As it relates to professional development, I am well aware of the debate between who’s more credible: the practitioner or the researcher. They are both a necessity, but as a 21-year practitioner myself (before I became a consultant), I have an admitted bias. There’s something about learning from someone whose been in the trenches with me that captures my attention a little bit more. That is not to take away from researchers whose work in all likelihood will take them to depths that the teacher may never go relative to research studies, but at the end of the day, I still want to hear from a fellow practitioner. To that end, the purpose of this short blog post is to say to every teacher who has attained a high level of success in the classroom that YOU MUST WRITE. To be clear, when I say that successful teachers must write, there are several choices of mediums to choose from including books, blogs, journal articles, social media and op-eds. Personally, I use all five. A blog post is probably the easiest to way to get started for someone who has never written for an audience while simultaneously building your confidence as a writer. The point however is to write. Following are my Top 3 reasons why you must:
1. You have a Bird’s-Eye View of the Classroom
Who knows the classroom better than you? You are in there each and every day. You know the trials and tribulations of a classroom teacher. You know the struggles, challenges and obstacles that children bring to the classroom daily. You know what each youngster is dealing with and up against. You know the impact of the home environment on a youngster’s motivation and ability to learn. You know the impact of your own preparation toward classroom success. You know the impact of your own professional growth and development on your own success as a classroom teacher. You know what works. You know what doesn’t work. You are in the classroom. You have a credibility that someone whose never taught will never have. YOU MUST WRITE.
2. Children Benefit When You Share Your Successes
I can remember back in the early 90s and I had a few highly successful teacher colleagues that I would say to often, “You must share your successes in a book.” I felt strongly that they were doing things in their classrooms that the world needed to be aware of. Now keep in mind that in that era, there was no such thing as blogging and social media. I was essentially telling them that they needed to write a book. Writing a book is still a great option but it’s not the only option anymore to reach the masses. One can launch their own blog page (as I’ve done) and post to their social media pages (as I do). There are teachers out there who are literally waiting for you to share your ideas, strategies and successes. Teachers are always seeking new information and strategies to inform and enhance their practice and why not that information be yours? At the end of the day, children benefit!
3. Your Writing Keeps You Reflective
I speak and write frequently about being a reflective practitioner. I often make the comparison between athletes watching “game film” and teachers engaged in intense self-reflection. I believe strongly that self-reflection and self-assessment makes us stronger at whatever we do. I contend here that if you were to start a blog page and write regularly, not only are you benefitting others with your writing, you are benefitting yourself. Your words become self-reflective for you as practitioner. Through the writing process including your revisions and edits, you are thinking deeply about your practice. You are thinking deeply about what you do. You are thinking deeply about the magic and memories you create daily. But you are also thinking about your own flaws and deficiencies. You can’t help but to think about them when you are writing and reflecting regularly. If you are in fact passionate about what you do, whatever flaws and deficiencies arise will matter to you. You’ll want to rectify them as quickly as possible. It is your self-reflective process that will keep them at the forefront of your thinking. With the added dimension of writing regularly, you will be giving them the attention they require.
Hey teacher there’s a new or struggling teacher out there who’s waiting for your first blog post. Don’t procrastinate...get it done and perhaps be the difference between the success or failure of a child that you will probably never meet.