Saturday, January 31, 2015

Blogging is Not a To-Do List Item

Sometimes we don't know how good we have it until it is gone. The Blizzard of 2015 in New York sent some cross-continental friends whatsapp-ing me two days ago to check if I was out of harm's way. Some of them think I'm still in New York state. It brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. My dad used to worry about things like these. It is a blessing to be a child of someone. To have someone worry about you; enough to call and wonder if you are safe in a ghastly snowstorm. What an honor and privilege.

Today, serendipitously or via divine intervention, in a parallel sense, I had some breakthrough thinking about blogging which arrested my previous perception of blogging as an item on my weekly to-do list. I stumbled upon a Twitter chat session led by Vicki Davis, @coolcatteacher, and moderated by Shelley Burgess, @burgess_shelley. I had followed Vicki on Twitter just a few days ago. 

This morning as I was checking the weather outlook on my smartphone, I looked at my Twitter Following stream and a surge of tweets were showing up under the hashtag, #satchatwc. What caught my eye was Vicki's tweet: 
Riveted, I kept on reading the tweets surfacing at rapid-fire pace on the small screen.

And the tweets streamed on for a considerable period of time. You can read the entire tweet collection via Storify. I was blown away by what these teachers were sharing about "Reinventing Writing," a theme based on a book written by Vicki Davis.

I didn't stay till the end but these teachers' tweets inspired me to rethink my writing and blogging habits. Don't get me wrong, I have loved writing since I was a child. I have many personal blogs which I used as means to communicate with my close friends in other continents. I know my blog is my space to share some of my thoughts. But like the blind man Bartimaeus, I felt like the scales had fallen off my eyes today. This tweet by Vicki made me realized how privileged I am to have a space to blog. Correction, many spaces to blog:
I can blog on Blogger, WordPress, Rampages, Tumblr, anywhere, without restriction. Yet, I don't write as regularly as I used to -- I journaled extensively when I was a child and when I was a college student. I had resisted participating in Curious Creative's 28-day writing challenge to write for 28 minutes a day (nah, I can't write a post in 28 minutes).

Vicki and the #satchatwc educators highlighted a few things to me. As Greg Miller (a principal) says, "At heart, we are still teachers." Blogging is a way for me to not only model consistent reflective thinking but to also S-T-R-E-T-C-H my thinking. If I want my student to think deeply and clearly, I need to be doing that regularly for authenticity. Likewise, I want my students to know that my asking them to blog is not a burdensome chore. It is an honor to be given an opportunity to voice our thoughts. Never forget that. Reading some of our student blogposts on confirmed that. I was moved each time by the blogposts I had selected to  read -- example 1 example 2 example 3. If they only knew that their emotional labor (and invisible labor) was noted by someone, how encouraged they would be. We need to work at providing comments to these students' blogposts. (Some strategy needs to be crafted). I don't think these students are getting enough feedback.

Maybe we don't have time to blog or comment because of our hectic schedules. For me, I am going to make it a habit to write something more than once a week. I who have it so good -- access to so many resources and the freedom to voice my thoughts. Let me not hesitate to let my voice ring out more often for socially interactive thinking (citing Steve Wyborney)!

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