Wednesday / May 29

Blogging Blurbs for Growth

Reflection is the single most important part of my daily practice as an educator. My blog is the most efficient vehicle for that activity.

A year and a half ago, I dragged my feet at the idea of maintaining a blog and actively passed those duties onto the person who was maintaining it for me. Fearing the platform, dreading the format, and straight up avoiding the responsibility, I thought, “Who does this anyway? No one will read what I write? Why not just continue with my journal?”

Until my friend wasn’t working fast enough for me anymore. I finally had something to say and I wanted to post, but he wasn’t available when I needed him to be. This was a real blessing in disguise.

Obtaining my password and log-in information, I stared at my WordPress dashboard and started touching everything. After ruining the theme, crashing the site, deleting posts, and adding posts that needed to be deleted, I got the hang out of it… and it wasn’t that bad; I even blogged a few posts from my phone.

Less than three years ago, technology scared me. I wasn’t invigorated by it like I am now, I was terrified, but what I learned is that it really is that easy. We expect kids to try new things daily, and when we act fearful for our own learning, we inadvertently model resistance which will create challenges for their learning. We must be intentional in what we intend students to see and it must be congruent with the messages we speak.

Blogging has become an outgrowth of my work as an educator. Every day, I put time aside, usually at the same time to write and reflect about what is going on in my classroom and life. This routine is what I teach my students to do. It isn’t always easy or convenient, but it is always useful and meaningful.

Two years ago, almost no one read the blog, at least I didn’t think they did. What I learned is that if I kept putting my honest experiences out there, it would also resonate with others. My authentic voice has been honed and my writing has become cleaner and crisper, because practice will do that; we all know that.

Don’t worry about what to write about, because that will come. Open your eyes, your heart, and commit to “paper” what is in your mind about what happens every day. Start off slowly, once a month, then once a week, and before you know it, often.

What are you waiting for? We all want to hear what you have to say.

Written by

Starr Sackstein currently works at World Journalism Preparatory School in Flushing, NY as a high school English and Journalism teacher and author of Teaching Mythology Exposed: Helping Teachers Create Visionary Classroom Perspective. This year she begins a new blog with Education Week Teacher called “Work in Progress” in addition to her personal blog where she discusses all aspects of being a teacher. Sackstein co-moderates #jerdchat and #sunchat as well as contributes to #NYedChat. This year she has made the Bammy Awards finals for Secondary High School Educator. In speaking engagements, Sackstein speaks about blogging, journalism education and BYOD, helping people see technology doesn’t have to be feared. Starr is the author of Blogging for Educators.

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