Finding My Voice via Reflective Blogging

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.

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “Finding My Voice via Reflective Blogging

  1. I recently started a blog and can relate to your beautiful journey, Josette. It’s hard to let the world see our vulnerabilities, at the same time, it’s extremely rewarding to see that we’re not alone and can help so many other people while we help ourselves.

    Like

    1. Apologies for responding so late. Thank you very much for stopping by! Also, welcome to the world of blogging. Your comment beautifully captures the paradox of human nature. Blogging seems to capture this paradox wonderfully. I wish you all the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing your blog. Your honesty really shines through. I don’t know if I’m ready to face the judgment of the online world personally, but your courage helps me realize that one day I might be able to do it too. Right now I have to focus on being honest with myself before I worry about the world.

    Like

    1. Anne, thank you for reading and for your comments. I connect to your feelings about needing to be honest with yourself before you are able to share your thoughts with the world. I have had to deal with my own fears of vulnerability, and part of this was taking time to simply be with myself. When we feel that we are strong enough, then it is much easier to expose oneself. The world can be quite unforgiving, and because of this, you must be able to forgive yourself first. I wish you all the best on your journey.

      Like

  3. As an educator and one who goes through the same feelings – even after 21 years. Now I coach teachers and some really resist the reflecting process. They just want to move on. I plan to refer teachers to this post. Thank you!

    Like

    1. Thank you for reading and sharing in my thoughts and feelings. I understand why some people resist the reflective process. Reflection asks us to accept parts of ourselves we might rather ignore. I appreciate you referring your “students” to my blog. All the best!

      Like

  4. Thanks Josette–wonderful thoughts! I especially like this:

    “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.”

    How powerful to realize, as we were discussing, that “I’m not alone!” Not only do many teachers sometimes feel weak and vulnerable, but it seems there is a deep-set fear of being really honest in the reflections of our teaching. Yet, as you beautifully articulate, if I am coming from “a place of authenticity,” then there is nothing to fear, and I can accept whatever response I get to my reflections.

    Like

    1. Thank you for pointing out what parts you liked Chaz. Meets my need for clear communication and deeper understanding. I am so grateful that you part of this “a-ha, I’m not alone” moment on Saturday. It greatly inspired me to push through with my desire to live authentically and to share this desire with other teachers. My fear is slowly dissipating, and I hope I can help others find solace too.

      And thank you for subscribing!

      Like

  5. What a wonderful blog post. It just so happens that my blog posts have been taking a similar tone lately as well, so I was surprised to find this one in my email. (I’m also part of Post a Week.) I agree with everything that you say about the reflective element in writing on one’s blog as a public medium! Thanks for sharing. Your words are powerful. Cyn

    Like

    1. Merci Cyn! I’m happy to personally meet another Post a Week blogger via my post. Such a sweet surprise and I appreciate the support. Cheers to reflection and the public personal-cleansing that it brings. À la prochaine!

      Like

  6. Great post! I wrestle with this a lot myself. I am in between careers and doing a lot of self-exploration and writing about it – my ups, my downs, my vulnerabilities… I like sharing honestly, but I also fear being judged – about my indecisiveness, flightiness, etc. But overall, I think it’s good and I know a lot of others in the same boat as me, so I hope they find comfort in knowing their not the only ones!

    Like

    1. Thank you for your support Nell! No, we are not the only ones! Let’s stand together and scream this loud from the blogosphere! :)

      During this time of transition and self-discovery I wish that many synchronistic events come into your line of sight. Thank you for reading and see you around WordPress!

      Like

  7. Love your reflections and journey on this post. I think it is very important to see authenticity in a teacher’s work and in their process to be better. Glad you found your voice. :-)

    Like

    1. Angela, thank you so much for reading and for the encouraging comment! I wish you all the best with your blogging journey. See you on WordPress!

      Like

  8. Hey, I know this question is a bit unrelated : But can you help me find a website (in English) where I could listen to / get information on Korean songs? I have a blog about songs, and need some good resource on Korean music.

    BTW, the concept of reflective learning is interesting :) But it takes some effort and patience right?

    Like

    1. Hi! I just came across this site http://www.kpopmusic.com/. Hope it helps!

      Reflective learning is about looking into yourself and asking, “what have I done (experienced); what would I like to change about this experience; and how would I like to change it?” The reflective process can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. I think we engage in reflection on a daily basis, but we don’t necessarily call it reflective learning. If you have learned from past mistakes, then you have probably already engaged in reflective learning.

      Thank you for reading and good luck with your blog!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s