When I think back on when I started blogging, I am amazed at the changes I’ve gone through. It’s hard to pinpoint if I changed because of my blog, or if I changed along my blog. No matter what the case may be, I’ve changed.
Blogging helped me create my own voice. When I started teaching, like many teachers, I had low self-confidence. I wasn’t satisfied with my teaching, and I knew I could be a better teacher. As soon as I was introduced to the process of reflective teaching, I knew this was a remedy for my low self-esteem.
When I reflected, I gained courage. I realized that if an activity didn’t go well, I could try it out another time, and at that time it probably would get better. I knew this because I learned from experience. If I reflected, made an action plan, and tried that new plan, it was almost always a success.
I transposed this reflective process from private Word documents on my computer, into a public blog. The benefit of reflective blogging is that I had an audience to share my ideas and questions with. I could bounce around ideas with other teachers, whereas if I simply saved files on my MacBook, I would have been my only resource. Although I believe that the self is the most crucial resource in the reflective process, I also know the strength of reflecting in community.
Via reflection, I went from being a teacher concerned with low self-confidence to a teacher firm in her beliefs – not too firm to inhibit the natural process of change. If you look at my blog’s trajectory, to the amount of posts I wrote, and the content of those posts, you see a clear picture of that change. But the change didn’t come with ease.
At first, I was a fresh and excited reflective teacher eager to improve at her new job as a conversation teacher at Keimyung University. During this time, I wrote rigorous, in depth reflections. I couldn’t simply look at a small, significant episode that happened during a lesson. I had to examine the whole lesson.
Then when I moved into teacher training, the frequency of my posts dropped dramatically. My confidence wavered, and I wasn’t willing to let my vulnerability shine through. I was having huge doubts about my position as a teacher educator and couldn’t bear the idea of people seeing my weaknesses. Instead of writing, I just posted pictures, or my participants’ work.
This was where the blog as a medium for reflection fell short. Blogging is public,and I was in a bind. I wanted to blog because I needed a reflective community, but I also was afraid of being seen and judged.
Then something shifted. I realized I probably wasn’t the only teacher who felt weak and vulnerable. I also realized that if I wrote from a place of authenticity, intention and responsibility (professionalism), then no matter what anyone would say to me, I wouldn’t break. I knew that from this space I could take any comment that came my way.
Tonight I am still planning what I’ll say during my presentation, Blogging: Creative Interaction (scroll down to see my abstract), next Saturday. I’ve been feeling concerned about what I might say and how I might say it. Luckily my blog has saved me again. This entry just helped me find my voice. This voice has seen a lot of change, and realizes she is not alone. It’s time to share my voice.
Blogging: Creative Interaction
We all know the benefits of reflective inquiry: it brings clarity to our teaching practice and helps us define our professional goals. But how many of us really practice reflective teaching? At the end of a long week, the thought of writing a lesson analysis onto a stark white piece of paper, or a blank Word document can seem like an uninspiring task.
This is why the presenter began blogging. In the blogosphere, the canvas for reflection is colorful. The possibilities for creative interaction range from meaningful play with photography and video, to passionate personal dialogues with readers. It is through this multimedia, and through peer sharing that the presenter has been able to increase her teaching confidence, as well as develop a clearer vision of her pedagogical ambitions.
The speaker will present the evolution of her blog (throwingbacktokens.com), and how blogging can impact the audience’s reflective practice. The presenter would love to see her audience leaving her presentation with the idea that the reflective blogging community may be also be a circle they would like to join.