25 January 2007

Mandatory blog post on blogging

Everyone does it – write in our blog about why we are blogging.

I promise not to do it too often but I feel that I need to explain why I have recently joined this community of teachers who blog. This is mostly a post for myself – to clarify my reasons for committing regular time to this activity when I could be preparing lessons, marking maths tests, maintaining relationships with family and friends or walking the dog.

As a visual person, I created a basic mind map using FreeMind and went through a SWOT analysis to crystallise my thoughts.

Of course, the strengths section is most important. After three years in the teaching profession, I realised that blogging was an opportunity for me to reflect on my work in the classroom and to clarify my thoughts. As my friend the scientist explained over coffee last week, writing things down can be a great motivator for thinking through an issue and coming to a conclusion.

Documenting discoveries also seems important to me now. How many great insights or useful resources have I encountered over the last three years, only to be forgotten or untraceable when I needed them? I see this blog as a place I can store these ideas and resources in a form I can use them later.

There is a chance that others will find the ideas useful, so sharing my experience in a public place presents the opportunity to assist others, get feedback and make links to others in similar situations.

My hopes are tempered by the fears of going public. Do I have enough worth saying? Can I find the time to put my ideas out there? Vicki Davis quotes the statistic that 55% of bloggers are still posting regularly after three months. That is a big drop-out rate and I recognise the risk.

My fear that “no-one is listening” has been easily dispelled after a couple of posts. A few supportive or appreciative comments is enough to encourage persistence.

None of this is new. Many people have expressed these ideas in different ways. I was pleased to read John Pearce's page on Why teachers blog. The response from HappyHippy at I should be marking provided me with the right words to describe my hopes and plans:
Introspective Reflection – A chance to put my own thoughts in order
Decision Making – An opportunity to argue with myself in the hope of reaching a conclusion.
Professional Journal – A method of documenting my changing opinions.

So, in the end, it is mostly about me – reflecting, clarifying, documenting – with the hope that some of my experience and insights will be of use to others.

Time will tell.