog. Thanks for all you do Jenny and for writing another of your amazing 'love' posts!
    Donna :) :)

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  26. im a blogging teacher too and you know, one thing i love about it is that it made me more 'human' to my students :) i love meeting other teachers too and sharing ideas about activities and all :)

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  27. I love this post! I never thought I'd ever get into blogging... my brother had to force me to start blogging (and I'm sure glad he did!). Blogging has opened so many windows and I've met so many amazing people/teachers from all over the world! Though blogging gives the bloggers a chance to share their knowledge, it also gives us a chance to learn more from other bloggers! I've learned so much more than I could ever imagine!! Many nations.. one goal!

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  28. I agree with each of these reasons to blog! As others commented, I blog to "share & remember" which is why my blog is called that. :) Glad to be included in this great online group of sharing, inspiration & support! Great post.

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  29. Fantastic Jenny! You go girl :)

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  30. Great post Jenny, I love ideas and learning. Writing actually helps me to consolidate my own learning. I think that as teachers a lot of what we do can go unshared and unnoticed and it's a real pity because there are so many teachers who are passionate about what they do. Different teachers have different passions and are good at different things also so it's like a big community of mentors. I left a job recently where I have many friends and I had a mentor relationship with a few staff members. I miss my friends a lot but feel like I am continuing with this mentor relationship through my blog. Sharing our knowledge can only make us better educators who provide a better education for children which means a better future for our world.

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  31. I'm currently in the process of interviewing for my first lead teacher position right out of college, and even now, before I even have a job in place, I'm overwhelmed and excited at the same time. I will have so much freedom and so much responsibility at the same time! I keep telling myself that as long as I continue to follow amazing teacher blogs I will always have new ideas and bits of inspiration to utilize out in the real world with my tiny guys. I wasn't planning on blogging myself, but you might have changed my mind. It's going to be a crazy adventure, so why not record it? Thanks for the thought - now I'm even more excited to finally become a grown up!

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  32. Yes, I completely agree with all 10.
    Another reason, is that as a visual artist, it has forced me to find words to go with the images that are my research and ideas. While this is often challenging, it is also pretty liberating putting that written voice of mine out there. Scary too.
    Most importantly it has enhanced and deepened reflection.
    Thanks for the post!

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  33. http://weelookang.blogspot.com/2011/09/three-reasons-why-teachers-should-blog.html
    made reference to your blog.
    cheers! and thank you

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  34. Blogging with people like you is such a joy! It brings joy into my teaching experience and into my life. Thank you for this amazing post on blogging!

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  35. I have just started to get my 'tech' head on and start blogging about the fun of teaching Prep. I've only started in the summer holidays but three posts down and I am loving it! I wish I could find some more teachers from the Primary setting to follow. Lots from preschool but not a lot that I can find from Primary School teachers! Thanks for a great blog :)

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