A Genius Wish: Blog More & Learn More

I wish I blogged more on my professional blog.  An ongoing Genius Hour challenge  I have for myself throughout the summer and into the next school year is to blog on a more regular basis.  Currently I blog about once a month.  For the amount of thinking I put into life decisions and education this is not nearly enough.  About a year ago I wrote a post  1 More Fun Lane to Travel In.  In this post I quote about the reason behind why I blog:

“I blog because I love to share. It also helps me make my way around perceived stop signs in my mind into an open highway lane of learning to be explored.”

In reflection I realize I need to blog more frequently to forge new paths into an open highway of possibilities.  I need to allow myself personal time to do this.  I am a better educator when I share my story.  Sharing is learning!  I know this is why many educators blog.  They want to make sense of what matters to them and by sharing it they improve their practice and in turn improve the learning opportunities for the students they are entrusted with.

I do a lot of thinking, blog reading, and have many engaging conversations daily at school with @gallit_z, @vendram1n, @jpulvers, @skc99@teacherrempel, and countless others inside and outside the walls of our amazing school relating to teaching, learning, motivation, and engagement.  I am excited by learning and believe everyday is a great day for learning.  However, sometimes I find blogging difficult to do with the challenges of balancing a young family, my health, and the personal responsibilities that come with being an educator.  I realize I need to let go of trying to making things perfect.  I just need to get my ideas out there and let others question them and make sense of it.  By doing so I am giving myself an opportunity to refine my ideas and use peer feedback to help me question my own thoughts and improve my learning.

I have a number of posts I have started, but I just haven’t pulled the trigger on to finish.  Reflecting back on our classroom this year and last year I understand some of the struggles some learners in our class had with completing their posts in the timeframe we asked.  Sometimes more thinking and reflecting needed to be done in order to feel confident in the finished product for the larger audience they are expecting to read their posts.  Other times they just needed encouragement that their opinion and voice matters to our world.  In writing this post I think of George Couros’ post Resiliency and Grit, Not Failure.  In it he talks about the importance of modelling grit and resiliency in our students and giving them opportunities to practice facing problems that are difficult to solve.    This is one of the powers blogging gave my students the past couple years.  When a post doesn’t go the way they think it should go it should not be seen as failure.  Failure is giving up and not demonstrating grit (hard work) and resiliency to obstacles.   I realize I should be looser with deadlines and be more giving of school time in order to encourage their authentic voice to shine through on their blogs.  Creativity in expressing ideas does take time.  I need to be more flexible with it.  I also need to recognize those moments when I need to give of my time to model that my voice matters and encourage them that their voice matters too.

True learning comes from letting go of fears and being honest with yourself in talking about the bumps and turns in your journey.  A lot of my fears when writing is whether something is good enough or is clear enough for my intended audience.  In turn by making my learning visible to a bigger audience I also directly or indirectly have the ability help them understand and make sense of their journey.  This is powerful stuff knowing my words and ideas could do that.  This responsibility weighs heavily on my mind before I press publish on a post.  I need to get over this and trust my gut and continually work to inform my opinions, be selfish, write to improve my learning, and subsequently improve myself as a person and an educator.

Be awesome everyone!  Today is a great day for learning!  Share your learning with others, so you can help yourself better understand it and for others to help make sense of their own.  Today marks my 2 year anniversary with learning and connecting with others on twitter.  The journey continues!  Thank you to my personal learning network for supporting me and for sharing your learning with me.

Hugh McDonald

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9 Responses to A Genius Wish: Blog More & Learn More

  1. T. Henriksen says:

    Happy Anniversary, Hugh!
    It’s been quite the ride, hasn’t it?

    I feel the same way as you have – I really want to blog more (and be more connected) next year. Things got so busy this year that I wasn’t able to be as connected as I have been in the past and it actually made me sad. I get so much from others – reading their tweets and their blogs. There are so many great educators (like you) who inspire me every day because of the wonderful things they share.

    So, let’s push each other and help each other stay more connected and blog more next year, k?

