Why Don’t All Teachers Blog?

Picture 2 by Travis

Why don't all teachers blog? It seems reasonable to think that a great many do. Teachers like to share and the internet allows for such ease in sharing. However, I wonder how pervasive teacher blogs are.

I don't have an answer. Ultimately I am looking for an answer or a better phrased question to describe a situation that I have seen. I see schools of teachers each week, each with mastery of their content and a certain skill in delivery that comes from experience and the dedication to the skill of teaching (art). 

Why don't these teachers blog about their experiences, sharing them with others as a way to create a community. Is it fear? Is it that they are unsure of how good they are? Is it that there is just not enough time in the day to do so?

For me, the act of blogging about my teaching context provides an opportunity to reflect on current issues as well as invite in thoughtful discussion. 

What do you think? Why do you blog OR NOT blog? What is the catch? Include your blog URL in the comments so we can see what teachers around the country are doing.

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25 thoughts on “Why Don’t All Teachers Blog?

  1. Cherie Briggs

    Could it be that they are just too tired at the end of a day and simply run out of time?

  2. Nancy Flanagan

    I just read a statistic, from the MetLife 25-year survey of teachers: 28% of all practicing teachers either blog or have read a blog. Not many at all, if 70% of the profession resists virtual networking.
    While I agree that teachers are busy people–much busier than the general public realizes– time is the universal excuse for not doing almost everything. While writing a blog takes significant time and effort, you can read a blog in 5 minutes. You could follow a dozen education bloggers (including posting comments) in a couple of hours a month. I think part of the reason is that teachers’ work is almost exclusively face to face (right now, anyway) and their technology use limited to record-keeping, entertainment and commercial purposes. They don’t think of the computer as source of professional development.
    Teachers are not in the habit of having rich professional conversation over time– ongoing dialogue about the big issues. They are my favorite people on the planet– but have not built communities of practice in the way that other professions have. They pride themselves on their grounded work in the classroom, then let other people make critical decisions about that work. And often, the very best practitioners resist contact with the policy/research/administrative world.
    Excellent question, Travis.

  3. Mark Gardner

    I think it is a matter for realizing that not everything must take a great deal of time. As an unknown entity for most teachers, blogs, nings, wikis, blahblahblahs are at first just one more item to put on the to do list. And talk to any teacher and you’ll hear about that list and how it is never fully resolved.
    I joined a ning a while back (englishcompanion.ning.com) and it was two months before I could get past the intimidating, overwhelming, seemingly confusing front page to begin reading, blogging, conversing… now I can jump on for a minute or two and participate in a nationwide conversation.
    I’m a digital native and it took me two months before I felt comfortable with that ning–and realized that participation in online discourse need not be yet another thing-to-do. It is a tough paradigm shift…not to mention the culture of isolationism Nancy mentions in her post.
    I don’t follow many blogs or participate to excess, but I do find my degree of involvement right for me and enriching (to my teaching and my attitude) in many ways.

  4. Travis A. Wittwer

    Mark brings up a point that is of benefit to all teachers who have thought about joining the online discussion but for one reason or another, have not. He mentions, “I do find my degree of involvement right for me and enriching” which is exactly where you want to be. Does every teacher need to have their own Ning and run it? No. However, you will find that one or two sites (be they Nings, wikis, blogs, blahblahblahs) that work.
    I like what I learn from the sites I follow because someone can bring up a topic and teachers from all over the world can chime in. From their discussions and thoughts, I can pull out what is useful to me, what I need. I, like Mark, find that enriching.
    If you do not follow a “blog” or write one, I recommend following one for awhile and seeing where that takes you. You can follow Stories from School, even sign up for an RSS feed or a condensed email. Doing this will get you into the discussion where you can find out to what degree you wish to participate. Who knows. You may find that you have a unique voice or a new angle that needs a new blog. And if that is the case, my blessings go with you and be sure to let us know. I love reading about teaching as it is such a unique profession.

