Blogging serves as a wonderful platform for young writers. It offers them the ability to create and attract a real authentic audience, beyond the teacher and the classroom grade.
As an English Language Arts teacher who places great emphasis on writing, I’ve witnessed time and time again how students love seeing that someone “out there” read their work. Although, student and teacher relationships are important, and our students love to connect with us, I’ve found that the true spark comes from garnering an outside audience.
I’ve also found it interesting to witness how students find blogging so exciting, and enjoy the smallest forms of feedback. They often exclaim, “Mrs. Farmer, I can’t believe it. I got five pageviews! Five people read my work! I can’t wait to write again!” As a teacher who blogs as well, I find their enthusiasm refreshing and pushes me to write.
Although, our students jump for the chance to share their work and feel confident in their abilities, adults may feel a bit trepedacious. As a blogger, I can’t count on my fingers the number of times I’ve published something, and then thought later how it sounded utterly ridiculous, only then to remove the post. Another example is from one principal who recently started a blog and soon after tweeted, “Blogging without offending anyone is pretty tough. People are too sensitive and social media too harsh.” This statement rings true for many educators and it’s easy to get discouraged when no one acknowledges our work. Although, it may be true that much of our written work falls on deaf ears, I urge all educators to give blogging a try, anyway. Stephen King is known for saying, “Write for yourself first and then your audience.” I agree.
As educators, maybe it’s time, we envelop ourselves in the whimsical nature of our students, but also balance it with the wisdom of our own experiences. Although, it’s nice for our work to be appreciated, it ultimately serves as a tool for personal growth and reflection. In that way, we never run out of material, because truly every week in the classroom is different. By writing for ourselves first, we grow, and in turn make a greater impact in our teaching and positive difference in the classroom. I began my teacher blog in January of 2013, and as a reflective teacher, it’s made all the difference for me. Read my first post here: A New Year.
To sum it all up, if we get five page views in the process of blogging and sharing….we’ll rock on with enthusiasm–right along with our students–and write on.