Before I started blogging, I now look back and realize how all over the place I was with some of the initiatives that I was hoping to implement within our schools early on in my school administration career. I felt that with all of the great things that I read through on Twitter or other social sites, that I wanted to implement all of these in my own school. I have learned and understood that this is something that is (and can be) extremely frustrating to a staff. Although I am sure my staff knew I meant well, if we were to jump on every “great” initiative, I know we would never become a “great” school. Too much energy is expended on implementing too many things, as opposed to narrowing our focus and getting to that transformative stage in our learning.
Then I started blogging and it actually helped me to slow down and FOCUS. I started to be more thoughtful, critical, and reflective of what I was learning and was not so quick to jump on things like flipped classrooms and BYOD. As I continue to read the book “Humanize“, one of the quotes that stuck out to me regards what great leaders do:
“There are, actually, plenty of books that can inspire self-reflection, buy nothing beats taking the time to write in a journal. The best leaders we’ve ever met all keep journals, so we think it is a good habit to develop.” Notter and Grant (2011)
So I look back at my own “journal”(my blog) and see some continuous themes that seem to come up in my writing (“What is best for kids? Narrow our focus. Start with your why. Transformative learning) and how they have led me to actually be more proactive in the work that we do, as opposed to being more reactive to everything we see. Before I started blogging, I would tend to be much more reactive than proactive. By looking back, it was much easier to look forward.
But here is the thing when your “blog” is your journal. I can google what I have learned. This may not seem like a big deal (and didn’t) when I first started but over 500 posts into blogging, it makes a huge difference. I have no idea how I would have done this if I would have wrote all of my learning in a book. Often when moving forward, I literally google search my own work and by effectively using “tags” and “categories”, it has been much easier to find what I have learned before. (It would also be easy to talk about how I have also developed my digital footprint as a learner but that is for another blog post.)
As I continue to work with groups, I focus on the importance of reflection and how it is crucial to moving forward. The challenge I have received (as with many initiatives) is that there is no time. My response has been that reflection is part of your work. It is important that you make it part of your day, as it should be a part of your student’s day. We cannot just continue to dump information into our (and our student’s) brains without giving or making time to reflect. It is essential that there is creation and connection along with consumption.
If we do not take time to look back, how will we ever be able to move forward?