Earlier this week, I read a blog post by Doug Peterson, in which he reflected on an article he read about the benefits of blogging each week. Doug’s thinking around regular blogging — which for him is daily instead of weekly — varied from the article. He decided to create his own list of five reasons and was curious to hear what others thought. I commented at the time and promised to publish my own list of reasons.
For the past few days, I’ve been contemplating my five reasons, and I think that I’ve finally finalized my list.
- It makes me feel better. For me, blogging is largely about getting my thoughts and feelings out in the world. My teaching partner, Paula, and I publish a daily blog post, which allows us to reflect on student learning and plan ahead, while also giving families insights into our classroom practices and the thinking behind the choices that we make. This daily reflection often helps make a more challenging day seem better, as we can view the big picture of learning instead of perseverating on those one or two moments that might seem more overwhelming or stressful at the time. I also blog weekly on my professional blog. Usually this publishing opportunity gives me the chance to process big feelings, seek advice, and/or share things that work. There are not always answers to my many questions — and I do share multiple wonders — but sometimes knowing that you’re not alone and that you’ve shared the thoughts that are bubbling up in your mind all week, make you feel better. It’s cathartic to blog, and almost 12 years later, I’m glad that I still do so regularly.
- It allows me to connect with others. While most of my blogging is done professionally through this blog and monthly through The MEHRIT Centre, my audience for my blog posts are varied. I share links to these posts with our families, as well as with educators and administrators from around the world thanks to Twitter and Instagram. I appreciate that the conversations through these social media platforms, through email communication with families, and through blog post comments often give me new perspectives and stronger relationships with others. On Wednesday night, I facilitated my first book club discussion on Self-Reg: How To Help Your Child (And You) Break The Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage With Life. Virtually meeting each of the participants, it was interesting to hear how many of them mentioned my blog posts. This writing connected us before many of us actually “met.”
- It helps me make reflecting a priority. When I was in The Faculty of Education, I used to joke along with other teacher candidates, about the number of times that professors mentioned reflection. But especially since I started working with Paula over five years ago, the amount of time that we spend reflecting far exceeds anything else. It’s the questioning and wondering that drives planning — whether it be for the full class or for individual students. Blogging is a great way for me to reflect, as it allows me to not just share ideas, but also share thinking. In many ways, blogging has helped me become more comfortable with reflecting — especially in a more public forum — since I do blog so regularly between my professional and classroom blogs.
- It gives me a voice. I’m not necessarily a quiet person, and with good friends and family members, I often have a lot to say. Give me a class of kids, and I can also always talk. My parents love to joke that I didn’t talk at all until I was three years old, and I’m now making up for lost time. 🙂 All of that being said, in a large crowd or in a gathering of colleagues — particularly an informal one — I’m not likely to say too much. I might be thinking a lot in my head, but many of my thoughts remain in there. Blogging helps those thoughts escape. It gives me time to process what I want to say, carefully consider the word choice, and share when I’m ready.
- It allows me to see the progression of my thinking over time. As I mentioned already, I’ve been blogging professionally at least once-a-week, for almost 12 years. I’ve published 1,328 posts, and that’s just on my professional blog. That’s a lot of writing. The interesting thing about this is that I tend to circle back to some favourite topics, which over the years have included, play, Self-Reg, technology, parking (as a metaphor for just about everything in my life), and inquiry-based learning. Sometimes I like going back and reading what I wrote before on these topics. What are the similarities? How has my thinking evolved? How might I feel going forward? Blogging provides a record of these reflections and the space to return and reflect again.
As Doug mentioned in his reply to my comment this week, there are many different reasons to blog.
Reading about these similarities and differences is interesting, but might also serve as inspiration for others to give blogging a try. Why do you blog? As blog readers, what benefit(s) of publishing do you appreciate the most? I hope that others will take Doug up on his challenge and maybe even provide a different perspective on why publishing matters.