    • You inspired me to take the leap into twitter and blogging. I am so glad you shared your early experiences because it helped me understand that I could be more than a consumer of content. I interacted with people about education pedagogy, found my voice, and began sharing my journey with others. I realized I am a learner. It is my responsibility to myself, family, students, friends, & colleagues to continue to grow and share.

      Thank you Tia!

      Let’s keep blogging! :). I look forward to your next post!

  2. Hugh,
    I agree with so much of what you say here… These lines got to me as I try to do my own Genius Hour project just as I’m asking the kids to do – “I realize I should be looser with deadlines and be more giving of school time in order to encourage their authentic voice to shine through on their blogs. Creativity in expressing ideas does take time.” I haven’t learned this from my stints at blogging, but I should have – it should’ve been quite clear to me, as I only put up a blog post when something is very important to me or it’s something I feel others could benefit from. Should I be doing more blog posts as reflections, as I know it clears my head (and “helps me make my way around perceived stop signs in my mind”) like you? Maybe, but I write much slower than I speak, and I hash out so many reflections with my husband when I get home (no children here to spend time with, so I get tons done)…

    Thank you for this post – it grounds me a bit. I sort of feel guilty for not blogging more, but I realize it’s not a priority of mine. And I’m getting the point – I can’t make myself do things that are not a priority, just as I can’t force my students to do something well if it’s not a priority for them. I’m slowly getting it… Thanks so much for this post, Hugh! (It’s nice to have the time to read it!!)


    • In reading your response I am reminded of, “Obvious to You but Amazing to Others”. We are our own harshest critics and sometimes we need to be more willing to share our thoughts in order to make a difference in our own ideas or the ideas of others. This is still something that I still struggle with. My wife hears a lot about what I say in blogs prior but my ideas are often cemented once I sit down to write and make sense of them. Thank you for responding.

      Blogging takes different paths for us all. Something I come to realize is that Twitter is a blogging format but in a much smaller scale. I’m not shy to share on a micro blogging site so why should I be on my own site.

  3. Gallit Zvi says:

    I am with you, Hugh!

    I wish I was blogging more..and I also have all those drafts saved that I haven’t quite finished yet. In fact, I just deleted a few because they are too outdated now (reflections on Calgary, why I stopped teaching spelling OVER A YEAR AGO…haha…oops). Like you, I want to be more consistent with my blogging…I really enjoy it and get a lot out of the reflection process.

    So, I am with you, buddy…a New Year’s resolution (new school year, rather than calendar year?)
    And I am reminded of a quote I read somewhere on the #20time MOOC (not sure who to credit it with, sorry) but sometimes: “Done is Better Than Perfect”.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I, too, could blog (more), but at least add value to what I create. Am preparing my #ProfessionalLearningPlan now.See more@bisasi #LearnGrowImprovetheWorld

  5. Hugh,
    Everything you wrote has probably been in most of our brains at some point since we each joined twitter and the global community. In January I shared with the world that I was feeling overwhelmed and a bit burnt out. What I have come to acknowledge and embrace to some extend, there is no “should” when it comes to blogging. If we do the “should” we are no longer doing it for ourselves or being purposeful.
    Yes, there are times that I have many topics rolling through my mind but I am no longer overly stressing about sharing at specific points. Like Joy I tend to hash out my reflections in my head, with my colleagues and sometimes with my husband (hard to do when he doesn’t understand the ins and outs of this profession we love). When I have the time I will put this out to the world. Just remember your children need you more, your wife needs you present, and your health – well that goes without saying.
    Your post reminds us of the importance of blogging but remove the ‘should’ and you will write and publish when your world allows for it and it will be awesome!
    Thank you for continuing to be such an inspirational educator. So lucky to be a part of your network.

    • Thank you for the advice Anne-Marie. I hash a lot of things out too but sometimes for me they don’t become clear until I get them down. Trust me when I say I’ve had many discussions with Denni about different things I am trying to make sense of in the education world. When I was referring to “should” I was referring to the purposeful writing that helps me make sense of things in my realm of the education world. Right now my world allows more time in the evenings to hash out some of these things, catch up on reading, and spend time with family and friends. Life is good.

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