At the end of this school year, my goal is to be able to say that I've grown in my role as an educator. I want to be able to say that I am a better teacher than I was when the year started. Even more than that, I want to say that that growth was significant. I didn't just improve a little, but I made big changes in my teaching.
On Tuesday, when teachers were back at school but not kids yet, we spent a short time talking about evaluations and what they are going to look like this year. One administrator said, "I'm more interested in your growth over the year, and your evidence of that growth, then where you end up on some rubric." It was refreshing. It was like she was saying, "I don't want you to do all the right things so that you get a good score on the evaluation. I want you to actually grow and improve and be able to talk about that." I liked the idea of not only growing over the year, but also being able to present evidence of that growth. She talked about the idea of keeping a binder of our growth, to include reflections on our practice. I decided to do it. Then I thought how it could really help me write my blog. Then I realized it was the same thing as my blog. But, my blog is more high tech. And sharable and feedback-get-able.
Still, there is something about the paper and pencil reflection that I like. I am a journal-er by nature, and I know that writing about things is good for me. I also have noticed that I journal in a completely different way that how I blog. When I'm journaling, I'm not worried about the final product at all, just about getting my thoughts down. I've gone back and read journal entries and sometimes they don't make sense. There aren't actually grammatically correct sentences or full thoughts. Just writing. And there is something about that that I really like. It feels organic and real. When I'm blogging, though, I do think of the end product. There is a thought in the back of my mind that someone else will read what I write, so I at least need to keep some semblance of order and structure. It needs to be readable. Even when I try to ignore that, and pretend I'm just journaling, I can't really shake the thought. Typing is different than paper and pencil writing. I need to go back and fix the spelling because that red line drives me nuts. And I need to write in complete sentences and use the correct punctuation.
So, I don't know what I'll do. I'm not willing to stop blogging. I love the idea of being able to show someone my blog and say, "Look - I've grown, and you can read about the whole process. It's not just a before and after, it's all the middle parts, too. You can see all my struggle and effort and not just the final result." I'm just deciding if blogging alone is enough, or if some paper and pencil reflecting might make this more valuable. I don't know yet.