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Sunday, 2 March 2014

The blog that saved a teachers life?

I was introduced to blogging when my brother was doing the three peaks challenge in 2009 in preparation for an expedition to climb Mount Everest in 2011. During his Everest expedition My class and I followed him throughout the whole journey via his blog. The pupils in my class then (year 6s) loved reading his posts and posting comments and feeling like they were really involved with the whole event. It was to prove a real inspiration to them and led to a variety of writing genres which had a real purpose.

My own personal journey into blogging though only began in August of 2013 when I was beginning a new challenge for me, teaching in year 2. Pretty pathetic compared to my brothers reasons for blogging and resulting achievements but a personal challenge nevertheless. I decided to blog about my day to day experiences in year 2 which I hoped at the time would encourage some reflection. Reflecting on my practice is something I didn't really think I did at the time but what I now realise is that I have always been a reflector I have just never written it down before.

My blogging journey coincided with what turned out to be really difficult times professionally and personally and I made a vow at that point to only blog about positive things or when blogging about my school experiences. The reason for this was to help me to focus on positive aspects of my life and teaching when actually I was not feeling positive at all and thankfully my plan worked and I am now in a much more positive frame of mind. I am still feeling cynical about teaching but at least am not at the point of wanting to walk away that I was at the end of 2013. Looking back on my early posts it is lovely to have that record of what I did and I hope that my reflections are useful to other teachers too, providing ideas, reassurances etc.

At the beginning of 2014 I set myself a huge challenge of writing a blog post a day for 365 days! A bigger challenge I know now than I realised at the time. So far I think I have posted almost every day but with the odd day off for good behaviour! The challenge itself has had a direct effect on my posts, they are no longer just class reflections. I am, I think, turning into a more 'professional' blogger, don't get me wrong I have always remained professional in all of my my posts, but what I mean is that I am now tackling lots more general educational topics.

I find my self trawling the internet, Twitter, Pinterest and the media for relevant topics. I even sit in the bath or in bed at night and have 'Eureka' moments about the title for my next post. A friend and colleague of mine says she has taken to playing a game for herself where she listens to me in the staff room at lunch, in staff meetings etc so that she can try to guess what my next post might be about! My blog has now taken on a life all of its own. I'm not sure if I own my blog or it owns me!

So what has been the result of all of this blogging?:

I am now much more informed about current educational topics - Ofsted, Lesson Observations etc

I have had contact with and shared ideas and practice with lots teachers around the world, some of my posts have been read in places as far away as Russia, New Zealand and Indonesia and this just blows my mind! I truly feel part of a global teaching community.

My own practice has without doubt improved. My mind and indeed classroom door are wide open to new ideas from around the world.

Blogging saved my career and perhaps my sanity by helping me to focus on the good things about teaching, reminding me that for me it is actually a vocation but also weeding out the bad by remembering for others it is not a vocation but a career and trying to get them to speak the same language is impossible and so I have stopped trying. How can they possibly understand when they do not have that passion? 

If helped me focus on where I was going next. After a few years of not knowing what or where to go next with my career I now have a short, medium and long term plan in place! (Blogged about obviously.)

So what has blogging done for you and your career?