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 …