This weekend marked an important 8 Blog anniversary. On November 17, 2009, I shared my first blog post on this space. Looking back at that original post, I’m actually sort of surprised that this whole project is still going after ten years. At the time, I was looking for a way to share different instructional technologies with my colleagues. But here we are, ten years later and I’m still posting. While the focus of my writing has changed a little over the years, my desire to continue writing and sharing remains.
Despite the change in focus, people are still reading. Earlier this year, the 8 Blog logged its 100,000 view. I don’t know if it’s the same reader coming back here over and over and over, or whether it’s a couple thousand loyal readers who come here weekly to sift through these musings to find something of value. Either way, thanks for sharing this decade long journey with me. I’m humbled by your support and readership.
Over the years, I’ve shared some of my motivations for blogging. Contributing weekly posts here has helped me hone my writing skills. It has also helped me work through ideas and interactions with colleagues. It also helps me have a conversation with people from around the world. Recently, however, I came across a quote that captures my intentions a little more.
In his book, The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust and Responsiveness in the Classroom, Stephen Brookfield (2006) writes:
“Teaching is not about charismatically charged individuals using the sheer force of their characters and personalities to wreak lifelong transformations in students’ lives. It’s about finding ways to promote the day-to-day, incremental gains that students make as they try to understand ideas, grasp concepts, assimilate knowledge and develop new skills. All the small things you do to make this happen for student represent the true story of teaching. Helping learning is what makes you truly heroic.” (p. 278)
I shared this quote with a colleague recently who said that this captures the essence of “selfless teaching.” That phrase has really lodged itself in my brain as I’ve reflected on this ten-year blogging journey. While Brookfield is talking about our roles as teachers in this quote, I can’t help think that he also captures how I see my role as a professional developer on campus and as a blogger out here on the interwebs. My posts are not going to “wreak lifelong transformations” on my readers. But that’s not really my intention, either. Instead, my hope is that a post here and there will help people see their roles as educators a little differently. Maybe it will help someone grasp some new concepts, make some incremental gain, or grow as teachers. I don’t think it makes this blog “truly heroic” or anything, but I’m hoping it helps you be a little more so.
To another ten years.