  5. Travis A. Wittwer

    I am reading a book on PLCs. This is a book that everyone in the school at which I will teach has read and it is clear that they are working through the process. In this book, rich dialogue and thoughtful conversation on student learning is a focus of the book. I believe that blogs and the discussion that occurs is a way for teachers to engage in PLCs and make that time that seems like it is not there, there. I have checked out Mark Gardner’s PLC blog that he does with his staff and the potential for anyone to do this is great. Mark, want to put up a link or a slice of the PLC group?
    Additionally, here is an example of a Ning that can serve PLC purpose. The Ning, a blog of sort, in this post I use “blog” pretty generically (like Kleenex), is one for how to use online services to further professional interaction.
    http://collaboration2.ning.com/
    By the way, I would love to read about that Eureka moment you had in class today, fourth period. It would allow me to think about my own practice as well as connect with other teachers. Start a “blog” share it. I would love to read it.
    WHEN you do create your blog….post a link here. If YOU HAVE AN EDUCATION blog already, post a link here. Thanks.

  6. siobhan curious

    I’ve kept a blog for two years now and it’s an essential part of my teaching practice – I don’t know if I could keep teaching without it. You will find it here:
    http://siobhancurious.wordpress.com/
    However, I think teachers don’t keep blogs for the same reasons that many people don’t keep blogs (and many who start them abandon them.) Blogs are a lot of work. Committing to writing regularly is difficult (as any writer can tell you.) Personal reflection is challenging and not always comfortable. And teachers already have a LOT of work to do. Fitting a blog in on top of it all won’t work unless you are a bit obsessed with it.
    (For example, like many people, I should de-stress and exercise more, and last night I vowed that this morning I would meditate and go for a quick run. It would be really good for me, and would make me a better person, if I did these things. Instead, I was compelled to sit down and start reading the Carnival of Education. We all choose our priorities!)

  7. Travis A. Wittwer

    @siobhan curious, Speaking of the Education Blog Carnival, this post, “Why Don’t All Teachers Blog” is featured as one of the many great posts. For those of you who are not familiar with the carnival, think of it as a list of current posts collected by one person for others to read. Check it out, http://www.stevespangler.com/archives/carnival-of-education/carnival-of-education-its-so-much-better-when-you-can-touch-things/#more-1598
    By the way, I favorited your blog :O)

  8. TW

    I am graduating in a couple of weeks with a Master of Arts in Teaching degree with an elementary endorsement. For a course last summer on Educational Technology I started a blog (http://teachingschool.blogspot.com/) and have maintained it ever since. Though there are no jobs around here, I expect I’ll continue blogging about my experiences as a substitute teacher and, eventually, as a classroom teacher. It’s good for processing and reflecting. I also pick up tons of information and good ideas by reading through my blogroll a few times a week. I’d like to have students blog about their projects, depending on the grade level.

  9. Travis A. Wittwer

    @TW, thanks for posting your blog link. Teaching is such a rewarding profession. Good luck on the job hunt. It is a tough situation to have to look for a job. I know. I spent 3 years in various long-term sub jobs before acquiring a full-time job. However, it was worth it and the only option at the time. Teaching is worth the wait. Until that time happens when you get a job, and I do hope it happens soon, keep on blogging as a way to keep connected to the world of education and putting (thinking, changing, growing) your thoughts. Blogging is a great way to have communications with other teachers across the world in a timeless manner.

  10. Clix

    Heh. Travis, I got here via the Carnival, so I can definitely vouch for how helpful it is!
    I’ve been communicating online for years – you know, back when people you met online were automatically assumed to be psycho stalkers. (I’d like to apologize to anyone I terrified.)
    Sometimes it was hard to find what you wanted online, mostly because topics were often intermingled on personal pages, or links were dead. Now? There’s even more out there, and the amount of stuff-you-don’t-want has likewise increased. Sorting through the chatter can be a daunting task in and of itself.
    And for those who are tech-savvy but not integrated into an online community, I think it’s a matter of worldview. I know several teachers in my building who are great at finding what they’re looking for online, but don’t really participate. To them, the internet is like a dictionary (you find what you want, then put it away) rather than a magazine subscription (you can return to topics & writers you enjoy).
    OTOH, the teachers I have known (in my admittedly limited experience!) DO have “rich professional conversation over time.” It’s just that it’s very contained – usually to those who share a lunch or planning period, or those within a department or grade team.
    Finally, I think blog snobbery is part of it. I bet WAAAY more teachers do some kind of personal reflection on their teaching practices, beyond just those who do so online. But let’s face it – if you’re posting it online, you’re presuming an audience beyond yourself. And a lot of times, online communities aren’t very welcoming. I think a lot of people who don’t blog feel like they have nothing “worthwhile” to say, and that they’ll be scorned for posting something banal or redundant or otherwise less-than-brilliant.

