For What It’s Worth (On Blogging As A Teacher for Eight Years)

Jose VilsonJose, Writing

I hadn’t realized this until now, but I’ve now been blogging on this platform for eight years. I don’t feel all that different, but I’m almost certain I am.

Looking through some of my older posts, I feel like a whole different writer, probably because I got my butt handed to me on numerous occasions by different editors along the way. As a classroom teacher, I don’t have the luxury of studying in writing workshops during the weekday or staring at Microsoft Word all day until a piece is well-crafted. So, with the hour and change I have left in my day, I try to get my point across as urgently as I do my lessons.

What’s changed a lot too is the audience. It used to be a few cool kids and my significant other. Now, everyone but my significant other reads it. To wit, Central keeps blocking my site across all NYC DOE computers, but not within Central. Someone’s reading, so it ought to be them. (Thanks, DeBlasio.)

If I look at this list of education bloggers, it almost feels like there’s no reason to put any new voices out there as almost every experience seems covered. The top 50 are generally group blogs, blogs on Education Week or another big site, or corporate-sponsored blogs under the guise of education technology. Being in the top 50, by whatever metric one uses, might have done me some favors, to be sure. It’s also brought its fair share of challenges, including racist trolls and politically motivated so-called allies. My hood sense flare up almost immediately, so I can see right through these folks’ motives.

So why blog as a teacher? What’s the point if it seems most edu-bloggers seem most interested in copying the template of ed-tech bloggers or activist bloggers and never developing something new?

Because we desperately need it so that we can break the molds. If the only artifact of good teaching and blogging left on this Earth was Renee Moore, I’d be perfectly fine with that. Sadly, that won’t be the case. We’d be left with … well, I won’t name names due to politics, but suffice it to say, it ain’t cool. We need more voices that write with complex profundity, ones willing to challenge the establishment and themselves at once. I have a whole host of folks whose blogs I love and continually grow before my eyes in scope and vision, and it’s not enough. With all these folks writing about education without having stepped foot in a classroom as an adult in a meaningful way or at least respecting the voices of folks at the schools, and all these other folks who leave the classroom and work for a corporation to still call themselves teachers, we need people within the schools talking about the work of schools from a personal, professional, and political lens.

I don’t think we need more me’s, since people are only catching on to my blueprint now. I do think that people need to get more real about the conditions within schools and disrupt for the sake of progress, not for the sake of disruption. Write with risk involved. Write like the only way someone’s ever going to hear you is if you put your job on the line for what you say. As I’ve said elsewhere, go hard or go home.

Same rules apply.