Posted in Reflection

Taking the First Step

Ever since I was a child, I have had a unique talent for planning to begin writing. I always planned to start a diary. I planned to start a neighborhood newspaper. I planned to write a novel. I planned to write a play. Many of these plans ended up as amazing one-page drafts that have since been buried in boxes of childhood memories, never to be read again.

This knack for planning-but-not-writing has followed me into adulthood. While I accomplish anything with accountability, I have a plethora of excuses for not writing. Young children. My job. My husband. Graduate school. Laundry. Dishes. My never-ending pile of To Be Read books.

But this upcoming school year is a tipping point for me as a teacher. For the first five years I taught in my district, I was a classroom teacher in grades 2 and 4, always ready to try something new and passionate about building relationships with kids. For the past five years, I have stepped into a role as a Mentor Teacher, giving up my own classroom to coach and develop first year teachers in my building. This year when I walk through the doors of my building on the first day, I will officially have spent more time Out of the classroom in this district than In, tipping a balance that I never even knew existed when I first began by career.

I loved being in the classroom and I love instructional coaching, but I find myself more and more often reflecting on the impact I have as an educator, both on students and on other teachers. The idea of a blog has been simmering for awhile on the back burner, but as I continue to be plagued by the What do I want to do when I grow up? question, I’m feeling an ever-greater need to slow down and ask instead What can I do NOW? While the answer isn’t always clear, the mindset is–I need to take the opportunity to slow down, reflect, learn from others, and share my ideas.

This has led me to admitting It’s finally time to develop a blog. I read the posts from my Teaching Idols–Pernille Ripp, the Nerdy Book Club, Two Writing Teachers–daily, and though I may only aspire to contribute as they have, I have to give myself a nudge to take the first step.

And so, I am beginning to build this blog, a place to…

Capture and collect my own ideas. So often, I feel that the ideas I have are like waves. They build in intensity and power, crash upon the shore, and slowly fade back into the waters of taking care of my children, spending time with my husband, keeping up with graduate coursework, and devoting myself to my school. This blog is an attempt to take a snapshot of each wave’s pivotal moment so that I may truly reflect on my identity and beliefs as an educator.

Reflect on others’ ideas. Similarly, I rarely take the time to slow down and digest the amazing things I read every day, from professional literature to conference keynotes to blog posts. This space is a place to do just that, a journal to keep track of the ideas that resonate with me and that I want to share with others.

Document my journey. One of the most beautiful things about teaching is that we are constantly evolving. I want to use this blog as a place to capture where I am today so that I may look back at my footsteps and grow from them tomorrow.

Develop my voice and reserve a space to write. Though it is ingrained in us that we cannot become better writers if we don’t write, that’s a practice that’s much easier to preach than to actually do. This space is my commitment, a place to explore and experiment.

Connect with others. Most importantly, my voice is only one small melody out of an entire symphony. This blog is an opportunity to collaborate with others, connect with teachers who have different viewpoints and ideas, and become part of a community of educators. Some may agree with my ideas, some may disagree, but in the end what is important is that ideas were shared and reflected upon.

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Author:

Teacher, mentor, reader, writer, mother, wife Lover of good books, chocolate chip cookies, and sunny days

6 thoughts on “Taking the First Step

  1. I enjoy the cool colors of the blog itself and the “paperclipped” image as well as the inspiring quote at the end, it’s a good one.

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  2. Hi Sarah

    Welcome to blogging! I laughed at “plagued by the What do I want to do when I grow up?” It’s a phrase I often use when referring to my life. I’m not plagued by “What do I want to do when I grow up?” rather I use it to refer to the fact that I feel I’ve lead an amazing life where I’ve done some incredible things as a result of my different jobs.

    I really love how you say “What can I do NOW” and love how you listed your goals (and aims). My advice for connecting with others is to encourage you to make time to comment and engage in conversations in comments on posts of other participants blogs in the EdublogsClub. Commenting is an important part of building the connections.

    Best of luck with your blogging!

    Sue Waters
    @suewaters

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  3. I really like your idea of documenting your journey – remembering where we started from can be a useful tool in discovering how far we have come. Good luck with your journey

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  4. G’day Sarah,
    Documenting what you are doing and reflecting on how it went are such important skills for educators. As you say, too often we just don’t get time to do that. But taking time out of the busy day, even ten minutes straight after school before that staff meeting etc, to sit at your blog and write down the days events and reflect on them is so worthwhile.

    I also found using my blog to put my planning on meant I could then update the post with my reflection – what went well, where I needed to change things and so on.

    Good luck with the role and the new use of your blog.

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