For the better part of the past decade, I’ve been writing here on the Radical. In fact, this is my 927th post. That’s pretty darn hard to believe.
Whether I’m transparently wrestling with a common challenge, sharing an instructional strategy that has worked in my room, or creating visual slides that communicate core messages in provocative ways, I like to think that my contributions to broader conversations about teaching and learning have value — and given that readers pay nothing to access my content, I’d say they are getting a pretty serious bang for their buck!
And I know full well that blogging carries tangible value for me. I dig the fact that I have an audience and a voice and a following. I think it’s neat to see my content bouncing around Twitter. And I absolutely love it when folks I admire think that something I’ve written is legit. But that’s not why I blog.
I blog because I think it’s my responsibility to share.
The simple truth is that most everything that I’ve done professionally has been inspired by someone else. Whether it’s Dean Shareski pushing my thinking around assessment or Chris Wejr pushing my thinking around Honors Assemblies or Diana Williams and Kristen Goggin pushing my thinking around purpose-driven learning in the classroom, I learn a TON from folks online. Their willingness to give has made me a better practitioner. Blogging is my way of giving back. I see it as a responsibility. Being a creator is my way of repaying the space for all that I have consumed — or stated more simply, if you are going to take, you darn well better be willing to give.
I blog because it gives me the opportunity to reflect.
Being an effective practitioner means constantly reflecting — on the changing nature of learning in a digitally connected world, on instruction that leaves students both inspired and engaged, and on the impact that things like crippling poverty and crappy policy has on practice. The simple act of articulating complex ideas in writing here on the Radical forces me to refine and revise and polish my core ideas.
That makes blogging a fundamentally selfish act. The real value of the hundreds of hours that I spend behind the keyboard every year isn’t the content that I’ve shared with you. Instead, it’s who I’ve become as both a teacher and a thinker as a result of the effort that I put into every post.
And I blog because it opens me to challenge.
The most beautiful thing about “the digital revolution” is that it is participatory. That has fundamentally changed the relationship between writers and their audiences. Need proof? Then leave a comment on this post. Challenge my thinking. Disagree with me. Point out something that I’ve forgotten. Or build on my notions. Take my post and create something new out of it. Generate your own list of reasons why blogging makes sense and then share it back here.
That kind of interaction has value, y’all. Every new post is really just another opportunity for us to think together. I’ve had readers introduce me to thoughts I’d never considered. I’ve had readers bring new perspectives to conversations that I simply can’t share. I’ve had readers call me a complete idiot. In EVERY situation, though, I grow. That’s what learning together is all about — and blogging has given me the chance to learn alongside tons of people that I may never have crossed paths with in person.
Any of this make sense to you? I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m grateful for the attention and audience and voice and power and credibility that being a blogger has brought me — but strip all of that away and I’d still write twice a week most every week.
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