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8 Ways Blogging Makes Me A Better Teacher

116120_88871.jpgI have found this year that I have been making a lot of progress on my own personal teaching style. It’s my 6th year to teach, and I begin what could be seen as the downhill slope of teaching.

Now that I am pretty adequate at getting children to be and stay quiet throughout class so that I can teach them, I run the risk of slacking off and stagnating in my teaching technique. The whole if it’s not broke, don’t fix it mentality could very easily take over.

But that’s not the case with me. Why not? I believe that a lot of it has to do with my own personality of one who pursues excellence. But I think that blogging also plays a key role in it.

So I have put together a list of 8 ways that I think blogging make me a better teacher.

  1. Self-Reflection
    If it weren’t for blogging, I would honestly get home and focus on my personal life. Visions of cafeteria duty sure wouldn’t dance in my head until I rolled into the parking lot the next morning. As an edublogger, I find that I am having to continually come up with new content to write about.
  2. Storytelling
    Dan wrote an awesome article entitled Design + Storytelling where he discusses the corolation between storytelling and teaching skills. Awesome stuff.
    He writes:


    Storytelling is a skill that lends itself so well to the classroom, regardless of your formal training.

    He goes on to write:

    I’m just going to add here that the person who can manipulate those small structural cues will not merely tell a better story but succeed in every field for which controlling someone’s emotional response is a priority. And I can’t name any career outside the hard sciences for which it isn’t a priority.

  3. Presentation
    I am a natural nerd. I am an auditory learner. I hate group work. I hate worksheets. I don’t really care for videos or games. My favorite method of learning is lectures. I don’t know how to take notes, because I hear things and absorb the information. That makes me a lousy teacher, because not everyone else in the world learns that way. In the blogging world, I don’t care if I put pictures in the posts. Even so, a number of people have told me that they really enjoy when I do put them there. So I do it. The same goes for when I differentiate my teaching and try to help people of many different learning styles.
  4. Marketing
    You don’t get 146 blog subscribers without at least a little bit of shameless self-promotion. As an elective teacher, marketing is vital to the success of my program, and it is important in keeping people enrolled in my class.
  5. Problem-Solving
    As I said before, blogging forces me to come up with stuff to write about. As I do that, I am forced to analyze some of the situations in my life and try to find out why the work or why they don’t work. I like to think of this blog as a resource rather than simply an online venting platform. Effective resources have answers to their questions.
  6. Networking
    If I don’t have the answers, someone else does. I read other blogs and do research online. Often, that simple effort will lead me in the direction of an answer. Reading other blogs also helps me to gain new perspectives. These are perspectives that I wouldn’t have without blogging. Even if I were to talk with every teacher in my school on a regular basis, they often don’t open up as much as many bloggers seem to online.
  7. Entertainment
    I like reading blogs. It fills up my free time. Some of you people are great writers.
    Some of the most learning I do is when I read comments that people post on my blog and even on other blogs. The depth of information that the readers have is great. I have found that those people who leave comments despite not having a blog really add a lot to the conversation as well.
See also  Three Years of So You Want To Teach?

I really wish I could encourage more of you to get a blog. If you don’t have one and at least want to try your hand at writing a little something for a blog, mine is always available for guest bloggers. Click here to find out more.

Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

Joel Wagner
Joel Wagner (<strong><a href="">@sywtt</a></strong>) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. <strong><a href="">So You Want To Teach?</a></strong> is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

9 thoughts on “8 Ways Blogging Makes Me A Better Teacher

  1. These were great points! I really hadn’t thought storytelling, presentation, and marketing as it applied to blogging before. I totally agree with the other points. I wish more new teachers would blog for reflection and when I teach a course this summer to teachers, I may make it an assignment.

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I started blogging to increase my collaboration with other educators. Yet, I am learning that there are more ways that it is a benefit to me. I also enjoy it because I believe that it challenges me to continue to write. I believe that writing on a regular basis strengthens my ability to teach writing in the classroom.

    This is great encouragement to blog on or start blogging.

  3. I agree. I find that blogging has undoubtedly made me a better teacher by reflecting on my own practice and being encouraged by others. If you’re interested in presentation and storytelling you might be interested in how it relates to film making…

  4. I suppose this is why many teachers have their students keep journals. I never got into it, but blogging really appeals to the teacher in me and lets me share what little knowledge I have with others. I also love the conversations that it produces.

    I love what Trina said, about how it makes you think about the subject in deeper and more creative ways. I will be the first to admit that I repeat topics from time to time. When I do that, I have to pretend like they are new.

    Case in point: 5 Surefire Tips For Handling Misbehavior, 5 Ways To Win When Children Test Your Limits, Are You Still Out of Control In Your Classroom?, and Arguing Is Normal, Isn’t It?

    Similar subject matter, but different takes on it.

    I see a blog sort of like a new student coming to a class. The procedures and groundwork have already been established, but the new visitor doesn’t know what has already been discussed. So it is the responsibility of the teacher (blogger) to make sure the new people feel just as welcome as the veterans…

  5. The point I like about blogging as a teacher is participating in professional discourse outside of my group of friends, teachers in my district, and in my school.
    Over time I see blogging as a way that teachers will build a body of knowledge unique to classroom experience. It also enables me to participate in conversations about Ed Policy with policy wonks and journalists on equal footing.

  6. Lisa, yes! It is a plugin that I found. It’s called WP-Print. Click there to go a whole assortment of plugins that seem to add quite abit of functionality to your blog. I haven’t explored too many of them, but when I redesigned the blog this month, the printable feature was something I really wanted. So I sought the plugin out and plugged it in!

  7. Joel:

    Thanks for this great post! I am just starting to blog with a friend of mine, and it is much more difficult than I realized. It has become a bit discouraging because I find myself filled with doubt that I have anything to say that will help others. Your post reminds me that blogging is a worthwhile activity that will enhance my teaching and will hopefully help me inspire others.

  8. Lee Ann, just keep plugging away. When a brilliant idea pops into your head, blog about it. If all you do for a while is just develop your blogging voice, that’s time well-spent as you are building the blog.

    Link to other blogs so that they can know you are out there and some of their readers might drop by. It’s a slow process, but it will take off if you keep it up.

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