When I was in high school I had a few classes where I could make a notecard of key terms or formulas or whatever for a final. Whenever I made a notecard I found that it wasn’t very useful; the time and effort I took to record all that information meant I remembered it. It was a helpful way to review, but it was the review that was helpful and not the notecard.
That’s pretty much how I feel about blogging. I often jot notes in a quiet moment during class or quickly after 4th period before I eat lunch. And while I don’t often reread my blog posts from months or years ago, the act of writing and organizing my thinking helps me to learn from my successes and failures. Often when I write a post it takes a turn I don’t expect, and I learn something new by the time I’m finished. At least half the posts I start I don’t finish, but the drafting helps me to explore new ideas.
Anyway, it’s another year in the books. It’s definitely been my least successful as a teacher. My students just didn’t learn much math. Beyond math, I’m not sure they’re any more creative or curious or independent than they were 10 months ago. All things I’m excited to work on next year. Still, I have a better work-life balance than in the past and more things that are fulfilling outside of work. I’m happy doing what I’ll doing and I’ll keep doing it.
Unfortunately teacher blogging is mostly dead. Michael Pershan has some useful thoughts here. I’m sad that so many teachers I admired and learned from are gone. It’s unlikely blogging will make a comeback, and I’m not extroverted enough to replace blogging with Twitter or Instagram or whatever else. So I’ll keep blogging away. But I’d like to say that, even if it won’t lead to professional advancement or fame or riches, blogging can be a great way to grow as a teacher. For me, nothing can replace the process of brainstorming, drafting, and composing a blog post when I want to reflect on and learn from my experiences in the classroom.
So if you’re someone who’s thinking about it, dive in! There isn’t the community there used to be, but there are folks out there willing to read and comment and chat, and you’ll learn a ton along the way.
I’ll take the summer off from writing as I have for a while now. I already have a bunch of ideas and partial drafts of posts for next year, and I’ll look forward to another year of sending my thoughts out into the void. See you in August.