On needing a purpose

I set this blog up quite a long time ago, but its pages have been empty from the start. I suppose I thought it would populate itself, to no avail. More realistically, however, I failed to recognize that I created the blog on a whim, with no purpose. Having only taught for four years, I didn’t believe there was much I had done that was worth sharing. I’m still very much in the throes of stealing everything I do from smarter, more accomplished folks all around the world. A colleague who had quickly become a friend encouraged me to start a blog – he had one, after all – so I did. That was that.

When I started in on teaching, I desperately wanted to sport a mug with this demotivational slogan on it:

blogging-demotivational-poster

So when I created a blog, I figured that, yes, it was easy to set up, but actually filling it with stuff would require engaging in the vapid exercise I had come to associate with blogging. Of course, at this time, I also thought that teaching would be fairly straightforward and easy and once I got the hang of it the only thing that would change year to year would be the students. Ah, naivete.

In any case, purpose I needed, so purpose I have found – two to be exact. Next year I will be one half of our school’s iPad technology team, with the specific goal of helping faculty implement the 1:1 program in their classes. In preparing for this role, I have been reading and searching far and wide in the depths of the Internet for helpful sources, but I’ve not really allowed myself a way to respond to what I find in writing. After spending a good deal of time reading Fraser Speirs’ blog (speirs.org), I realized that even in discovering people who have documented (in depth and very well, I should add) implementing an iPad-based 1:1 program, I would not find immediate cut-and-paste application to our school environment. How silly of me to subconsciously expect that, actually. Instead, I want to use this space as a place to help me sort through what I find that is interesting and give voice to ways I see it applying to my classroom or the school in general.

The second purpose for the blog may end up dominating the posting I do, provided I can stick with it during the school year. I really, really need a place to digest new ideas, discuss implementing them, and contemplate their effectiveness in my classroom. Even if this blog never finds a readership, the organizational principles of a blog will be far more conducive to my own review of my thoughts than scraps of paper, an old notebook, or scattered documents on my computer or iPad. I hope that what I can find to post about will eventually become helpful for people beyond just me – colleagues in the department, students, maybe even teachers elsewhere.

I suppose now I must naturally consider audience; I always ask my students to do it, so why not me, too? Even if no soul save my own ever encounters these digital etchings on the wall, I must write with an audience beyond myself in mind. I would rate these prospective audiences in order of imminent readership and thus importance: Jesuit faculty, Jesuit students, Jesuit parents, and the larger world of education. I hope one day to need to revise that understanding of audience, but for now, it fits my purpose, which is all I can ask.

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2 thoughts on “On needing a purpose

    1. I created my blog almost a year and a half ago. I posted a few entries, but they were all without purpose. And what happened? I stopped writing. More than that – I dropped out of the conversation. For more than a year my blog sat empty. Since I attended ISTE this past June, I have realized the purpose for why I must write. It is many of the things you have listed. I need the space to digest and reflect on tools, ideas, and experiences. Another thing I’ve found is that I have a voice. I do not have a large readership either, but I do have a voice that I believe has merit, has value. I want to use my voice to help encourage parents, students, and other educators around the world. Thank you for reminding me of and reaffirming my purpose for writing.

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