Back when I started this little old blog six months ago, I thought it would be a fun exercise to try to keep up with writing honestly about my teaching. If not another soul read my blog, I’d still have an awesome reference to turn to next year when I’m wondering what I did last time, and probably get a few laughs in the process.
Things didn’t quite turn out that way. Bit by bit, the audience of this blog has grown, and then this week, thanks to the power of a mention on facebook, I got, what to me, was Justin Bieber level traffic, doubling my subscriber base from a paltry 10, and sending 600 readers toward my posts on how to change the conversation about AP. Was I ready for this? I’m not quite sure. As I read back over my posts, I see subtle shifts in my own tone, and wonder as to the cause. Fatherhood? Sleep deprivation? Craving an edublog award?
Today I got an email that really set me back on my heels and got me to reconsider the whole intent of this blog. What is it about a blog that makes us speak with a level of conviction I could rarely manifest in real life? Am I trying start a conversation, and if so, am I also unintentionally dismissing much of my audience with a hubristic level of certainty? Is it my way or the highway? I don’t think so, since I can easily recall dozens of wonderful teachers in my own career as a student, and later, colleagues who had never heard of standards based grading, growth mindset, or whiteboarding, and yet still managed to connect with students by demonstrating a deep level of concern for every child, and worked every day to help me and other students grow. But is this the message the comes across to a stranger that reads my blog? Is it the message the comes across to a colleague that reads my blog, now that my school’s communications department has outed me to the full faculty (which is both a good and scary thing)?
How do I make sure that my blog, and twitter aren’t just some sort of echo chamber when all the teachers who think like me gather in the internet bask in self-satisfaction? I coach debate, so I should know how to see the other side of just about any argument—I mean I’ve voted for teams who’ve argued that Nuclear War is a good thing, so surely I can turn around and see the good in the AP, or gulp, SAT II, right?
How do I keep this blog a real, honest, and hopeful journal of my teaching, useful to me, yet interesting, and possibly useful to others, and above all else, welcoming to all? I want to fully admit that I don’t have all the answers, but really would appreciate help and conversation, and maybe we’ll get a bit closer to one of many answers.
These are just a few of the things that keep me up at night. The other thing is a now 9.5 lb newborn, still reeling from her experience with 3 shots at the doctors office a day ago.
For those you who are reading this, especially any veteran bloggers out there who have had questioned your own blogging, I’d love any advice or feedback you may have.
If you’d prefer your feedback to be anonymous, I’ve created this handy anonymous google form, where you can leave your advice. If you do leave advice or feedback, please let me know if you give me permission to anonymously post it back on this post for others to see who might be wrestling with these same questions.