I suppose the quick answer to this question is, “Yes, I blog, therefore I am a blogger.” But I feel like there is something still lacking that keeps me from becoming a full-on Blogger. And I think I know what it is: an audience. To be fair, I have a wonderfully supportive audience in the cohort. However, it feels more like a…forced audience. Once this program is done, and I am in the real world of being an educator, there is no guarantee my forced audience will still be reading. I won’t be guaranteed an audience at all! But I have learned through this ongoing project that I have to be an audience to earn one. It’s kind of like networking, I suppose, making connections with bloggers and being a part of their learning network so that they will be a part of mine. It is something that I have found invaluable in reading the cohort’s blogs and other educators’ blogs: being part of and growing my own learning network, reading others’ viewpoints, picking up curriculum ideas here and there, finding out what’s on the minds of experienced teachers and ed reformers. I think my growth as a blogger has been and will continue to be contingent on this idea of a learning network.
Being in a learning network means I have to work to be an audience, but a little more than that. In the context of our program, we have been pushed to question and push each other in the cohort to consider alternative ideas. This is apparent in many of the comments we leave for each other. A little while ago I read a cohortmate’s blog post about her experience calling a student’s family. In my comment, I wanted to applaud her efforts to be sensitive to the family and encourage her to think about the positive, and hopefully lasting effects of her phone call: “Even though you only see yourself as an observer, it could help improve the relationship between the school and the family. Hopefully your call will make the family less apprehensive about talking to teachers!”
This person was then kind enough to reply to my thoughts, saying, “I do like your last thought about creating a safer place for conversation between parents and teachers. Language does seem to be a great barrier, one that I thought might not be the biggest problem but it is. Thank you futureteachergetsschooled.”
In another cohortmate’s blog post, where she discusses her ideas for incorporating technology in the classroom, I was pushed to think more deeply about this topic in the comment thread that came after my initial comment: “What would be lost from “traditional” teaching if we did more of that in the classroom? What more “real world” learning might be bought into the classroom?” (Blogger professorjvg). And in one of my own posts, a comment made by The Veritably Clean blog pushed me to ask myself if I agreed with his thoughts, and if not, why? My growth as a blogger has been pushed a little further by the comments and nudging of the cohort here in blog-land.
Looking at the past few months’ worth of blogs, the one I think shows my growth as a blogging educator was when I wrote about my ideas for what it means to a leader in education, and the development of my professional identity. Those ideas in that post had been ruminating in my head throughout this program and after that post, I was encouraged by the comments to write a follow-up post continuing the thoughts I had first addressed.
With this reflection, I am more aware of the ways in which having a web presence in this blog (and on Twitter) have had some bearing on my growth as an educator and how I want them to be a part of and help portray my professional voice and identity.