Free Blogging: True Confessions – I would have been the student…

who had no idea what to do. Yesterday, I asked my students to come to class and blog about anything they wanted. Some were prepared and jumped right in. Others took a moment but also quickly got focused. Then, there was a third group who wanted me to assign a topic. I thought about how they were unprepared for the freedom of choice, used to being restricted by the system, etc. I had experienced this before with free research days. What was new to me yesterday was the realization that I would have been one of these students who struggled with the choice, and for many reasons.

I would have wanted to know what my teacher really wanted so that I could do it. I would have worried that something I chose myself would not be interesting enough – something about the pre-approval of a teacher created question is very appealing. I would have wondered what everyone else was writing about and self-consciously compared myself. I would have worried that others could read it and joyously judge me. In other words, I was fairly confident in my ability to follow teacher directions and execute reasonably well. I was not at all confident in myself or comfortable in my own skin.

So – have I gotten over those fears? What would I do today given free reign on my blog Technically I do have that since I choose to blog. But I find that I have created a niche for my blogging. I only blog about my teaching and my classes, really. So here goes…

Technology outside of the classroom. I am a bit of a tech junkie. I check email, Facebook and Twitter regularly. I like to stay on top of things. Having an iPad has made the situation both better and worse. It is better because I do not have to get up from the couch to do any of those things. It is worse for the same reason. I like feeling connected and have been well served with the commiseration I get from Facebook and the inspiration I get from Twitter. Yet, the ways tech is creeping in are growing, including my new obsession with watching the points go up (or down – thanks to my Green Bay defense last week) in my Fantasy Football games. I like keeping up, but I am less focused on the game (unless it it the Ravens). The experience is altered. I think I need to try to watch an entire game without checking anything at all. One of my students wrote about mindfulness yesterday. I may need to work on that – being present, in the moment. So, this Sunday, I will leave the iPad aside and try not to miss it too much.

Having said all of this, the Presidential Debate would have been very dull, even unwatchable without the chat room on TodaysMeet with other teachers and students.

Am I wondering if anyone will read this and how someone might respond? Do I worry that people I know and do not know will judge me? A little bit. Will I ever be completely comfortable with blogging? I don’t know. Is this good for me? Absolutely.

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2 thoughts on “Free Blogging: True Confessions – I would have been the student…

  1. Just started by 9th graders blogging last week with similar results. Most needed a topic while for some the prompt, “Anything that stuck with you this week” was enough. By the end of last week I was upset that they weren’t going to “get it” by the end of this week I was more encouraged. I think it just to a few to really cut loose on their blogs and others started to follow. Just curious, what tool do you have them blog with?

    • Thanks for your comment. I have been aware that being given academic freedom is challenging. I had not really considered the social aspect that is so important to many kids. Creating an atmosphere of trust and validating student ideas helps to make the space more comfortable for them. There is always pushback at first. I let my juniors pick their own platform; some use the same blog for more than one class. For my sophomores, I have set up a class WordPress blog, and the students will rotate posting with a few writing each week. I will provide a prompt or two but also allow them to choose their own topics if they want. Connecting them to other student blogs has been powerful for them. All in all it is a work in progress – for blogging and just about everything else!

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