Saturday, November 16, 2013

Why I blog?

I've been pondering Kate's questions since they were posted last week!

1. What hooked you on reading the blogs? Was it a particular post or person? Was it an initiative by the nice MTBoS folks? A colleague in your building got you into it? Desperation?

In the summer of 2012 we moved ... a new state, new home, new opportunities for meaningful work.  I had been an elementary principal for 10 years, a middle school assistant principal for 2 years prior to that.  But in the move, I longed to return to the classroom.  My credentials and interests were in middle and high school math.  So I sought out a position teaching math and landed a ninth grade algebra 1 position.  I had been out of the classroom for about 13 years.  I knew that in that time activities, strategies, and even the focus in curriculum had changed.  I started searching the Internet for ideas and in that process I found blog after blog written by math teachers.  The blogs were fascinating.  Teachers wrote about lesson ideas, strategies, games, exciting discussions, and even flops!  I am an avid reader so I began following various blogs to listen in on what was happening in their classrooms.

2. What keeps you coming back? What's the biggest thing you get out of reading and/or commenting?  

I'm either too curious, too desperate, or too nosy to quit reading!  I get inspiration from reading the blogs!  Much of the blog content doesn't match my curriculum exactly but I'm always thinking about how I can adapt the ideas for my work.  I have a set of strategies that I have used throughout my 30+ years in education.  I realize I am limited by my personal experiences and opportunities for training.  If I want new ideas I have to seek them out.  Several years ago I had a huge growth spurt in my teaching because I was in a district that invested in me by sending me to conferences.  Another time of great growth was during the work I did on my Master's degree.  I learned so much under the tutelage of excellent professors.  My years as an administrator were filled with training but the topics were not about secondary math.  By reading the blogs I am engaged in professional growth and it is self-directed ... a key aspect of adult learning!

3. If you write, why do you write? What's the biggest thing you get out of it?  

I started blogging many years ago as a spiritual activity to help keep me centered.   Then as I started on this new journey of teaching and as I read blog after blog, I decided I wanted to be a part of that writing community.  So I decided to blog about my math experiences.  I wrote a little about this question here.  Blogging is a reflective exercise, but it is also social, creative, and an accountability exercise!  Exercise, by the way, is a good word ... blogging is work, it builds muscle, it strengthens my work as a teacher.

4. If you chose to enter a room where I was going to talk about blogging for an hour (or however long you could stand it), what would you hope to be hearing from me? MTBoS cheerleading and/or tourism? How-to's? Stories?  

There is power is storytelling!  Sharing your own story of how you got involved in blogging could be inspirational, compelling, helpful.  In that story providing insight into benefits would be awesome.  It might be interesting to take examples of blog posts to share ... as examples of the various benefits.  I know when I attend a conference I want to walk away with something I can use in my next unit of instruction.  Providing references for blogs, for the amazing math websites created by bloggers, and links to classroom activities that could be adapted to various content would be welcomed!

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