Six Weeks Turns Into Six Months

I was pulled away on a Thursday afternoon to have a chat with the project manager. Not really sure what it would be about I went in without any expectations. After a short while I realized what was happening and was beginning to feel hopeful. “Monika, we love what you have done here and the work you’ve been putting in with resources and how to change the programs.  I know that you are going on Safari this weekend – take your time and travel if you like – but instead of flying home after that, we’d like you to stay here as the Education Officer for our project.” Before she finished asking, my heart had already said yes. Continue reading

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The point of my blogging, how I lost sight of it, and how I’m getting my groove back

When I first decided to create a blog, a teacher once asked me, “Well, what’s your main point in even having one?” I remember replying very enthusiastically with thoughts like: I want to have my own thinking be visible and not be stuck in my head so much, I want to share my ideas and hopefully have other people contribute or change my ideas based on comments they’ve made or other links they might lead me to..

But then I started blogging, and I noticed that maybe I’ll have one person look at it every once in a while. And in all honesty, I was pretty sure it was on my own self clicking on the link to see what it looked like on the world wide web to a complete stranger. This left me feeling unmotivated and discouraged because I felt like I was talking to this great void, bursting with ideas but because it was going nowhere.. I started to write less and feel a little insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

And then another thing happened: I would have things to write about while I’m out TOCing, I get home, I start writing but then I get preoccupied with grammar, fixated on diction, and then I wind up with all these entries that haven’t made it to “post” because of my own insecurity about how I write and what it might say about me as a professional or even a person.

I was on a hike with a dear friend of mine and he asked me why I cared so much and I explained how I was worried about grammar and all the little things and that’s when I caught myself. I value my ideas more than I value how they are said. I know that I can be grammatically correct and I have the capability to write a thesis and long essays but my original point of this blog was ideas, not the forms of writing. I always tell my students, don’t worry about spelling or grammar right now, those things can be negotiated later – it’s more important to get those ideas down, that stream of consciousness and the beautiful things your brain and heart can come together and create – than to worry about an apostrophe’s placement or if it should be semi colon or just a plain old regular colon.

The best way to have the highest student performance is to have the perfect balance of stress

So, things are going to be different now. I’m going to post in a way that worries less about the nitty gritty details of writing and more about the importance of ideas being writ. As for the great dear void that I seem to write to, well eventually that void won’t be so empty and one day will be filled with colleagues of mine whom I can connect with and find inspiration from. That is my hope, and that is what I see for myself in the future. Much like my feelings about being a TOC, who wants to be an integral part of a school community but has to drop in and fly out, I want my little speck of impact on the blogosphere be connected with a community of like minded individuals wanting to develop their teaching craft further and connect with one another.

I’m not going to worry if my ideas change over time because I hope those who do read my blog realize the dynamism of the ideas I have and the opinions I hold. I’m forever trying to find ways to change not trying to find ways to stay static or of a particular dogma. By postponing my posts (pun!) I’ve missed the point of my blog entirely. My blog is meant to capture my learning, my ideas and my growth. But in delaying what’s being thought, by preening and playing with how I’ve said it, it loses it’s relevancy over time.

This could also depict my own interest towards my ‘unposted posts’ after they stay ‘unposted’ for too long.

Staying relevant and current is important and is important to our students and their learning as well. As teachers, we have to have their prewriting to draft to good copy all done within a particular time frame to keep the relevancy of that writing in their lives and their excitement on paper. Otherwise, creativity falters and you’re less likely to receive a final product with pride if they have too long to finish it and it’s done poorly. So putting time limits on activities is important to give that jolt to work and urgency needed to inspire their best work.

So here are my new blog rules for myself: remember my purpose, proofread once, hit post once it’s written, stay relevant. 

Also, because I love to nerd out over things almost unnecessarily, I’ve inserted two graphs. One was introduced from a former teacher/mentor of mine, Ray Appel, about student performance in timed activities and the other I made based on my personal findings with blog posts and interest/relevancy which you could also relate to how I even feel about my own posts that I leave alone for too long.