Sunday, July 6, 2014

Would you prefer to jump or slide?

     I have been contemplating starting a blog for months now.  I am fortunate to have a wonderful PLN with amazing blogs that I enjoy reading and learning from on a weekly basis.  Because I can not do anything without being prepared (I'm a slight perfectionist), I have participated in several Twitter chats and conference sessions about blogging and have received some great advice and support.  "Jump in!  Just give it a try.  It doesn't have to be perfect."  Great words of encouragement but I can not help but picture myself standing at the top of a cliff, toes hanging off the edge as my knees shake.  Who wants to jump?! Not me!

Until now, I couldn't seem to figure out why blogging was so intimidating to me.  The thought of ME blogging has sat with me kind of like Twitter did a few years ago --- why would people care about what I have to say?  It's ironic to connect the two because I can not imagine where I would be as a professional student without Twitter.  It has changed my way of thinking, my way of leading, and my way of learning.  I hope I will draw this same conclusion about blogging in the near future.

So what made me decide to jump off the cliff with blogging?  Well, it turns out I had a false or uninformed view of what blogging is all about.  (Something that I think is very common when someone is faced with trying something new.)  I perceived blogging to be a tool for a select few highly intelligent known experts in the field to share their wisdom.  I definitely do not consider myself to make that cut so jumping off the cliff would have meant hitting the bottom of that rocky canyon. No thanks!  I am honesty not sure how I developed this skewed mindset, for I have been supporting and encouraging students to use blogs as a reflection piece for awhile now.  I guess it just took some time to reflect on relevance and a little help from a few rockstars to change my view of myself as a "blogger".

While attending #iDesign14 last month, I was fortunate enough to hear George Couros share his knowledge and perspective on blogging.  Talk about an inspirational speaker - WOW!  He challenged us to use blogging as a learning and showcase portfolio, reflecting on our learning and linking that to our standards evaluated.  Blogging as a reflection piece?  Ohhhhh, now that made sense to me.  I now had a starting point.

This summer, I have had the awesome experience of participating in Todd Nesloney's Summer Learning Series, #SummerLS.  Reflection as the focus of blogging was echoed in last week's challenge.    Blogging was for ME, not for my readers!  I reflect every day as it is so putting my thoughts down in writing didn't seem so intimidating. Todd's challenge even included a short video on getting started.  Now I had the basics in mind too!  I smiled as I finished up that challenge;  it was all making sense.  With those two rockstars, I had a starting point and PURPOSE.  With my PLN, I has support and feedback to continue my growth. Why would I not blog!

As I look back on this process of jumping into blogging, I am no different than anyone else trying something new.  The WHY was the most important thing in getting me over the hump.  How I could make it meaningful and relevant to me was critical in making sense of it all.  And where was I going to get support and feedback was comforting in moving forward.  I'm still getting over the hump on it not needing to be perfect. :)  But my biggest take away...

I am questioning an expression I often use when I ask others to take risks and try something new or different.  Maybe "jump" isn't the best phrase to use when I'm encouraging take-risking.  I don't want others leaning over that cliff praying to survive.  I think I may try a different approach and encourage them to slide with me.  For when I ask someone to take a risk, I want them to picture going down a slide with sides to hold on to or even slow down if needed, my hand in reach for support, and open hands at the bottom to catch them before they fall.

I believe learning is as much about the journey as the destination.  If you're terrified throughout the journey, how impactful is the learning that will determine your destination?


  1. Great first post! I am so glad you decided to slide on in! I remember how nervous I was when I wrote and tweeted out my first post. Blogging is great for reflection and "thinking out loud" whether you have many read the post or none. I have found it is very valuable for me as a person and educator. I look forward to reading more. AND I want to thank @ktenkely and @michellek107 for encouraging me to blog that first time! :)

  2. Shawna, 
    Congrats on your first blog! I am an educator/parent/blogger too. I started blogging for many if the same reasons you describe, as a took for reflection. As I've continued, I have found it also helps me to organize resources and ideas that I can easily come back to later.
    To my surprise, others have said they really appreciate reading my blog... Even though I receive few comments.
    That, said... I am going to share this great read with other great educators I know who may also be wary of "taking the plunge." :) 
    Thanks for sharing your ideas. I look forward to heading more.