A Blogging Journey

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 6.41.27 PMWhen Liz Cho-Young began this academic year, she had a brand-new approach to how she would communicate with her students.  She hoped that her students would follow, and fundamentally change the way in which they communicated back.  It wasn’t to simply share stories and recount experiences, but rather to model to students how to put yourself out there, to contribute to topics meaningful to you and to accept feedback whether it be positive or negative.  Since she began posting in early September, she has had just over 5000 visitors, an average of 65 per day.  I sat down with her briefly to try to get an idea of how this journey is shaping up:

Why did you start blogging this year?  “I wanted to model behaviors to the kids.  We always say that teachers have to model exemplars to students.  Kids just seem to have this aversion to blogging.  I wanted them to see that it was a way to connect, not to be tortured.”

What excites you about this ongoing project?  “Students are doing a great job of mimicking the writing style and seem to be writing about topics that interest them.  They are excited when they get comments from other teachers and people from around the world.”

How do you decide on what topics to write about?  “My focus is around education, a PD that makes me think, something that happens during the school day, or something that happens in life that is relevant.  I want the students to hear my real voice.”

What have you learned as a teacher through this process?  “As a teacher it’s a great self-reflective practice.  We ask the students to do this, but it’s a very personally validating exercise.  It engages on a whole new level.  I’ve been teaching for 10 years and it feels like I’ve started teaching all over again with a brand new tool.  I really wish I had more time to do it.”

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 6.59.34 PM What has been most frustrating during this process?  “So far I haven’t gotten the parent response that I was hoping for.  I’m still looking for a way to get exposure to parents of high school students.”

Any advice for newbies to the blogoshpere?  “This might sound silly, but I guess I just did it.  I was inspired by my COETAIL course and I just did it to see how it would go.  I think you just need to start and see where it takes you.”

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“In my mind, I tell my kids everything I mean to say, all these lofty imperatives that I genuinely believe are true: Be amazing.  Believe in yourself.  Go get’em.  Relish opportunities.  Believe. Love. Forgive. Live. Do.  I imagine that the students who write me from beyond the walls of my classroom have heard me say these in-between the lines of my pink, green, purple, never-red-if-I-could-help-it ink marks on their papers.  But… to how many others have I forever ruined the colors pink, green, and purple on top of the red…?” – from Beautiful Mess

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