It has been a year or so since I started blogging about professional issues and I wanted to reflect on what I have learnt and how I felt about the journey. Whilst I am neither consistent, coherent or very good, I have enjoyed giving myself time to reflect on my own personal and professional development. Like many others, I started blogging as a means of capturing my own thoughts about my practice and to engage in some sort of discussion about the direction of travel and the nuances that surround the decisions that we make. My ramblings may not be read by many but that is not the point, committing them to paper has been a mixture of bravery, foolishness, narcissism and cathartic release.
In some sense blogging has been a liberation, of sorts. A space to express my views on the issues that surround teaching and learning; to make sense of my own journey and ways forward, It has given me the chance to define and explore my own agendas in a way that structured INSET never has. But it is much more than this. Reading other peoples blogs has been some of the best CPD I have ever had and all from the comfort of my own laptop. Even as a dipper in and out of the blogging sphere, one is overwhelmed for the creativity and desire for change in our profession and the sense that we are wrestling (to borrow the zeitgeist) some sort of control back. Azumah Dennis (2017) suggests that
“These spaces matter. They are fun, anarchic, dissenting, punk spaces that help shape what is means to be a … professional.”
Whilst government policy and the pace of curriculum change can at best be described as shambolic, the bloggers and tweeters maintain a healthy discourse about the purpose and role of education. The subjects that are considered worthwhile are not driven by an external government agendas, we are defining the debates ourselves. Blogging is so much more than venting and storytelling. The debates and discussions may get a bit messy and we do not follow Oxford-style rules but on the whole the content is coming from a good place. In blogging and social media, we get the chance to dream big and talk of how the future might be. In committing these thoughts to the blog-o-sphere we are creating alternative professional spaces that are shaping an alternative vision of pedagogy and practice. We are questioning the very foundations of our professional practice and seeking the evidence for doing it better. Is direct instruction always bad? Does group work improve learning? How should we assess progress? We are answering Dylan Wiliam’s call to arms and discovering on how we can improve, not because we are not good enough, but because we can be even better.
Dear reader, it may not come as a surprise to hear that I have been struggling in recent months. It has sometimes been difficult to hold on to the good stuff; curriculum change coupled with institutional issues have left me questioning myself more than usual. In these moments, I have been left wondering whether it is time to hang up the chalk as I feel somewhat defeated and then I stumble across lovely blogs that remind me of the importance of our task and the joy of the classroom. I hope I find the space to keep reading and occasionally writing. To my blogging colleagues who make the tough times easier, I salute you and thank you for the light in the moments of darkness.
C. Asumah Dennis (2017) Blogging – a chance for teachers to create a public pedagogy – InTuition Research. Spring.