A blog post about writing blog posts
Writing About Writing
Thanks to the Greater Madison Writing Project (a phrase that appears in nearly all of my blog entries), I had the opportunity to do something I NEVER thought I would do: publicly reflect on my own teaching — the successes and failures. Intimidating? Yes. Uncomfortable? Sometimes. Valuable? Infinitely.
Writing is a vulnerable act. I’ve willingly published my deepest insecurities to be judged and evaluated by my peers. What I learned about myself is invaluable and unquantifiable; but I’ll try to put it to words. I learned to be comfortable being uncomfortable and not to accept complacency. I’ve learned that trying new things, even at the risk of failure, is the only way to grow. I’ve learned that being honest (sometimes brutally) about my shortcomings gets me further than pretending to be perfect. Along those lines, I’ve learned that it’s okay not to be perfect. It’s impossible, actually. Accepting my imperfections and those of my students is liberating. It allows me to approach my job more critically and evaluate my effectiveness more sincerely.
I have grown in so many ways because of my time spent writing this blog and the support I’ve gotten from this community. You all make me a better teacher and a better writer. A better person. For that I will be forever grateful (and so are my students, even though they aren’t always forthcoming with their gratitude).
Reflecting About Reflecting
Through this blog, I have reflected on my own teaching and implementation of my Teacher Workshop on conferencing and peer editing. Not only did it push me outside my comfort zone (where, as I always tell my students, we do the most learning), but doing this blog held me accountable to actually follow-through and implement my TW. So often after participating in good Professional Development, we let our ideas sit in a folder at the bottom of a drawer while the realities of school set in and we scramble to stay afloat. Our new ideas never materialize and we fall into our old, ineffective patterns.
Blogging about my new experiences and revelations has challenged me to not only try these new things, but to think critically about their impact on my students and our classroom. I’ll admit, writing a blog post wasn’t always my number one priority, but having an audience and a supportive group of colleagues through the GMWP motivated me to post regularly and thoughtfully about my teaching practices. And I’m a better teacher for it.
Concluding about Concluding
To conclude, I have to say that this is not the end. In teaching, conclusions don’t really exist. There’s always another day, another unit, another year. In a way, that’s the beauty of working with young people. Teachers fail, but as I tell my classes, failures are to be celebrated. If we can learn from our mistakes, failures can become triumphs. Even after a disaster of a lesson, there’s always an opportunity to face the kids the next day and start over. Own our mistakes and move forward. That’s what makes a good teacher — we’re never done; we’re never satisfied. There’s always growth and improvement to be made. So with that, as my time with the GMWP draws to a close, and I take a hiatus from blogging, I’m not done learning or teaching. And I’m certainly not done writing.