In one week from today, I will be at the Atlantic City Convention Center for the regional meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. I am delivering a presentation on blogging as reflective practice. I am deeply honored to have been accepted to make the presentation and I hope that I'm able to help anyone who comes to the session.
And all I can think about is what a fool I was to start blogging in the first place.
I love getting feedback from other teachers who say they find comfort in knowing that they are not the only ones going through what they are. We (the teacher-blogger community) spend so much time talking about the great things that we do. This isn't a problem except that when things go poorly, as they often do, it's easy to feel as though you're alone.
I wish I had fewer failures to share, but I'm glad that my failures can help others.
And, to be honest, they help me too.
Writing this blog has forced me to look back over my day and examine what I think I did well and what I think didn't go well. It is a ritual and a commitment that I've made to myself. Most days, I open a blank page and sigh sadly, wondering what I'm going to talk about. I stare at the empty Blogger form and wonder why anyone would read what I have to say.
And yet, I keep writing. I start a post and let it flow through my fingers. Like going to the gym, the hardest part is starting. Once I write the first sentence, I keep going.
I dread the first sentence.
Somehow, this blog has come to define what kind of teacher I am. I'm not sure that was my goal when I started. I'm honestly not sure what my goal was. I had just met a ton of amazing people and I may have been trying to impress them.
Next week, I'm supposed to talk to a group of teachers who, I assume, have read my blog (because why would you come to my session if you aren't interested in me or blogging). I'm supposed to give them advice and pretend as though I know what the hell I'm talking about.
No matter how long I write (389 posts over the past 27 months, a post a day for every day that I've taught over that time) I still don't feel as though I'm any sort of expert on writing or reflection. There are tons of teachers out there with more to offer on this front.
But so what?
It's a false belief to think that just because I don't consider myself an expert that I have nothing to offer.
Over the past 27 months, I HAVE written a post for every day that I've taught, as well as some that I didn't. I can't tell anyone how to be a writer, or how to blog, or how to teach. What I CAN do is relay my experiences to them and offer my assistance. I know (to a certain extent) what has worked for me and I'm happy to offer that to anyone who wants it.
Since the summer of 2013, I have written almost a million words of reflection on my teaching practice. That's not nothing.
In fact, it's quite something.
The momentum of it, however, is unnerving to me. I missed my chance to stop. I should have quit at the end of last year. With a new school, new grade and a new subject, however, there was tons of pressure to continue, both internal and external.
I now feel as though I'm committed for the year and have mixed feeling about it. Writing is exhausting, especially when you're pouring out your soul.
Hopefully, my willingness to continue to do so will help others as well as myself.
So what should I talk about next week?
I have less than 165 hours until NCTM...