When I think about blogging and what I want to put into my blog I automatically think of other people. How can my blog help other people? What resources will others find useful? What have I learned that some other new teacher might not know yet? I never really thought about what I could take from my blog. Yes it is a nice place to keep my favourite resources but how else could it help me as a newly qualified teacher. This thought never entered my mind until I read an article by Maureen Killeavy and Anne Moloney on a study which looked at using blogs for reflective practice.
Reflective practice is a crucial part of being a teacher. No class no matter how well prepared we are is ever going to be 100% perfect. Some do go smoother than others but we still have to ask ourselves what made that class better than others? We are always reflecting even when we do not realise it. So how do we reflect efficiently? We are told to look back and see what went wrong or what worked well and build on that information to improve the next class. It is suggested that teachers, especially NQTs, keep a journal or diary for reflective practice. This is a nice idea but it is often not practical. Some teachers have eight classes a day and it can be hard to find the time to write in detail what made the class great. Often we find ourselves reflecting as we run down the corridor into the room that went downhill yesterday. When dealing with one class or one day this type of reflecting is often all we have time for (Not necessarily a good thing but we work with what we have).
What about the long term? How do we reflect on a month, six months or a years teaching? This is where the report says a blog can be extremely useful. On a blog we can document our thoughts and feelings throughout the year, the classes that went well and the ones that went not so well, our teaching and learning styles etc. We do not have to do a daily update but the report stated that teachers who blogged once or twice a week found it helpful to look back and see how far they had come. Some teachers reported that at the beginning of the school year as a NQT they felt alone, insecure, unequipped for some situations. After a year teaching they admitted to not realising how far they had come until looking back at their first blog posts and seeing that these feelings had improved or disappeared with experience. From the information we upload we can look back to see how we have changed for the good and sometimes the bad. We can see how far we have come as teachers. A blog has the added benefit that we can share it with others who have had similar experiences. People can comment and ask questions about your practice and offer advice and support which in my opinion all teachers need at some stage.
For this post I am talking about a reflective blog in the short term as in up to one year but imagine having something after a 30-40 year career in teaching to be able to look back at and say this is how far I have come and having one place to keep all the memories good and bad you have gathered along the way. This, I think, would be something extremely valuable and remarkable. This article has made me think about blogging in a completely new way and I hope to be able to use this new way of thinking to improve my blogging style in order to create something that can benefit me personally as well as other new teachers who may read my blog.