A friend of mine pointed out to me yesterday that I seem to have fallen off the face of the blogosphere. While I do still read peoples’ posts, it is true that I have not been posting or commenting as much as I used to. What better way to illustrate this phenomena than with a graph?
Numbers don’t lie, but they rarely illustrate reasons why phenomena occur. I have been asking myself recently why I haven’t posted much. Do I have nothing to say? Definitely not that Am I lazy? Maybe a little, but I think we all are. Am I burnt out on talking about teaching? I think I’m getting warmer. Am I having to reflect on my teaching practice every waking hour for graduate school and not wanting to go home and continue to reflect on this blog? Bingo.
All I ever seem to do is reflect. For PACT (the Performance Assessment for California Teachers) I had to teach a lesson, reflect on it daily, reflect on the assessment tools and the learning structures and the balance of procedural and conceptual. I had to reflect on the process of writing my paper and write a summative reflection on all my reflections. I wrote 93 pages of reflection for that assignment. Now that that’s out of the way I need to reflect on the rest of the year (including my 93 page reflection). Sometimes I wonder if graduate school is just reflections all the way down.
“But Zach,” you might say, “aren’t you all about the reflections? Isn’t that the purpose of this blog?” and of course the answer is a resounding yes, but I enjoy a specific kind of reflection. When I am required to spend pages upon pages answering questions such as “how have I learned to support all students in learning?” and “how have I developed as a professional educator?” I feel I am given a cookie cutter reflection template. I don’t get to talk about the things I like to talk about or even ask the questions I want to ask. I suppose I only like to reflect on that which I enjoy reflecting about (who woulda thunk it?).
To build off of Kate’s ideas, the questions I’m reflecting on don’t stem from my own curiosity; one might say I am being required to do “real” reflecting rather than “fun” reflecting. I want to reflect on an amazing finance unit we gave; I want to brainstorm ideas on how I can actually build safe spaces in the classroom rather than talk about them; I want to talk about the amazing job offer I got and flesh out the details of how I am going to take on my own classroom next year. But instead I am answering questions that all seem congeal into one mass of cookie cutter responses.
Here’s where I make Sean burst into Cornally-Hulk. From a grade / masters degree / teaching credential standpoint, this blog is worthless. From a pedagogical standpoint, this blog is one of my most valuable tools to becoming a professional educator. Nonetheless, when I am faced with the option of completing a series of mind-numbing graded reflections versus reflecting on the things I want to think about, I will always acquiesce to the graded task. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s ironic to be both a student and a teacher – to watch myself work to avoid subjugating my students to the things I personally despise.
If I were a stronger man I would take it all on. But when my eyes burn from staring at a screen too long and the arthritis in my fingers rears it’s ugly head, all I can do is dream of a day when my reflections are unbridled – when I can be proud of, and want to share the things I write.