I fell like I should re-name my blog “Posts of randomly somewhat put together thoughts.” Anyway…
Someone just told me yesterday that if you bring a problem to the table, you should also bring a solution. The problem is, change doesn’t occur when people are given answers to questions they haven’t asked.
A few minutes ago I was sitting on the…well it’s not important what I was sitting on 😉 …and I was thinking about how many of my blog posts sort of ask people what kind of teacher are you? I don’t write about great positive things and say here is how you could be super awesome, but rather focus on some of the evils that teachers can bring to the table without even knowing it. Even in my last post I talked about how we set kids up for failure, rather than how we should set them up for success.
When I was done thinking I hopped on the computer and the exact same conversation was occurring on twitter between @pepepacha, @kellyhines, @spedteacher, and @iMrsF –sorry if I missed someone-the conversation is probably still ongoing!
I often think about my posts and consider writing the “opposite” of what I planned–write how to-do something instead of what not to do. Each time I don’t and feel guilty.
When I read about someone’s positive “here is how to get your kids to_____” post I might think it’s a good idea and want to try it but I don’t connect with it, I don’t question it or my practice. If I am reading about something I have never done before it is hard to be reflective on my past practice. It doesn’t make me question what I do, because it is giving me the answer for how to do something that I never knew I needed the answer to. When I read a post from someone questioning what I am doing, pointing out problems with things I do, I begin to question my practices, my beliefs, I challenge myself. If I question something I begin searching for answers–sometimes I makes changes to my practice, sometimes I end up doing what I am doing better because of the reflection and research.
As I am writing this it makes me reflect on my teaching style. If a student does something I question it, which makes them question it, which if they have a “no” response makes them seek a way to make a positive change.
Student:What do you think of my thesis?
Me choice A:Here is how you should change it to make it stronger…
Me choice B: Does it inspire the reader to ask “Why?” or “How?”
Choice B has the kid say “yes” and move on, or “no” and go back to their seat to fix it–if they can’t figure out how to do it they come back up to me where they are met by more questions. Eventually they have a rock solid thesis that they came up with, and have gone through the thought process on how to get to a solid thesis.
Do “positive posts” not let readers in on the thought process on how to get to the positive?
Ahh…I am going to totally shift where I was going in this post…is the simple answer to whether a blog post is negative or positive determined by the answer to the question “Does it inspire the reader to ask ‘why?’ or ‘how?’ about their own practice?” Would writing a post about the ills of educational practices that leads the reader to shift and question what they need to do to change be more powerful than writing a “Here is the change you need to be” sort of post?
It’s almost like every post should come in pairs. One week here is the problem, chew on it and reflect. Week two here are some possible solutions to the problem.
I guess in the end that many of my posts reflect a struggle going on inside of me about one of my practices. I don’t question the positive stuff, the things that would make for smiles and laughs. I beat myself up for all the negative ones. I am in a period of my career in which I can reflect on nearly 20 years of experience. I am in the most tumultuous period of my career. I can really examine and reflect on my practices in a way a five year veteran simply cannot do. I am looking to find ways to be a better teacher. That means I have to examine some pretty cruddy things that I might be doing through a lens that can see twenty years into the past. That crud is what I reflect on in this blog.
Maybe that is why many blogs veer towards the negative or sound whiny. Therapy can be expensive, blogging is cheap. How often do we reflect on our sucesses? How often do we reflect on our failures? Do you go home and obsess about the 98 kids who passed your class? or the two kids that failed? Do you obsess about the 10 thank-you emails from parents? or the one you suck email from a parent?
Ok so I promise, another post wil not appear until I write one that reflects on a positive teaching practice of mine. If you blog…how about you doing the same? It can simply be what do you do really well and reflect on how you make it happen!