In the way blogging goes, Will Richardson wrote a great post yesterday “To Blog or Not to Blog” which then inspired Chris Sessums to ask a question six hours a go that I hope you'll answer.
So I ask you, what motivates you to blog? Would you do it if you knew no one would read it? And what happens when you become “popular”? Do you worry about what you will post next, whether it will be well received? What happens when you become a victim of your own success?
So, I posted my answer in the comments and it was this:
I love this quote by Jim Carrey taken out of Reader's Digest “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.”
The intrinsic desire of teachers is to transform and help those they teach become a better person. So when a natural born teacher meets the blog, I find that my innate desire to help and teach others takes over. To teach not only my students but others.
When I learn something that does work or doesn't work I build my knowledge base. That's great. But when I die or move on to another career or time passes that knowledge base goes “Poof” and dissapears into knowledge oblivion. But when this knowledge is documented and passed along then the knowledge becomes part of a greater knowledge base and it helps others.
Blogging is a natural attractant for teachers who love to teach. However, if I wanted to be rich and famous, there are many more efficient ways to do that than to teach! Give me a break!
I'd like to add a few notes to my comments. It seems in the circle that both of these men run that there are many questioning the motivations of those who blog. “You're doing this for fame, recognition, etc.”
The Numbers will Suck You In!
As a former numbers kind of person from my business days I had some trouble at first looking at these numbers. I have to temper looking at them.
I realized this several weeks a go. In bloglines I had over 40 subscribers and then when I went home I had 35. I didn't realize that bloglines caches things and there are differences in numbers between computers. So I got upset. I honestly did!
It was dumb and stupid and ridiculous but it bothered me. Then, I had to take a look at this blogging thing and why I do it. I came to a couple of conclusions.
1- I love to teach.
2 – I love to write.
When I was a kid of eleven I set several goals to accomplish in my life. I also, set my last goal: to write things that make people's lives better.
Sure, I'd love to write books. But blogging is even more unique than books. You see, books can be read in a day. Blogs could be read over a lifetime.
I love helping encourage my students to be better, reach more, be more, set goals, keep a positive attitude, be moral, and all of the things I think are vital to a good life. By blogging I can share with others the same things I research to teach my students.
I feel called to write just as definitively as I feel called to teach. They are so intertwined that they cannot be separated.
3 – I want to leave a legacy.
My nine year old daughter wants to be a teacher. What if something happens to me between now and then? I have my sister and mother who are both excellent teachers. They advise me, give me wisdom and encourage me when times are tough. I believe that by documenting my unguarded day in day out observations that I'm leaving behind encouragement and knowledge for those I love who may follow the trail.
4- I want to set an example.
I want to set an example and understand this new medium as I teach my children and students to blog. How can you teach a novel if you haven't read it? How can you teach a technology if you haven't used it?
5 – I want to be an excellent teacher of technology.
I saw the Internet thing coming in 1990 and sat back.
I see Web 2.0 emerging and hear the same objections and closemindedness of those who fell victim to wave 1 of an ever increasing storm surge of technological evolution.
I cannot allow students to leave my room opposed to change with closed minds towards technological evolution! They have got to be enlightened, equipped and educated!
I am a better educator since I have become an edublogger. Period.
Yes, I was excited when my rankings moved up into five digits on Technorati. But, that is more now just an odd byproduct of something I just love to do. I will not allow it to drive my moods and emotions. I do not sit around and dwell on what others think about what I write. I know why I write and that is why I do it!
I write because I love it. There is so much more to life than the pursuit of fame, money, etc. There is work worth doing. That is teaching, and this new interesting conundrum of blogging.
So, question my motives or whatever. But it seems to me that those who spend their time questioning motives may not have any other things to say. We are all human beings with good and bad motivations in many things we do. If you're looking for perfect people or perfect bloggers then don't look in the blogosphere, you won't find them!
Edubloggers, do not let anyone sway you from your convictions and your work. Adding to the knowledge base of education is a worthwhile pursuit.
Blogging can be a noble calling as long as noble people are willing to blog!
Remember your noble calling, teacher, edublogger!
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Hi Vicki, I’ve been subscribed to you in Bloglines for a while now, but haven’t left any comments before. This post resonated, I suppose, because I frequently think about the cost/benefit ratio of being a teacher-blogger. You’re right, the numbers can blind us. I know that I’m guilty of caring too much about them when I think about the benefit side of the equation. It’s a little bit like the question I also ask myself about the difference I might be making with students. Sometimes all it takes to brighten a difficult day/month (you pick) is a visit from a former student, a positive comment from a parent, or a kind word passed from a colleague. We often don’t know. Sometimes it’s simply a matter of faith.
I enjoy your insights and your enthusiasm for what you’re doing. I’d also like to say that I like the way you use typography. I was missing quite a bit by just reading your stuff on the aggregator. I suppose that would be an example of “teaching by example.” :)
Thanks for your good work.
Thank you, Doug. I did need to have my day brightened.
One of the things that has always bothered me about bloglines is the loss of formatting. I do have a feedblitz feed at http://feeds.feedburner.com/CoolCatTeacherBlog that should give the correct formatting for bloglines.
Thank you for the design compliments as well. I really needed your compliment.
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