  11. Travis A. Wittwer

    Clix, I think your statement of teachers know thinking that they have anything about which to blog is more true that we would expect. But it is just this shared experience that leads to a discussion and reflection.

  12. RW

    I don’t have a personal blog, but I have a lot of niche websites in the fields I work in – mostly reading, test prep, and tutoring. I think that telling all teachers to get a blog might lead to a lot of possibly inappropriate sharing – makes me think it’s better than relatively few teachers do have blogs. Also, technology holds many back. As an aid, tutor, and supporting educator, I get to work with lots of teachers, and it amazes me how few of them know how to do anything other than opening word documents.

  13. Travis A. Wittwer

    RW, “inappropriate” by definition has a connotation of “wrong”. Can you shed some more light on what you mean by inappropriate sharing? Thank you kindly.

  14. Patti

    I hate to say it, but some administrators frown on virtual sharing. I know one administrator who has threatened to punish any teacher he finds blogging about his or her work at the school. Even if no names are named or any identifying information is used, if he can prove they were blogging about their work they get reprimanded at the least. Using Facebook and Twittering, even at home, are forbidden.
    So, while I agree that blogging is very helpful in improving teaching practice, not all people involved in education see it the same way.

  15. Mark G.

    I’m curious how this is enforceable. I wonder what part of the collective bargaining agreement sacrificed teachers’ personal freedom of speech outside their contract day?
    Has this administrator followed through on his threats?

  16. Nancy Flanagan

    Simply threatening the teachers is probably enough to keep them from sticking a toe into blogging waters for a time. I think we’re probably in a transition phase with blogging right now. Only a principal who didn’t truly understand the power of blogging–or social networking– would think that threats would shut down virtual communication. Inevitably, schools will be forced to deal with the fact that anybody can say anything, with some impunity, and the schools who try to get out ahead of the transformation rather than resisting will be doing the right thing for their students and teachers.
    Back in the 80s, calculators were forbidden at my school. Any kid caught with a calculator was assumed to be cheating–the calculator was confiscated, and the kid was punished. Now, of course, at the HS, kids are expected to provide their own $100 graphing calculators–the teachers pass out a list of acceptable calculators on the first day of class. The shock-resistance-capitulation–adoption cycle applies to almost every innovation that’s come down the pike.

  17. Luann

    Patti, you pointed out a very sad situation. Playing on semantics, you said specifically “blogging about his or her work at the school.” It would be very easy to write about something so specific that even without names or identifying information, identities would be obvious. Blogging in generalities and situations unrelated to specifics at school would be pretty hard to control, so long as the work was found to be within bounds of the public concern test. Blog posts related to political, social, or other public community concern is protected. Discussing internal affairs, people, conversations intended to be private, and certainly anything vulgar or pertaining to students would not be protected.
    I’m more concerned about the admins and teachers who don’t understand the value of communicating and sharing with appropriate levels of openness. How can we educate them?

  18. Rena

    Patti,the situation sounds very sad. Does the administrator have something to fear? Personal time and conversations that could lead to improving education need to be allowed. There are so many important topics that need to be discussed and people find comfort in sharing at times.

  19. Lead answer

    If they gonna blog then you are not gonna present here to blog or for comment because they are gonna say now you are on internet use it for your studies why waste time on this blogging thing , they still don’t know the meaning of blog.

  20. long island seo

    Yeah, it is disappointing how some schools restricted teachers from getting active in social media. But if you really have a passion for blogging and writing, I suggest writing using a pen name.

  21. seo perth

    These teachers, with the right amount of creativity, could engage their students within the social media sphere. If only the administrators would know how that could benefit their education.

  22. White Label SEO

    Teachers should blog, in fact, when a teacher is tech-savvy and creative enough, she’ll boost her students’ grades exponentially. Blogging is a great tool to convey information, and students, who have a lot of time on their hands, can consume these information to better their education.

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