Monday, June 18, 2012

Why Blog?

As I reflect on my continuous evolution as an educational leader I am constantly amazed at how things have changed over the course of three years.  It was in March of 2009 that I decided to give this social networking tool Twitter a try.  At the time I was skeptical about whether my time was going to be well spent posting updates in 140 characters and whether or not people would actually care or be interested in what I was doing.  Obviously my perception of Twitter early on was completely wrong as it has radically molded me into the leader and educator that I am today.

After nearly a year of using Twitter from an educational perspective I had begun to find and read blogs on a daily basis around February 2010.  I often marveled at the creative thought and passion that so many educators put into their writing.  Envious would be a more appropriate word.  As I became active on Twitter members of my Personal Learning Network (PLN) began to suggest that I start a blog.  Well let me be the first one to tell you that I am NOT a writer and always struggled with expressing my thoughts in words.  My mind was set in concrete that I would NEVER under any circumstances begin to blog (wait, I said the same thing about joining Facebook up until 2010).

So what changed?  The most important factor that influenced me to begin a blog was my PLN.  Had it not been the modeling by and support of so many unbelievable educators I would NEVER, and I mean NEVER, started blogging.  The support I received gave me the courage to share my thoughts, experiences, and ideas with others who have a stake in the noblest profession.  My reflections led to a belief that I actually had useful information to share that might be utilized to help other educators grow, think, take-risks, and eventually share their success stories.

I absolutely relish the fact that I now utilize my blog as a vehicle to share the successes of my students and staff.  Sharing is the key word here.  The concept of a PLN and immersion in the educational world of Web 2.0 has shown me the unselfish nature of educators as they constantly strive to help each other day in day out.  Why do we do this? The answer is simple, we want to ensure that students succeed!  No one person or group has all of the answers.  Each and every educator has something to share.  Blogs now provide a valuable set of services to educators in a time when our profession desperately needs it.  These include mentoring, professional development, encouragement, ideas to reform the profession, and most importantly inspiration.  They also show students, parents, and community members how passionate we are about what we do!  For me blogging has also become a portal to discuss strategies and ideas that have not only helped to transform my school, but also my leadership style.

Why do I blog? I do so to give back to those people that have helped me break free from a traditional mindset and hopefully inspire others to do the same.  I blog in the hopes of challenging my own thinking in order to continually grow into a transformational leader.  Finally, I blog to be transparent.  I want to brag about my students and staff while providing examples of innovation.  My blog, at times, illustrates that sustainable change can and is occurring in schools.  There might not be a better conduit for learning from practitioners or medium for public relations than blogs. If it wasn't for Twitter, my PLN, or the support of my family and NMHS community, this post along with all the others would never have been written. THANK YOU!


  1. I blogged for years - and actually still do, just not as much as I used to. I too would talk about my students, my school, what I was teaching, and a little bit about my 'social' life. But now I spend more time 'reading' than posting. Now I have yours to read also. Thanks!

  2. Thanks Eric - I blog for many of the same reasons. One of the things that always strikes my is how hard it is to convince others in education about the importance of developing a PLN. My PLN has really shortened the learning curve as I move to new opportunities within my division. It is really amazing how much you can learn but listening and sharing with others.

  3. Thanks, Eric. You describe so well a cycle which I recognise also, and one which got me started blogging. I began using Twittter (also in 2009) and began to build an amazing PLN. I learned so much from other educators -- their work, their examples, their stories, their successes and failures. They inspired me to go beyond my comfort zone and to try new things with my students, to *really* learn with my students. I am a far better educator today thanks to my PLN. Once I realised how I had learned and grew from my connections with others, well then I felt it was imperative to do the same... to share my own learning. I created the following slide to illustrate this cycle.

    Many thanks for your blog and your sharing -- keep up your great work!

    1. ... "grew" should be "grown". Typing too fast! :)

  4. I've been involved in these activities for less than a year but my own learning has increased exponentially thanks to the easy exposure to new ideas and conversations. Sometimes I take some shots for my blog (good-natured ... usually) but it has been an invaluable tool for clarifying and sharing my own thoughts, and it is at the very least a useful record of an ongoing journey. Yours is one of my favorites. Keep thinking and keep writing. Thanks Eric for your contribution to the culture of learning. PJ

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  6. Eric,

    Great post! I'm starting a blog-based learning program through my tutoring company I want my students to become self-motivated learners so I am having them create and manage a blog which they update regularly throughout the summer. The goal is to get them excited about learning and become life-long learners . . . I also hope to get them involved in Facebook and Twitter. Let me know if this is something you'd like to support. I would love to have your ideas on the program.

    Thanks for everything!

  7. Eric, the Lord has blessed you with many gifts including that of an awesome writer. You are an inspiration to those of us that are where you were in 2010. May God continue to use you as a role model to others. Thanks for your leadership. Jorge

  8. I can dig it, Pal.

    One of my own personal commitments over the course of the next year is to spend more time in the comment sections of the blogs that I like to read. Not only will that help me to polish my own thinking because I have to craft a reaction to what I'm reading, it provides confirmation to the blogger that their ideas are being heard -- which matters when it comes to motivation.

    The first thought that I had when reading your bit was, "What have I done lately to support other new bloggers?"

    The answer, sadly, is "Not much."

    I think the trap we fall into when we start writing is, "I can't wait to hear what people think of MY ideas!" We follow the responses that we're getting on our own blog -- as well as the retweets and traffic our bits are getting in other social spaces.

    But that takes time away that we might otherwise spend as careful listeners and social partners.

    Do you ever find yourself falling into that trap?

    I guess I'm feeling selfish today -- and I'm not super proud of that!

    Just thinking out loud here...

  9. Bill,

    In many ways I feel exactly the same as you. Unlike other bloggers, I am not too concerned about comments on my posts and rarely ask people to specifically make them. However, I greatly appreciate those that take the time to provide feedback, validate my points, or add counter points to my thoughts. Where I slack, similar to you, is commenting on other posts be both new and veteran bloggers.

  10. I do so to give back to those people that have helped me break free from a traditional mindset and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

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