A year ago I began my journey into the world of blogging as a part of the Principal Blogging Project. Scott McLeod, then of the University of Minnesota and currently at Iowa State University, initiated an effort to create 100 school principal blogs. This effort was successful and led to other adventures into the world of blogging for those of us who were new to the art.
As my blogging anniversary approaches, I am writing my last post for Banter from Brooks. I've truly enjoyed this experience and have decided to end it by sharing with you what I've learned over the past 12 months as a blogger. So, here goes. These are in no particular order...
1. Blogging is fun. I enjoyed it because I'm able to find a "voice" that I can't use in emails. I am not exactly able to tell you why that is, but it has been easy for me to try to be candid, honest, and a bit self-deprecating on the blog. (My critics would say boastful as well, but who are you if you don't have critics, right?) See, that last statement wouldn't fit well in an email...
2. The internet is a huge place. The fact that someone looks at a site you produce in and of itself is cool. As I've looked through comments and had someone share that they live in another state or were referred to the blog by someone else, I am blown away by the interconnectedness of the online world. If you check out blogs regularly, you'll notice that the good ones keep their information current and borrow from others while usually giving full credit to the source. Good blogs link to other good blogs - and you can easily amass a day's worth of reading by perusing one site and checking out its links.
3. There are some mean, nasty people out there. There are those who choose to use public blogs as a means to promote their own agenda or pick a fight. Those of you who have followed this blog have seen it here. I knew going into this experience that by allowing people to comment that I would be opening myself up to critique. I can live with that. I just didn't anticipate the venom that some people would utilize and the energy they'd expend being critical of things in a forum that I have provided and have complete control over. The funniest thing about this is, had I ever shut the comments down on the negative people, I'd be accused of censoring their opinions. On a forum that I control that never existed before I created it! With some people, you just can't win. Just try not to stand in the way of their agenda or else.
But, at least some folks with agendas have the guts to share their real names with their negative comments. Even more appalling are those who provide fake names and email addresses to accompany their blasting of your work. One "gentleman" claimed to be a retired principal as he was critical of my wearing of a baseball jersey to school. When I tried to have an email dialogue with him about his concerns, I found that his information was all bogus. What I attempted to say to him was that I wear jerseys to school when I can because it helps me connect with my students. They love it. It makes me a real person in their eyes. Unfortunately, Mr. Retired Principal didn't have the nerve to share his name with his critique. Classic. Definitely not the only time I encountered that issue, either.
4. There are some great people out there, too. It's too bad that we spend so much of our energy on the negative ones.
5. The internet is a scary place. Beth and I have agreed from day one that our kids will not have internet access in their bedrooms. Online access needs to occur in a public place - and my boys should not be on sites that they couldn't be on unless I was standing next to them. As I've perused the web looking for ideas or links I am blown away by the garbage that exists online. As a former social studies teacher I worry that our schools need to do a better job of teaching students how to determine the validity of online sources. Everybody's got an opinion - how do you figure out whose is correct?
If you are still interested in learning about Brooks Elementary and the things we do, please sign up for our email news-list. Go to the Brooks Home Page (link on the bottom left of this page) and click on the appropriate tab on the right side of our home page. Just follow the directions from there. It takes 20 seconds - but be sure to sign up for the school list and not just the district list. You can also just send an email directly to:
Banter from Brooks has now concluded. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Thanks - DY