So everyone now knows about my blog, including fellow teachers, administrators, and other interested parties. As mentioned last night, the content of this blog was questioned by a party who was not a student or staff at my workplace. Instead of commenting about that subject, let me talk about the great experiences I've had while blogging. This is courtesy of a colleague that helped remind me that reflection is one of the most important things that a teacher can do.
-I've come to realize that I am not alone in being a "new" teacher, and the trials that I've been through are far from unusual. Knowing that others have faced the problems, and reading about it on a consistent basis, has made me change my own attitudes about students and education in general. It makes me realize that this job is harder than I thought, more intense than I realized, and more gratifying that any other job on the planet. The simple fact that I reflect on my teaching has made me a better teacher.
-I have a incredible respect for the staff and administration that I work with. The horror stories that come out of new teacher experiences make me pity their valiant efforts in education. Most don't have what I have, a staff that is up front, honest, and extremely hard working. I had the fortune to have a mentor administrator that would give me the criticism that was required, but understood that teaching is an art that will forever take time to perfect. I have the fortune to work with colleagues that are interested in creating good teachers, and making lunch time conversations intelligent and entertaining. I am fortunate to work at my school.
-I have collaborated with others around the country about educational technology, from Wiki's to podcasts, from blogging to filters, from websites to syndication feeds. I've been exposed to information that will benefit the myself, the students and the school. The future of education is here, on the blogs, and the success stories about educational technology are everywhere.
-I've talked about classroom management from every angle, from every age of teacher, from every grade level.....about nearly every situation that a teacher could face. I've adjusted my own philosophy to benefit student achievement and academic production. Last year was my best ever as an educator, and this year will be better.
-I've become more involved in the business and politics of education than ever before. I'm more informed than most in our union about the political status of candidates, initiatives, and educational politics. I've become more interested in Supreme Court cases, local government interaction, and the positive/negative impact of the Union System. I've kept the teachers informed and interested.
-I've met teachers that are people. People "out there" don't understand that teaching is all-inclusive, that it expands massive amounts of energy. While I'm discussing my trials of dealing with finding a home, a teacher in the Texas deals with boyfriends and sports, while another in New York deals with the 90 minute subway commute, while another in Kansas deals with family vacations, and still another in Florida simply wants to be a good father, and finally the new mother in the Bay Area that has a new priority. Hey look, we have other lives.
-I've created interest about topics that should be talked about. Comments about subjects have been thought provoking and intelligent. I've had people use information from this blog in news paper articles, Master's Thesis', and other blogs. One student from Bella Vista High School (page 10) in Sacramento used my post about MySpace in a school newspaper. My posts about Multicultural Credential Courses became a hot item in dozens of other blogs.
-Finally, this blog is my forum to discuss my opinions, something that I absolutely refuse to do in my classroom. The party that is attacking me about this blog stated that students have been reading it since Spring 2005, yet not a single student has approached me about it, and students still remain frustrated with the fact that they can't determine which way I lean politically. Out of the over 7000 visitors to this blog, my site statistics show that less than 2% have come from Mendocino County, less than 1% from Ukiah. I've had more students from schools outside of California visit my site than students from my school. And even if the students did find my blog, there are no names or indications of students or staff, the site is in no way associated with the school, and this blog is would become the perfect example of important government issues; the protection of the 1st Amendment, China's attack on political thought, the rights of government workers vs. private workers, the difference for student's rights on and off campus, the role of blogging in the media and society, the issues regarding Internet privacy, censorship, and finally, the realization of the importance of the American educator to the social fabric of the United States. Once again, that would be IF a student found this blog, which has yet to be the case.
I like blogging, and it is good for me and other teachers. It is the ultimate collaboration between colleagues, and I love the fact that good teaching is good teaching, whether it be in Tampa, Florida.....Halstead, Kansas.....New York, New York......Los Gatos, California.......Sacramento, California.........Seattle, Washington........Imperial Valley, California.......Washington D.C...........Denver, Colorado.........Richmond, Virginia............London, England..............Singapore.............or Ukiah, California.
Now, back to work.