I remember the last time I tried to do a 30 day challenge – it was with yoga, and I had recently started Graduate School. I tried to “center” my life per say because the “work-life” balance was tilting far too much to even be considered semi-balanced (no wobbly leaning here; just pure “off balance!”)
Needless-to-say, I thought 30 days of yoga would develop within me a new habit of “mindfulness” towards the off-balanced tendencies I was displaying. Lets just say the way it ended was me, one year later, at it again.
As I reflect, I’m viewing this April Blog A Day Challenge as an opportunity to relinquish what can be called “Perfectionist Teacher Stress Disorder,” a phrase coined by one phenomenal educator, Allison Stewart, whom I’m beyond blessed to have in my PLN. Particularly, this “disorder” as she refers to it, can be easily described as the following: spending far too many hours of the day (and night) planning for your students to make sure their learning opportunities are TOP notch, all of which are personalized, individualized, and/or differentiated based on their most recent data and learning needs. A positive, right? Likewise, the negative? Spending far too many hours of the day (and night) planning for your students…
Similarly, blogging has its parallels to this. Before I blog, I need to have all the proper information for any post beyond my own musings. Which means, if writing of Educational Policy, I need to make sure I have the following: enough sources, completed adequate research, and triple checked my post for grammar, fluency, etc. Beginning to understand the picture being painted now? One that is of perfectionist tendencies. I, in my own opinion, personally believe as well that I can only publish posts which are of true merit and benefit to the blogging realm.
My passions of policy, STEM, Public Ed., and high-quality PD, all met with student and teacher advocacy rights, can only be displayed unless it is of merit. Those are my personal beliefs. Do you know how many posts still remain in my draft box related to the aforementioned? Far too many.
Awhile back, I wrote an article for Chris Crouch who is pioneering making learning visible through Work on the Work, a site for and by educators. I am passionate about student inquiry, and providing students with innovative opportunities to succeed (through failure, as learning is trial-and-error!) And as I reflect on this challenge he has presented to the PLN Twitter-world, I can’t help but consider my previous article of Student Inquiry, and here’s why:
Regardless if it is a perfect blog post, that does not mean I have failed. Regardless if the post sheds profound light on the recent legislative bills or not, that does not mean I have failed. The most profound blogs are those written by educators who provide me with inspiration when I need it the most, often done through both “mindful meanderings,” but also thought provoking articles on new resources (or Ed. Policy.) Sometimes what a teacher needs the most is not necessarily a reflection that is polished to the point of one thinking, “why is this not featured in ASCD or Ed Weekly?” but rather one which just chooses to affirm that the success and hardships faced in the realm of education happen to all of us.
That being so, I do not know where these 30 days will lead, but I know one thing is for sure: I am choosing daily to practice what I express to my students: that failure is okay as long as we reflect and grow from such. And to me, with my past perceptions of blogging, failure means accepting that I will have a “less-than-perfect” blog post daily (apologies now for all grammatical errors; I’m trying not to cringe myself considering such I’ve already made.)
I consider this an “edu-swap” as I read this morning when filtering through Twitter. For 30 days, I am choosing to swap out my previous blogging tendencies for the chance to be more reflective, mindful, and to possibly inspire a few educators out there, including myself (who knows?) I’m choosing to write for just 30 minutes a day, for these 30 days, on all topics of education (yes, even those beyond advocacy!)
For now, I will leave you with the start of my 30 days of meandering thoughts, as well as 30 days of great articles and/or hashtags to follow with a question (and the commitment that this will not turn into my previous yoga routines.)
Here’s my first on teacher retention: Revolving Door of Teachers Costs Schools Billions Per Year.
How can we as educators help prevent such?