I had a great, but short, blogging run my first year teaching in Virginia. I was a very idealistic, young progressive teacher at a very traditional large public high school with over 200 teachers. I started my blog because I wanted to blog with students and I thought it would be hypocritical of me not to do the same myself. I continued because I was desperate for a community of teachers eager to change education for the 21st century. Blogging allowed me to connect with these teachers all around the world. (I’m ashamed to say I stopped following nearly all of them, though they’re back on my reader account now).
After a year of sporadic blogging while pursuing my master’s, I took a job teaching Social Studies at a new progressive public school in NYC, the Bronx Lab School. I joined a staff of 20 dedicated, motivated, passionate, and open minded teachers, and instantly found the community I didn’t have in Virginia. I stopped blogging towards the end of my first year at Bronx Lab because I no longer needed a separate community outside of my school, and I couldn’t quite figure out to what extent the lessons of the edublogs I was reading, most of which seemed to address teachers of middle and upper middle class students, applied to the world in which I found myself. I was also working five times harder due to my students’ greater needs and the immense work necessary to build a new school and just didn’t have the time.
In the past four years, I’ve grown tremendously as a teacher and a leader, adding my English certification, National Board Social Studies Certification, and a position as my school’s union chapter leader. I am again in search of a new community of educators, not because I don’t have one, but because I want a larger one and have figured out my situation well enough to be able to take lessons from anywhere. Once again, I’m motivated to blog again by a desire not to be a hypocrite: next year I will take on a a full time regular English class for the first time, and will be trying to help build an independent reading program which my school piloted this year. I don’t see how I can ask my students to grow as writers without being an active writer myself. I also want to model a love of reading through this blog. And conveniently, having recently sworn off professional sports and saying goodbye to my mild Lost obsession, I find myself with more time on my hands to devote to this.
I’m not sure who the audience of this blog is, if anyone. Right now, I see three kinds of posts happening on a regular basis:
- Thoughts on the books I’m reading
- Reflections on my planning and teaching of English and Social Studies
- Thoughts on school reform and educational policy in the US and NYC through the eyes of a union rep who does not always agree with my union, but strongly believe in the continued importance of teacher’s unions in public education.
The blog itself is a work in progress, and will probably continue to be for some time, but I wanted to get started writing. I imported all my old posts, but left them uncategorized to differentiate new and old content. It’s going to take me some time to get the lay of the land as I have been largely absent from the online world for the past four years (amongst other things, I totally missed Twitter). Updates, feedback and advice from anyone who reads this will be greatly appreciated.
Welcome to Outside the Cave 2.0.