One way of determining whether this three year venture has been successful is to look at the overwhelming amount of statistical information provided by the host of this site, WordPress.com. To date, the stat page notes that there have been over 70,000 hits, the most popular search term has been Of Mice and Men, the most popular post has been Teaching Elie Weisel’s Night with Choice Books, and the most frequently used category for this teacher, not surprisingly, has been EDUCATION.
The other way to determine the success of this blog, however, is to reflect on how well writing has served as my own professional development for the past 36 months. In writing each post, I have tried to find links that support or refute a position. I have searched and researched all elements of the Common Core State Standards; read journals or policy statements from educators and education reformers; and cited hundreds of quotes, graphics, and statistics to support my ideas. Even if no one read this blog, the writing experience has been important.
Many of the ideas for blog posts come from links provided by other educators on Twitter. Many ideas come from the students in my classes or from news stories that are related to education reform. Then there are the ideas I have while I walk with fellow educator on weekends.
For example, I will notice how the ripples on the pond create an interesting pattern, and I will casually remark, “that reminds me of how students can create ripples when they discuss their book choices!”
“Well, that’s a great idea for a blog post!” she will respond.
I have discovered that I have little control over my need to write; that the impulse to set things into print is hard to ignore. In addition, the motivation to write comes at the most inconvenient times, often late in the evening, and I have seen many digital clocks click into the AM hours of the morning as I polish a piece.
“Are you still awake?” my husband complains.
“Just finishing,” and I huddle to hide the glow of the screen while I reflect and revise.
Nothing has taught me more about how to teach writing than my writing this blog. Nothing.
Nothing has made me appreciate how hard it is to meet the deadlines and requirements of assignments given to students. Nothing.
Nothing has made me more aware of how important developing confident writers is in preparing students for the real world. Nothing.
My friend, who also writes on her own blog, often quotes the scientist Louis Pasteur who said,
“In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind.”
On this third anniversary, I am confident that writing on this blog has helped me to become a more informed educator. Writing what I think about education prepares me to say what I think when I am at leadership meetings, or department meetings, or when I am teaching. I am primed to discuss any number of issues related to education because my mind has been prepared, and the chances that I will talk about these education issues is more than good.
On this blog’s third anniversary, I am convinced that the best professional development I have is to write what I think.