Whenever You Get Those Moments, You Blog About Them

Jose VilsonEducation, Jose8 Comments

Blogging Requires Passion and Authority

This morning, Bill Ferriter on Twitter ranted a bit about an e-mail from a disgruntled hater who called his blogging an exercise in self-fellaciating (if that’s even a word). Naturally, Bill was quick to distinguish between those who believe that their blogging not only becomes a central part of the reflective process for their practice and those who simply use it to show off a little. Do edubloggers really reflect in these given venues? How much of it would we consider constructive and fructuous labors that push the national agenda for the teaching profession and how much of it do we see as an exercise in futility and self-serving, looking for pats on the back for doing what they’re supposed to do?

I thought I had a real answer to this question until I finished teaching the morning. Topic: angle relationships with two parallel lines cut by a transversal. Yesterday, I prepared them for the topic by introducing a visual glossary for them to use, reminding them of all the names of the angles they’d seen since 6th grade. They were sharper than I thought they’d be, actually using words like complementary and supplementary to discuss the relationship between some of these adjacent angles. Of course, we had to work through some of the harder problems, like when the sum of two adjacent angles was equal to one whole vertical angle, but then they were steam-rolling through these relationship. Even with the little annoyances, I was rather satisfied with how it went today.

So satisfied, in fact, that I stopped with about 2 minutes to go, where my students started annoying me (in a good way this time). They discussed some of the images they found of me on Google Images, and the social networks I might be on, including Twitter.

One of my smart-asses said, “Yo, Mr. Vilson, I got 100,000 followers.” I told him, “Maybe you should watch your house.” Laughter ensued.

Moments like this make me wonder what teaching was like when we didn’t have to worry about some little curmudgeons and sycophants crunching in numbers, making equations, and churning out pretty pamphlets for mass consumptions trying to establish a firm relationship between standardized test scores and true teacher effectiveness. These moments I share with anyone willing to subscribe to my rants, or accidentally run into this mess through a string of search terms or a click from a referral.

And I guess that’s the whole point of blogging. In spaces where critical feedback and camaraderie may not exist within a school (for various factors), the ability to make one’s own network of professionals willing to discuss critical issues has become paramount for growth.

In other words, blogging isn’t about us specifically.

That’s the whole point of doing what we do. Even when it’s completely non-sequitur, there’s an understanding with edubloggers who take this seriously that there are people of like minds and interest willing to share in their experiences, often hoping they’ll get pushed further in their profession.

Even if the moments are ridiculous. At least I know someone’s reading it. And nodding along.

Mr. Vilson, who has mannerisms even my kids are starting to imitate well. Ugh …

Comments 8

  1. I blog about Early Childhood Education and find it to be a great way for me to check myself. Right now I am at a new site and it is totally different than any other that I have ever worked at. I find that when I sit down and key my thoughts on a specific aspect of my teaching, it brings a form of clarity that I need. Which is important to me as a professional.

  2. Jose wrote:
    Even if the moments are ridiculous. At least I know someone’s reading it. And nodding along.

    I love this line, Jose, because it represents all of the reasons that I blog. Sometimes I feel completely isolated in my building even though I’m surrounded by over 100 real live colleagues. When I’m writing on my blog, though, or on Twitter or in any of the other digital spaces, I know that there are other like minds out there who are going to find value in my words—-or who are going to at least push back against any flawed thoughts in my work.

    They’re my real audience.

    Sure, tons of people read what I write. They link to it, they share with others. But there’s only a small handful who interact with my content and engage in conversations with me on an ongoing basis. It’s that handful that I care the most about because I see them as intellectual colleagues and friends who are willing to help me reflect.

    The togetherness makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside—and I don’t feel warm and fuzzy all that often!

    I once thought I would blog even if no one read what I was writing simply because the reflection was worth it. That’s not totally accurate though because the best reflection is done transparently with a small handful of peers. That’s what my PLN Posse lets me do—and it’s cool.


  3. Ah, to be so well read you can actually feel the warmth of your readers. I totally agree Bill, that a small group of colleagues is the best medicine but I started blogging because of you, as did others.

    One of the reasons I read you (Bill) and Jose, besides our personal connections is that you both write with inedible passion. It is this passion that inspires me more than content even. Whenever the Olympics are on I am reminded of this fact. Watching someone who has trained for years, practiced, competed, won, lost, given so much to their passion, and then to see it realized in the public light is inspirational. Just like you guys.

    Bill you are like a down hill skier, charging through the profession like a bat out of hell.
    Jose, more of freestyle mogul skier, skill combined with style. Thanks for the lift up the hill brothers.

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    Deb, thanks for dropping by. I think about it, and that’s a big part of why I do what I do. At least that’s how I was “raised” here.

    But then people like Bill and NYCEd, who I’m constantly bigging up in my posts, made me realize I need to embrace the “crazy” a little bit, and by crazy, I mean opinionated-flagrant-usually-family-friendly-but-personal-pop-pop-pop. I finally found a way to be eloquently angry, and that works in my favor more often than not. Those things are Bill and I consider normal in our minds may just be what the doctor ordered for others reading, especially since we’ve been commissioned to be the voices, even when we’re not getting “paid.”

    John, I appreciate your analysis of my style. I try not to do too many flips or I’ll land on the sidelines. Don’t wanna break anything too valuable.

    I like the word indelible.

  5. It is a word (but you misspelled it, teach–smiling).

    Anybody who blogs to tell the what what they think, without being willing to listen to what the world says back–then respond–has missed the point of blogging. Bill Ferriter is the master, of all teacher bloggers I know, at doing just that. We can learn from Bill.

    Good thoughts, Jose.

  6. As E.M. Forrestor wrote: “Only connect.”

    As one who reads you and nods along whenever time/life/blogging permits, I’m glad you are putting your moments out there and, perhaps without knowing it, encouraging others.

    ciao for now
    Please stop by to see my lil shout out to you & Mary MacRae Warren; you both have made a difference in my thinking/blogging.

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