The Joy of Teaching

I’d almost forgot what the joy of teaching feels like; but this week I felt it again. One of the students in my graduate class was struggling with her course blog. In her post, “Why Do I Have to Blog” she says,

I have been struggling with that question this week as my old self and my new self struggle to become comfortable with this relatively new form of communication. I have been whining all week about what I should blog about, who cares what I think anyway, who is really reading all these blogs, etc.

She searches around for some inspiration…her post conitnues:

So I turned to the Education World site to see if anything there would jog my desire to post to my blog. As I began reading an article on that site, I noticed a link for the author’s blog. I decided to see what he was blogging about and proceeded to have my first AHA! moment while blogging. The first sentence of Miguel Guhlin’s blog was talking about Pete Reilly’s (Ed Tech Journeys) recent blog post. With just a few clicks of my mouse I was able to become a ‘virtual’ part of a conversation between professionals in a field I’m choosing to learn more about.

So, she got the initial “AHA” and the big idea.

The power of having a learning community on-line is becoming a reality for me.

But the ‘icing on the cake’ was during class last Thursday when she explained how overwhelmed she was that the author of the article in Education World, Miguel Guhlin, had left an extensive Comment on her post.

The reach and the democracy of the RRW was finally real for her. Blogging is no longer an abstract concept, for this excited teacher; she has felt its power. She can see the power it might have for her students.

She learned something meaningful and relevant.

This is the joy of teaching!


ps. A second theme for this might be that this learning did not come from me, acting as the class teacher. All I, the teacher, did was set the table for the learning to take place. It was the energy of the learner that actually produced the learning. This is the new role of the teacher…and the beauty is…I still feel great.


pps. Thank you Miguel for being a model for our learning community.


6 thoughts on “The Joy of Teaching

  1. I find it serendipitous that your student and I were able to connect, without either one of us knowing that you were a connecting link. What’s even more magical is that article in Education World is my FIRST article in that magazine, so I’m enthused that in spite of having thousands of linked material online, EW brought me in contact with new folks and enabled a new conversation.

    I think it’s awesome that you were blogging about leadership and exhibiting leadership as a grad school teacher–both separate and valuable in themselves.

    Most importantly, I’m delighted that my early morning comments had value to a fellow educator in grad school. I hope she appreciates the fact that her comments were valuable to me, as well…that we can learn from one another, not constrained by official roles and titles.

    Thanks again,
    Miguel Guhlin
    Around the

  2. I can’t begin to explain how the thought of my naiveté at blogging has led to such an exciting learning opportunity for me. When I got home and actually read Miguel’s comment to my blog, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of excitement. So much so, that I have had to take a few days to gather my thoughts before posting a response. In gathering my thoughts, I have come to realize that the excitement is not so much his response (although I thank him for the feedback) but it is, for me, the excitement of learning something new and having authentic feedback.

    I had come to a point in my teaching where I needed to forge a new direction. I started falling into that place where many teachers find themselves; where the joy of teaching was losing its significance due to a variety of reasons, but for me, it’s mainly the pressure of high-stakes testing that has taken hold in my daily practice. The pressure to drill-and-kill basic facts is beginning to take a toll on me. It is making me uncomfortable in the profession. The feeling of being uncomfortable has led me to take action, thankfully.

    So, while I’m happy to have been a part of Pete’s rediscovery of the joy of teaching, I am thrilled to have rediscovered the joy of learning!


  3. It is amazing to see how many doors can be opened in education through communication online. If someone is struggling with the concept of blogging and how it can be useful, a moment like this can really effect the future of us teachers. It is easy to become discouraged (about using all the new technology that is available) but it is important that us teachers use all the tools that are available to us.

  4. Jason, I agree with potential that online communication can have. The cold hard reality is availability for more students than we would think. I work in an inner city school and when I asked one of my classes, only half have access. I think there is enough available outside the home if some effort was put in. Until that happens the digital divide would keep increasing.

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