Monday, April 18, 2011

Is blogging really worth it...?


I really enjoyed your most recent blog post titled, "My Principal doesn't need to blog." I have a lot of respect for you, and I really enjoy following your blog and tweets. This particular post caught my eye and after putting some thought into it, I am ready to respond.

I am not an administrator, but I am aspiring, so I feel I have something to add to this conversation. Here are a few examples of administrators sharing valuable and useful information:

Patrick Larkin (@bhsprincipal) - Patrick works at a high school where they are preparing to go 1:1 with iPads. Fortunately for others, Patrick has allowed anyone following his blog to read his updates, thoughts, and reflections on his school's transition. Additionally, Patrick's high school hosts technology sessions for community members, as well as offers the opportunity to watch some of the more controversial movies related to educational reform.

Lyn Hilt (@L_Hilt) - Lyn has recently started a blog for her school titled, "Brecknock Happenings." Lyn is using this blog to help streamline communication among her staff, as well as inviting members of the community to see what is going on in the school. Lyn usually includes links and additional resources her teachers can use to improve their instructional practices. Additionally, Lyn is modeling one of the many ways blogs can be used in an educational setting.

David Truss & Dwight Carter (@datruss & @dwight_carter) - David and Dwight each shared posts about their #noofficedays (David's post, Dwight's post). Though the idea is not earth shattering by any means, it still brought attention to the fact that many administrators simply spend too much time in their office. I have personally shared these two blog posts with my building administrators, as well as several other administrators in neighboring districts.

Tony Baldasor (@baldy7) - Tony wrote an excellent post about transforming what a school or classroom environment should be like. I really enjoyed reading the post titled, "The Coffee Shop Dilemma," because it highlights the need of schools and districts to create environments that are appealing and suitable for our 21st century students.

Tom Schimmer (@tomschimmer) - Tom has just been a superstar when it comes to blogging. His posts are inspiring, enlightening, and most importantly, I am always in a reflective state after reading something he has written. Here is the link to his blog: "Learning-Leadership-Life."

Now, I would be willing to bet that while these great administrators were writing these blog posts they were forced to reflect and think about the programs and initiatives they were implementing, and as such they probably made modifications and adjustments. Additionally, though many of the comments were probably positive and in praise of such efforts, there were most likely a few suggestions and/or constructive criticism offered up through the comments.

I totally understand where you are coming from when you say a principal's time may be better spent doing "actual" hands-on principal type responsibilities; they are extremely important. Being visible in classrooms, establishing strong student & teacher relationships, embracing the wide range of school activities, as well as having time for your family, are all crucial to running an efficient and effective school.

However, think about all the great ideas that have been shared by these great administrators. I assume that most administrators wanted to get into administration to have a much larger impact. They felt having a positive effect just on the students in their classrooms wasn't enough. They wanted to positively affect the lives of an entire student body and an entire community. Well, here is their chance to help not just their school and community, but rather any administrator or Educator that comes across their blogs.

I have written several posts about why I blog and why I think it has helped me tremendously, and I believe I am doing all and even more than what my "typical" duties require of me as an Educator.

Ryan, I value your opinion and will most definitely continue reading what you write. You push me to think, reflect, and consider why and what I am doing as an Educator. For that, I thank you.

In closing, if and when I become an administrator, I will continue blogging. I will blog not just for my own sake, but also for those who are looking for advice and potential assistance when it comes to running a school. The ideas and pieces of knowledge being shared through blogs have enabled me to grow into a better and more well-rounded Educator, which in turn has helped me perform at a higher level when it comes to my "typical" duties.

You don't have to blog to be a great administrator or Educator, but I feel blogging just might be that missing piece between a great Educator, and a super great Educator. For the sake of myself and others, I hope administrators continue blogging so we can all learn and grow from their experiences.

- If you are reading this post please take a moment and check out Ryan's blog. Furthermore, I would like to thank Ryan (@ryanbretag) for starting this great reflective conversation.