One year ago (ish) I started to make a more purposeful effort to write down my thoughts, reflections and ideas on my teaching and this blog was born. I should make the time to post more often and on more in-depth or research-driven topics; I have found it incredibly useful to organise my thinking here and it is becoming a personal PD portfolio.
Collecting my thoughts after recent differentiation PD – or during the summer working on my MA assignments – has been invaluable. I can come back here to see what I thought at the time, look up some of the ideas that get lost in the day-to-day madness of teaching and reflect. Although i-Biology.net has been running for five years now, it is centred around content, a defined course, and its audience is largely students or teachers looking for resources. This blog is the space where I can open up more, and try to make my own thinking on education visible; it feels more personal. Occasionally the conversation continues on Twitter or through email and it helps to feel part of a connected community of teachers as lifelong learners.
Every week there is something that pops up in my class or school, or via the twittersphere – a discussion, a video, an article, a problem – that could be the stimulus for reflection or research. We work in an exciting industry, with so many dimensions that we would run ourselves ragged trying to deconstruct them all, but with so much opportunity for personal and professional learning. I should post more frequently. Is fifty posts in a year too high a number? With the colour my hair is going, it could be the ‘fifty posts of grey’ project.
The more I read, think and write, the more I question my own practices. However uncomfortable this can feel (or however much ‘extra’ work it throws up in response), it is worth it. It is a challenge to try to rise to and I would encourage others to set aside the time to get connected: blog, tweet, learn from and with others.
Thanksgiving is not something I’d likely see my family and friends in the UK celebrate, but as a third-culture dad who’s spent most of my adult life overseas, I have a lot to be thankful for. Our HOS sent out a nice email today about being grateful, which included his list, and so here’s part of mine:
- My family, close and far: my awesome kids, my parents who are patient with the distance and above all my wife, who is patient with me.
- My students, who smile, work hard, give good feedback and and are decent young people.
- My colleagues and leadership who create a supportive and positive working environment.
- Japan, for being a great place to raise a family and explore.
- The world through this screen – the educators who write, tweet and add to the vast body of resources and discussion and allow the rest of us to take advantage of their knowledge and join in.