Despite the fact that the initial excitement about blogs has somewhat dissipated, I think they retain a massive amount of benefits, two of which I would like to share.
The first is as an almost cathartic form of teacher reflection. Many an expert on education has spoken of reflection as the single most important thing a teacher can do to advance them forward in their profession. Whether it’s reflecting in a journal, reflecting on the bus, or reflecting with others in the teachers’ lounge, all will facilitate an educator moving forward in his career. A blog is an ideal place to do this reflection. The notion that others might look at your writing keeps you disciplined to keep posting and to be professional, intelligent, and careful about the posts. Not to mention the fact that others should be able to benefit from your insights as well!
The second benefit is the ability to bring the classroom to the outside world. I recently started a blog (http://rabbijaffe.edublogs.org/) to further classroom discussion for homework. That means that my students will potentially reflect upon our subjects wherever they go. It’s taking our classroom and putting it in the place they spend most of their time anyway: The computer. Students will especially be cautious in writing well when they know that not just their teacher, but their peers and anyone else who stumbles upon the blog can read what they say. They’re truly out there in the world.
It will take me a long time to get over my only blog fear. Several years back I maintained a blog regularly. I took it very seriously. Then one day the site announced they were switching everything over to another server. My password no longer worked and every email I sent was received only by silence. Eventually my hundreds of posts disappeared forever. I’d love to figure out how to appease that concern.
But for the reasons stated above, I will certainly try!