The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Looking Forward to 2014

I spend a lot of time on this blog reflecting on my teaching and what happens in and around my classroom. That makes sense, since this is, primarily, a blog about what happens in and around my classroom. But I also spend a lot of time off the blog reflecting on my personal expectations for Adventures in Teaching Fourth. I don’t write about this nearly as much, but today I will make an exception because a) it is December 31, b) I just reviewed my official WordPress Annual Report and c) it is early in the morning and my herbal tea is still steeping, so I don’t have much else to do right now.

I suppose that before I get into what I expect of this blog, I should review my stated purpose for blogging. This can be found in my blogging manifesto (which I have recently reviewed and updated for the fourth time), borrowed and adapted from an online colleague’s blog, that can be found in the upper right-hand corner of the page. I won’t copy it all here, but the section on my rights and responsibilities is particularly relevant to this topic:

As an educator who chooses to blog, I have the following rights:

  • I have the right to use my blog to reflect on my teaching journey, honestly and openly.
  • I have the right to collaborate with educators from all over the world.
  • I have the right to wonder what is best practice, debate education policies/practices/teaching styles, and question what is not working within our system in general and my classroom specifically.
  • I have the right to use my blog to process a difficult day, as long as I stay within the limits of the responsibilities listed below.

As an education blogger, I have the following responsibilities:

  • I will never forget the purpose for why I’m blogging.
  • I will always write about my students in such a manner that if parents found this blog they would know that I respect every aspect of their child’s learning.
  • I will always write about my co-workers, including all members of the faculty and staff of the buildings in which I work, in a way that reflects their strengths.
  • I will not write anything that will prevent anyone, especially myself and my colleagues, from doing his or her job.

By acknowledging these rights and responsibilities, I will be better able to:

  • Communicate with educators, parents, and others from all over the world
  • Become more reflective in my teaching
  • Improve my teaching practices to best benefit my students
  • Find the silver linings inside the most frustrating of days
  • Keep a sense of humor, which, in turn, allows me to be a stronger teacher who comes back to work day after day inspired, energized, and ready for a challenge.

To summarise all of those bullet points, my purpose in blogging about teaching is to reflect on what I am doing in a way that is positive, productive, and helpful. I often use an acronym to help my students quickly reflect before they say or do anything. I thought I’d shared this before, but I can’t find it, so I am guessing I never did. It is fairly simple: THINK! Ask yourself the following questions:


Likewise as a teacher, I need to THINK before I post anything online, especially if it is about students, parents, colleagues, or administrators! What this means in practice is that if there is a part of my day that is frustrating, I can still write about it, but I can do so in a way that will help us process what worked well, what didn’t, and what we can do better the next day.

I also use my blog as another way to communicate with parents, teachers, and members of the community. I include my URL on every newsletter I send home, it is linked by my name on my school’s website, and links are shared publicly through a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Tumblr. (And yes, that is just another of the many reasons that I will NEVER use the name of a student on my blog and I will ONLY use the name of colleagues or other adults with explicit permission.)

So, getting back to that original question, what do I expect for Adventures of Teaching Fourth in 2014?


I’m not really sure.

I know I want to continue what I have been doing: blog each day I am with students to share at least one highlight of the day. Think about what I am doing and why I am doing it. Invite others to read and share these posts. Keep track of the books I have been reading, particularly those that relate to my work, regardless of genre.

I also know what I would love to see happen: more comments. I know that I have on average 40 unique visitors to my blog each day, but I have no idea who these people are or why they are coming. I would be delighted to see more parents visiting and leaving brief comments, anonymous or not, to let me know they are reading and discussing with their children; for teachers, administrators, and other interested parties to share their thoughts; for suggestions on what I can do better in teaching and/or on topics to write about in the future. But I also have to be completely honest here: if I did not have a single visitor to my blog, I would continue to write. I am doing this primarily for me, to keep track of what I am doing. I share it with others because it is a medium I enjoy using and believe that others enjoy, as well.

The coming year is going to be a great one! Thank you, one and all, for being a part of my journey. I look forward to continuing to reflect on my own adventures!


3 responses

  1. S.R. Lee

    My child graduated from your class last year but I’m still an occasional reader of your blog. Thank you for continuing to share your experiences, insights, and remarkable accomplishments. Keep up the wonderful work. Happy New Year!

    December 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm

  2. Pingback: Sunshine |

  3. Pingback: Words Can Build Us Up |

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