On my teacher journey these many years, I have experienced changes in education. We have seen many, many different programs, many new administrators, new colleagues, and new students. Curriculum changes, administrator’s views and expectations vary, and trends in education have ups and downs.
When we refer to leaders in education, we might think about administrators, instructional coaches, superintendents, central office staff, or maybe even state education leaders. Most teachers do not consider themselves teacher leaders. Most teachers are passionate about growing the learners in their classroom.
I view this as a possible analogy to war. The teacher is on the battlefield with his/her troop trying to win the war. In order to win, you have to teach all the students (who range in ability levels) everything that they must know by the end of the year. The teacher might have to battle many things: lack of support from families, lack of student motivation, non-flexible teaching schedule, unproductive grade level teams, lack of materials, lack of funding, differing administration view, etc. The teacher is the captain in this battle. He or she is a LEADER but, (I would guess) most do not consider themselves a leader outside of their classroom.
If education were a factory, the teacher’s job would be to produce a well-educated “student”. Unlike a traditional factory our product has many variables because it is a “live being”. No two students are completely the same and no one teaching strategy fits every student. That is why teachers are constantly monitoring student learning and changing course as needed to grow learners. When the course we have chosen for a student works and the student is growing, we feel success. But when the strategy does not work we feel unsuccessful. Even if that same strategy has worked for many other students.
I think that because teaching students cannot be a ones size fits all approach, teachers feel less like professionals. If people feel less like professionals, they also feel less like leaders. Most teachers like to hear from other teachers about what is working for them in their classrooms. Sharing ideas and strategies has always been a way for people to grow their skills and grow students. Most teachers don’t feel completely comfortable sharing ideas, strategies, etc. publicly. Blogging is a relatively new form of presenting information publicly. Blogging is a way for teachers to sharing ideas that are working in their classrooms and blogging provides for a MUCH bigger audience.
We have been challenged this semester to create blog posts as teacher- writers. Moving beyond just being a teacher who teaches writing to writing publicly. I think this is an opportunity for teachers to share teaching practices, activities, etc. with other teachers. You are able to upload pictures, videos, links, etc. to help the reader have a good understanding. This could branch out to include parents and members of the community. Even more importantly, our blogging about student learning and teaching could play a role in creating awareness of student needs by allowing administrators and policy makers to see and understand what is working in classrooms and possibly what is not.
Blogging has been a new endeavor for me and as with most things in life, you improve the more you do it. I began my blog posts with inviting the public into my classroom and sharing with them what they might see in regards to writing instruction. Strolling Through First Grade. In later blog posts, I shared specific writing lessons I conducted in my classroom and included how the students responded to the lessons, materials, and each other. I also shared how I had to view myself differently in my writing lessons so that I could be the most beneficial to my students through conferencing. I hope that my blog posts could be of use to other teachers who may be embarking on the same teaching adventures as I am.
In future blogging, I would like to share how I feel that writing instruction has improved for my students as I have experimented with curriculum resources that we have had the privilege to borrow this semester. I know that our county is going to beginning implemented new writing resources in the next two years. I hope to be an advocate for what I have seen to have real success in our classrooms this semester