Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It's All About The Blog! #EdBlogNZ

I thrive on challenges and I love to blog.  Combining the two - now that's just going to have to be magic! 

It's ironic really - since the 3pm bell heralded the end of what can only be described as a 'mare' of a term, I think I have subconsciously checked out of of the digital world and mentally 'deplugged’. 

 Sort of.  

I have responsibilities that can only be shelved if I leave the country (I know other leaders know what I mean), so avoiding email is irresponsible.  I am also inherently curious (some might say nosey) so I've checked Facey, the Tweetsmosphere, and the Herald Online for the latest in Rugby World Cup drama.   But I confess, it's been half hearted and lack lustre.  Instead I have been attempting to recharge, soak up some sun (goodness knows there has been little of that in recent months), walk on the beach, remind my family I am indeed a wife and mother, and I have even read a book - a real book, with real paper and everything!   The only thing I have yet to conquer is that I have still not quite shaken the persistent head cold (it is incredible how much mucus one body can produce which can only be described as eww) but it is a work in progress.  

However, it is a good thing I am inherently curious, because it was in my half hearted scrolling through the Tweetsmosphere that I discovered the #EdBlogNZ challenge!  I am reasonably active on Twitter so I am not sure how I missed it.  I suspect my over worked, tired and ‘full of head cold’ brain dismissed it.  Or I was pretending to hide under a rock - either works!

So here I am, all inspired and keen to participate.  There are three levels of the challenge - Absolute Newbie, Casual Blogger and Blogging Legend.  Despite a small dry spell (I am totally blaming it on the ‘mare’ term) in the last little while, I believe I  qualify for Blogging Legend.  

So, here we go - challenge accepted and let the blogging begin. 

Week One Challenge 2. 

Why I Blog:

I started my blog nearly two years ago, and I chose to start it during the busiest term of the year.  I decided that if I could find the time to write during term four then I would be able to make it a habit, and that I was showing people I had spoken to about my passion for writing, that I was committed to it.  Hard as it was, it was the best decision to make.  I had finally decided to take writing seriously and I have always said that the best way to improve your writing, is to write.  

Here is why I blog. 

I blog because it ‘scratches’  a few proverbial itches.  Firstly, it keeps my inner monologue happy which in turn means it is  less likely to be keeping me awake with ideas in the middle of the night.   My muse is an active wee beastie, and I find I have ideas and wonderings all the time.  I find inspiration from many places, and inspiration can strike anywhere.  It is not uncommon for me to jot ideas down onto the Notes app on my phone or the odd post it sticky! 

Secondly, it gives me an outlet for recording my ideas, my wonderings (of which I have far too many) and for sharing insights, the odd gem and some of the resources I have made.   The bonus for my staff, and those who I hang around with is that the more I blog the less likely I am to bother them with all my ‘thinking’.  

Thirdly, it helps me consolidate my thinking and if this is of use to others, then that is a good thing.  This is particularly true for when I am at a workshop or conference.  I have a system that allows me to easily go through my notes to find the ‘gem’ that I want to write about later.  Writing about it helps me innovate and to evolve as an educator. 

The fourth reason I blog is because there are stories to be told, and best practice to uncover - and the more that we as educationalists share the good stories, the better placed we are as a profession to advocate for the things that are best for students.  We have an important role to play in terms of celebrating all that is innovative, quality and to be strengthened in education - especially considering the Global Education Reform Movement (G.E.R.M)  and its attempts to subvert this, around the world.  It is our profession and we must be the ones that advocate for it!  

Finally, I like to write, and I am passionate about education, leadership and advocating for students.  I have a vision abut writing, and blogging is a small step towards realising that vision (more about that some other time).  

What do I blog about?

Good question and this really made me think.  

When I started I had a wide range of things that I wrote about, which included some of the things outside of education that I am interested in.  As time passes and I hone my skills, I have honed my topics.  For the most part, I write about education and leadership.  I still love to write about some of the things that I am interested in outside of school, and I especially love creative persuits - especially those that are designed to inspire others.  Now I mostly link this kind of writing to leadership.  

My educational topics vary.  For the newbies out there, firstly let me congratulate you on taking the step of starting.  They say (have you ever wondered, who are these elusive ‘they’ are?) that a journey starts with a single step.  Your first blog post is your first step, and it will be the hardest one you take.  Preserve - the reward is a more settled mind when you go to sleep, and the satisfaction that you created something. 

To help you out on your journey, and to fulfil the requirements of the challenge in my own way, I have listed some topics, and a corresponding blog post.  They may provide you with some inspiration or give you a little gem of an idea from which to sprout your own post.  

Education Related Topic Samples:

Educational Coaching - this is an area I am very passionate about, and one that I find as such a powerful tool to assist our team (teachers, teacher aides and support staff) to reach their potential.  

Leadership - I have been a school principal in three very different but amazing schools.  Each has been a journey, and each has been a privilege. As such, I have encountered just about every kind of leadership conundrum you can think of - and a few that were major lessons learnt.  If my insights can be of use to anyone else, then that is a good thing.  At a minimum, writing about leadership helps me consolidate my own thoughts, and if this in turn improves my own skills then that has to be a win win.  

Educational Piranhas  (about taking the personal out of appraisal) 

Change and Self Review - these are topics close to my heart.  Change is a constant in education and self review is a critical component of our work.  The following blog post is a post that encapsulates both topics. 

Inspiration - I like to (when I have time) create posts that help others.  Often they are reflections of things I have noted and sometimes they are posts that give little bits of wisdom for others.  it is my creative side being exercised. 

The Self Esteem People People Suckers - you know who they are, they are the people whose very being sucks our self esteem out in order to build themselves up.  

Posts inspired by courses, politics and or issues in education - this post is a conglomeration of all these things.  

Dangerous Ideology - the Neoliberalization of Education (particularly designed to explain and demystify what neoliberalism is, something many teachers and lots of the public misunderstand) 

Innovation, Student Voice and Agency - these are topics I am passionate about, and I enjoy writing about them.  

Teaching Practice - there are so many great things happening in the educational world and this starts with what is happening in our own schools - have you thought about writing about what you see happening? 

Current 'Hot Topics' - these include a range of things including Modern Learning Environments! 

As you can see, there are many things you can write about.  The most important thing is to start.  Make a list of things that 'spin your wheels' and write about what you are passionate about.  The great thing about the #EdBlogNZ challenge is that it provides inspiration and motivation to start or to pick up from where you left off!

I am looking forward to this challenge.  It is always good to get some external motivation, and for that I am most thankful.  

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