I need to walk the talk. It would be impossible to teach blogging, if I wasn’t an avid blogger. I’d lack credibility as a teacher. And my students would know. Teenagers can spot insincerity a mile away. It’s like somebody trying to promote the benefits of reading, but who doesn’t personally read. How do you do that? It lacks passion and authenticity.
My students know I blog. In fact, they know I love to blog. I mention it whenever opportunity allows. They know I blog because it helps me to think. It connects me to others. And most importantly, it allows others to help me shape ideas that are still rough around the edges or in their infancy.
Communication. Connection. Collaboration. Three important words in education.
My presence, as an active member of the blogosphere, also allows me to share with my students the importance of Google Alerts to help them monitor their digital presence on the web. I showed them the most recent Google Alert I’ve received. It was interesting because it showed a site that had used my blog, and I had no idea, until I received the alert. Proof that people will use and promote your blog, if they find it beneficial. And that you do need something like Google Alerts to be aware of it. An important teachable moment that I wouldn’t have had, if I didn’t blog.
It also allows me to talk about the process of writing. Some of my posts come together beautifully, with few drafts or edits. Others are painful, requiring dozens of drafts, and multiple days, as I search for the right word or phrasing. And, finally, the feeling of accomplishment when it is done.
I’ve also been able to show students comments that my blog has received. They provide proof that through blogs you can inspire people you’ve never met. That others might offer help for a project or concept you’re working on. And that many will offer comments to help you expand or clarify your thinking.
I believe the adage that you can’t take people where you haven’t been. It’s true as teachers. It’s true for our students. Consequently, as educational leaders, we need to be able to speak about blogging from our own experience and offer examples from our own lives. We need to walk the talk.
photo courtesy of flickr cc — pastorbuhro
Good points about authenticity, Shelley. You’re right; students have good noses for hypocrisy. Interesting to hear that you labour so hard on some posts. I often do too, but I’m trying not to do that as often. Many of the people I know who have been blogging for a long time treat their blogs as places for posting tentative thoughts. They don’t worry so much about the craft of writing, but rather, focus on getting their ideas — however half-baked — out into the collective conversation. Maybe that’s what helps them become so prolific.
I guess the lesson in all of this is that there isn’t any particular right way to blog. Your stuff is always a treat to read, so keep doing it your way!
Who are you calling half-baked? 😉
Ha. No, I consider you well done to a crisp! 🙂
Modeling what we teach…what a novel idea 🙂
Authenticity….authenticity..authenticity… Authentic learning experience should be a repeated mantra until we actually get there. Thanks for the reminder Shelly.