This week many beginner bloggers, including myself, finished up our 30 day challenge to set up a blog, connect with others and to keep it going.
I wanted to use this final challenge as an opportunity to reflect on all that I have learnt over the last 30 days and look forward to my next challenge.
This challenge was everything that I needed. In my first post as part of the challenge I commented on how I set up this blog over a year ago and it just sat here never being used. I know now why that was.
I needed someone to show me how best to set up the blog and get it working for me in a way that could potentially gain me contacts and readership.
I needed a teacher. Oh, the irony of it all.
This challenge has made me aware that I didn’t realise how limitless the Internet is in being able to provide support and how I did in fact have a network of educators and help right there in front of me but I didn’t know where to look or how to harness what I found in order to get what I needed.
For years, I have been struggling as a teacher, feeling quite alone and often needing help but too afraid to ask for it for fear of being looked at as incompetent. I now feel a sense of encouragement and I feel a sense of relief that I think I have finally found a voice within myself as well as a growing network of educators to support me. I also feel quite silly because I never thought to look out in the universe in the way we have as part of this challenge. Especially considering I’m a Generation-Y-er. Isn’t that a given for us? Go to the computer first for answers?
I’m also reminded how my students must feel sometimes. I really did feel like I was walking in their shoes for the first time in many years.
Much of what I have learnt I am glad I can now share with my colleagues at school and also with my students. Some of these things that I have found invaluable include: how to effectively set up a blog, how to write good, engaging posts, reading posts through Google Reader, the importance of comments and commenting, the difference between pages and posts, digital identity, different types of web browsers (like Firefox not just IE8!) creating an RSS feed and using Feedburner, image use and creative commons as well as embedding other media, categories and tags and building readership through Twitter.
Most important of all has been and will continue to be the sharing of ideas, thoughts, opinions, successes and failures and the learning that we have gained from it. Also, that those opinions are valued and appreciated by the blog author and their community.
One of the reasons I like being a teacher is because I think teachers as people are very giving, positive, supportive people. I’ve met many teachers who, even if they absolutely hate their job, they will still offer you some advice, resources, an ear to listen to your woes etc.
For me now, the challenge is to continue posting. At least twice a week. That’s the plan anyway. My fear when I originally started the blog was that I didn’t have confidence to express my opinion. I didn’t feel like I deserved to have a voice because what did I know? I was only a beginning teacher. Now, I feel just a little more confident. Confident in the knowledge that it is OK for beginning teachers to have a voice. The blog has a focus, a purpose. My opinions, thoughts and ideas may not be something that everyone agrees with but I’m glad people respect this space and want to help me gain a better understanding of the things I don’t know.
Thanks to Sue Waters and her team at Edublogs for sharing their knowledge with me, us. To those new and experienced bloggers from the Challenge who have visited my blog over the past month, thank you and please, come again 😉
What has your Teacher Challenge experience been like? If you didn’t participate, what do you think of being offered free online professional development for teachers? Leave a comment below.
15-06-10 Lets Go I Want To Go All The Way To The Horizon ~ Explored Front Page :), by Bethan, Attribution – NonCommercial-No Derivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)