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Truth in Sharing

Posted by: | April 20, 2013 | 4 Comments |

A close friend of mine once shared some good advice – share the positive stories. Keep your tweets positive. We need to know the good things that are happening in education.

I agree. There’s so much negative in education these days, that we need to ensure people read and hear all the amazing things that are happening.

I have so much for which to be grateful, and every day, my students do incredible things. It’s easy to share what they’re learning, what they’ve discovered, the funny little things they say. So much good happening!

To be honest, though, I want to be sure to provide a balanced version of what happens in my classroom. If I’m too “Pollyanna,” am I misleading anyone about what happens on a daily basis? If I don’t share the struggles along with the successes, am I giving people the wrong idea about our learning journey?

And if I’m keeping with that honesty… there are some days that are just HARD.

There are days where steps forward that my students have taken all come crashing backward, and it feels like we’re starting all over again. I really believe in the inquiry-based classroom, but there are challenges.

This is the TRUE picture of our classroom:

  • Some days, we misuse the freedom we’re given.
  • Some days, we are not able to manage the independent learning structure, and we get needy. Even the simplest tasks are outside our realm of abilities for those days.
  • Some days, we just want the answers given to us instead of searching and making our own decisions.
  • Some days, I expect more from them than they’re able to do in one setting.
  • Some days, I get frustrated with things that aren’t really related to my kids.

However, if we look at the learning involved in the difficulties, we find some really major life lessons in those struggles. And as the teacher sharing what we do, I need to be certain to share what ISN’T working just as much as what IS.

I’m really proud of my students. They have come such a long way this year! Have I been as open with what’s troubled them as I have with their successes? Probably not. Maybe that’s my learning curve.

 

How do you balance those things that you share about your classroom? Two bloggers that I follow regularly, Shelley Wright and Deirdre Bailey, are really good about that balance. You should read them, if you don’t already.

And finally, are you sharing more about what YOU are doing than what your STUDENTS are doing? I admit it’s easy to do sometimes, but I really feel it’s more important to put the focus on the kids. If we’re in this for that “rock star” status, we’re doing it wrong.

Thanks for reading. I value your feedback.

under: Teaching and Learning

4 Comments

  1. By: Philip Cummings on April 20, 2013 at 3:43 pm      Reply

    It depends on one’s reason for blogging, don’t you think? If my blogging is primarily as a place for my own reflection then hopefully I am considering both the good and bad about my practice. Post will primarily focus on me with some student work and learning scattered in. If I blog to communicate with parents and connect my classroom to the world, then perhaps the spin will be mostly positive and focus mostly on the students and their learning. If the goal is “rock star” status, well, then I have no idea what they should do…maybe wreck their hotel room at ISTE? ;)

  2. By: Dean Shareski (@shareski) on April 21, 2013 at 8:54 pm      Reply

    Philip has a great response and I’ll add to that your blog in particular should be about having the conversations you want to have. I applaud those that share about failures but don’t necessary think that everyone will feel comfortable having those conversations here.

    As I encourage and promote reflective practice for my students I use to point to the Shelley Wrights as exemplary practice. I still think that’s a wonderful way to use this space but I’m now convinced it’s merely one person’s choice to share in a specific way, a powerful way albeit.

    I love a good “I sucked today” kind of post as much as the next person. I just know some are having those conversations elsewhere and the fact they’re having them at all is most important.

  3. By: Michelle Baldwin on April 22, 2013 at 11:45 am      Reply

    Thanks, Dean and Philip, for your responses. Much appreciated!

    I don’t think it’s just about blogging. I know people use blogs for a multitude of reasons, and sometimes that doesn’t include reflection. Nor do I think we should post about every instance of “I sucked today.”

    I guess my point came about when someone DM’d me asking how all my activities are so successful all the time. This was a person with genuine frustration in her classroom, and she was only seeing successes from my classroom. After a lot of thought, I realized that I was painting a pretty rosy picture of what happens daily.

    Don’t get me wrong – I think that particular “balance” needs to be mostly positive things. Occasionally, I think I need to show the reality that not everything works as planned, sometimes we have bad days, and that the struggles usually teach us more than the “easy” days. For me, that needs to happen in my blog, on Twitter, and in F2F conversations more often.

  4. By: Philip Cummings on April 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm      Reply

    I get that, Michelle. For me, the most helpful posts are the ones where people are honest about the frustrations and difficulties of the job. I can connect with that. I love teaching, but I think it’s hard (and rewarding) work. It’s nice to read others who have a similar, albeit mixed, experience. I love Shelley’s writing–it’s raw and honest. John Spencer also writes that way. It’s why I am drawn to them and why they have strongly influenced my teaching and thinking. I try to invoke that same honesty as I write, but I’m still developing that voice.

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