I usually post a version of this piece once or twice a year so that newer readers can see it:
This blog has gotten many new subscribers recently, and I thought it might be useful for me to give a short description of what this blog is all about.
It has several purposes. Writing this blog….
…gives me a little more incentive to be on the look-out for new resources — and pushes me to be a little more creative in my thinking about how to use them — so that I can be a better teacher with my English Language Learner and mainstream students.
…allows me to share resources that non-techy people like me can actually use. Many people would be surprised at how limited my technical abilities are. If I can’t figure out how to use an application in a minute or two, I won’t write about it or use it.
…helps me clarify my thinking about the role of technology in the classroom. To paraphrase an economist who was talking about the role of the free market, I believe that technology has its place, but also has to be kept in its place. I don’t think computers are a “magic bullet,” and though I believe they offer a particular “value-added” benefit to English Language Learners, I’m less convinced about their advantages for non-ELL’s. Writing this blog provides me a forum to share my on-going classroom research to clarify this thinking. (See Results From My Year-Long U.S. History Tech Experiment)
…provides me with a forum to clarify my thinking about the on-going classroom management and instructional challenges (see What Do You Do When You’re Having A Bad Day At School?) faced by me, and many other teachers in inner-city urban schools (and probably in many other schools, too).
…helps me develop connections with a broader Personal Learning Network than I would otherwise have. Writing the What Do You Do? series has been great, with scores of educators sharing their experiences; connecting with teachers of English Language Learners from throughout the world through our International Sister Classes Project and learning from their stories has been a gift; and it’s a privilege to virtually “meet” so many other teachers with wisdom to offer.
…gives me an arena where I can share my thoughts on a progressive vision of school reform.
…offers me additional writing opportunities on issues I have a particular passion about. These opportunities have also included two books published by Linworth Publishing, both connecting my nineteen-year community organizing career with my six-year teaching career. One is titled Building Parent Engagement in Schools and the other is titled English Language Learners: Teaching Strategies That Work. My third book will be published by Eye on Education next year.
Writing this post helped me to further clarify my purposes for writing this blog. I hope it helped you learn a little more about the blog, and a little more about me.
Your service is invaluable and that’s what makes “online” so valuable for teachers – people like yourself sharing and helping keep the free flow of information available and wider. This benefits the whole of humanity.
But you touched on something that I always tell teachers rather cryptically – “you keep what you give”. When you give, like you do – you keep a lot and get a lot of benefit yourself. It is a win win.