I’m back to blogging after quite an absence. I stopped blogging for a couple of reasons. First, it takes time. Perhaps if I treated a blog like some sort of stream-of-consciousness exercise, I might find myself posting more often. But I’m rather old school in my thinking about what one should publish for the world to see – or rather not see since few blogs are actually read. In my blog, I want to distil my thoughts and to clarify my thinking about the relationship between effective teaching and meaningful learning. That impulse was rekindled recently by a Steve Job’s quote in an article on good design in BusinessWeek, May 1998, the year Apple returned to profitability in just a few months after Jobs re-assumed control. Jobs explained the company’s new success:
We’ve got a good team now, and we’re firing on all cylinders.
And as the strategy becomes clearer to more of the people in
the company, it really makes things much easier. The organization
is clean and simple to understand, and very accountable. Everything
just got simpler. That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity.
Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your
thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because
once you get there, you can move mountains.
In that light, I want to examine what I do well as a teacher to guide my students to greater learning, who are the individuals who are shaping my thinking, and how I might become part of a team that seeks to develop a productive, integrated, and meaningful experience for students in today’s and tomorrow’s classrooms. And who knows – maybe we’ll move some mountains, or at least a mound here or there.
Actually, I’ve been thinking about my role in education for some time. I spent this past summer writing a book I titled The Mission-Centered School. In many ways it’s the extended version of a blog, but hopefully it will have an ISBN attached to it at one point. I can’t honestly say that it’s groundbreaking material for the educational world. It’s more or less a distillation of the aspects of school reform I see as essential. But the process of writing helped clarify my own beliefs, many of which were inchoate or germinal at best. There’s a tremendous amount of information out there today in books, articles, ed sites, blogs, twitter feeds, etc. that are creating a welcome groundswell for the restructuring of how school and in particular how administrators and faculty operate. Nevertheless, in many ways, when you walk the halls, we’re still pouring new wine into old wineskins at this point. I want to help determine how we promote or implement these progressive ideas so that they gain more traction in the educational community. I realize that critics argue that the American system of education is like an unwieldy tanker, but even a tanker can shift direction by degrees.
So, here I am, back for one primary reason. Thinking and writing for me are inextricably bound. When I choose to channel my thoughts into black, fonted characters, I begin to hone them a little better. When I was writing my book, my mind was both reflective and focused. Bo Adams, author of the blog “It’s About Learning,” helped remind me that, while one hopes his or her blog will find followers, ultimately one blogs to better understand oneself. Time to get back into that mode again.
My old blog (where do all the old, abandoned blogs go?) can be found at http://hollychesser.edublogs.org/