Pam is finally getting some recoginition for the great work she’s doing with Web logs as a mentoring and professional development tool. Her being featured in Teacher Magazine will surely do much to get others thinking and experimenting with this type of reflective journaling. I really like this quote:
“In my weblogging circle,” she says, “I’m able to discuss ideas and share with teachers from all over—New York, Chicago, Georgia, San Francisco, and Canada. When has that ever been afforded to teachers?”
Way to go Pam.
Also interesting to me in this article, however, is the caution that the author implies teachers must use when writing in such spaces. It appears that those gut-wrenching moments that all teachers go through when the kids or the administrators or the parents just get too much to deal with are not good fodder for Web logs. Showing the emotional side of teaching may get you in trouble. Doubting yourself, griping about the amount of work, even commenting on the political state of the world seems to be cause for some teachers to be called in to ‘discuss’ those feelings. That’s not good. I know when I look back on my own reflective journals, one of the best things about them was the vent space they provided. Sometimes it was the only place I had to really go off on the state of my teaching world. But Web logs require some balance, it seems, and that can be good or bad. The teacher in this article says
“With a weblog…I’m conscious I’m writing for strangers,” Thelwell says. “In education, you teach people how to think about doing things. Well, writing for an audience is one of the most metacognitive things you can do—why don’t I want to say that, write about this?…It helps me identify what’s happening to me.”
I think as more and more of us turn to the Internet to share our experiences or feelings or compare notes, Web logs are going to prove to be very valuable tools for professional development. But as with everything else we’re working through, the boundries of content are still unclear.