Why Do Teachers Blog?
A friend recently asked me why I blogged. “Don’t you have enough work already? Why add to your stress and workload?” I did not need his prompting to begin my own self-inquiry; it had already begun. It seems (among the many bloggers I read) that some sort of ‘existential blogger/crisis/identity’ happens at the blog’s one-year anniversary. We all ask ourselves these questions; " Why bother? What if no one is reading? What can I say that is not already being said, (perhaps with greater eloquence and authority) by more experienced bloggers with a multitude of followers?" I will not indulge in unnecessary blogger ‘navel-gazing’ here; it is unproductive and not the point of this post. But in the event that a future blogger is reading this, I offer my reflections here.
I blog because I need to contribute to my voice to the very important conversation educators are having about the ‘tsunami-like’ changes happening in our society and classrooms. In only three years, my own teaching and learning has changed dramatically because of web 2.0. I want to be a part of this greater movement because it is exciting and it has changed me in ways I could never have imagined.
I blog because I believe that my experiences and reflections might be valuable to others. My voice does not only speak for me; it also brings my students’ concerns and experiences to the conversation. It is important to share and help others who are on this learning curve.
I blog because every post is a ‘value-added’ activity that I contribute to the collective learning curve, of which we are all a part. Connected to this is a sense of responsibility and pride in being part of the most exciting changes I have seen in 21 years of teaching.
Every new post is an opportunity to crystallize my own thinking and offer it to readers, who might be asking the same questions. The act of reflecting, composing and posting is an intimate connection between the blogger and his/her audience. The writing is solitary; but communal as well. As you put words to the page, you frame your thoughts and experiences with a meaning that might not have been obvious to you before.
My mother recently decided to purchase a laptop. When I asked her what she wanted to do with this new tool, she gave me an impish grin and said, “I want to start blogging”. At 77 years young, she feels the need to contribute her wisdom and experience to a global conversation. She can be an example to anyone who has every thought of blogging.
Why bother blogging? Would we ask a sunflower, “Why bother blooming when there are so many beautiful flowers already?” No. We would welcome its contribution and admire its beauty because every flower has its place. I blog for myself; I blog for my students; I blog for other teachers who are walking the same road. Even if no one reads it; blog anyway. Vincent Van Gough never sold a painting in his lifetime and that did not diminish the value of his work. You have a voice; contribute your part to the global conversation and be enriched because of it.