I have two reactions to the fact that this week is the 1st anniversary of Middle School Matrix. The first is amazement that it has only been a year. In many ways, it feels like writing for this blog is something that I have been doing for a much longer time. It is quietly always in the back of my mind. “Is this worth writing about? How would I discuss that?” Having a blog has made me more consciously reflective. I think about my practice more deeply than I did before, partly because there are people who are taking the time to read about what I do in my classroom and why I do it. The students from Dr. Strange’s class at the University of South Alabama have added a wonderful new perspective. It is great to know that students studying education are reading this blog and others. At edcampnyc two weeks ago, I had a conversation with Tom Whitby writing blogs. He started his just about a year ago as well, and we were commenting on how amazing it is to have our thoughts saved in our blog, that we have created more than we thought we were going to when it began. (For more on my thoughts about edcampnyc, the last post is about it.)
My second reaction is “Where did the year go?” In many ways it flew by, in a blur of growth and learning. There was never a moment of “sitting still.” Every time I checked on Twitter, there was a new idea or great website to visit. In many ways, being a teacher shifted dramatically for me from being in control of the pedagogy and content to being a constant student, learning new ways of thinking about the work that happens in my classroom as well as new challenges for me personally to grow and understand. It has been wonderfully stimulating and enlightening.
One of the primary reasons that I started this blog was to deepen my relationships with the members of my PLN – which for me stands for Passionate Learning Network, an adaptation that I got from Shelly Terrell. After months on Twitter, sharing resources, asking questions and reading other people’s blogs, I felt that I needed to share my thinking and practice. I have been a teacher, in one form or another, for over 30 years, and I have ideas as well as questions about how we should best teach in the 21st century. This blog gave me a place to talk about those and to hear back from others who are equally passionate about making education the very best that it can be.
The people in my PLN have changed my life. Each one of you has contributed to the ongoing conversation, adding new ideas that spark my curiosity and imagination in rich and wonderful ways. I have spent more time than I ever imagined I would becoming friends with people around the world. I have made connections that sustain me when I am confused and support me when I experiment.
As always, at the heart of it, has been time, time to reflect, to write, to follow the stream on Twitter, to comment on other people’s blogs. That was the commitment that starting this blog solidified, and that is the one that I am remaking as I move into Year Two. I will take the time to learn and share, online and hopefully in person, with educators who want to make each day a day of joyful learning and growth for every student. Thank you for sharing in the journey with me!