Sunday, February 3, 2013

Intrinsic Blog-ivation

I have never blogged for more than a few months at a time before (only as long as a course required me to sadly), so this will be my first attempt at maintaining a blog consistently and more importantly for the right reasons. During a lesson last week in my college success class at a local college we brainstormed intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) motivators for the things we do in life.

The students' list was pretty standard with extrinsic being connected to money, power, grades (or a degree), belief in luck, chance, or fate, and overall a results-based mindset. On the other hand, intrinsic led us to discuss motivators such as enjoyment, personal or professional growth, belief in self-control and hard work, and overall process-based mindset.

As we discussed some activities that provide the different motivators I realized that I had blogged before only for extrinsic reasons. These reasons were often thinly veiled, such as an assignment for a course, but I realized that I wanted (and needed) to find the intrinsic motivation that so many other professionals had found in blogging as a reflective and collaborative tool. When I decided a few days ago to start a new blog I began researching what some of the most important connections in my professional learning network were saying about their own blogging experiences.

One of the most hard-hitting bloggers in education that I know is Joe Bower from Alberta, Canada. Joe has inspired me to fight against the mediocre status quo that has gripped so many schools today. Joe Bower wrote a reflective post titled My Three Years of Blogging and Tweeting where he said "I have developed a network of people that I trust and respect. These connections fuel my learning." This is the biggest reason I need to maintain a blog. I have gone almost two years learning and growing by reading the blogs of Joe Bower and many others; it is time to step out of my circle of comfort, reflect on my teaching and learning, and grow exponentially as an educator and learner. You can read Joe's blog at For the Love of Learning and follow him on twitter here.

Another professional I follow on blogger and twitter is Dean Shareski. In a Huffington Post blog post titled How to Make Better Teachers Dean summed it up in one word - blogging. Dean discusses the benefits of blogging, both financially (free!) and more importantly from a professional growth standpoint. He terms it as being a "Reflective Practitioner" - which I agree with. A lot of teachers, including myself, could strive a lot harder to be more reflective. You can read Dean's blog at Ideas and Thoughts: Learning Stuff Since 1964 and I highly recommend you follow him on twitter here.

I think the biggest obstacle in my mind, second to the fear of reflecting publicly, is the amount of time it takes to reflect and blog substantively. George Couros, a Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning for Parkland School Division, recently wrote a post titled Another Reason to Blog; Proactive through Reflection where he responded to the notion of not having enough time.
"My response has been that reflection is part of your work. It is important that you make it part of your day, as it should be a part of your student’s day.  We cannot just continue to dump information into our (and our student’s) brains without giving or making time to reflect.  It is essential that there is creation and connection along with consumption."
You can read more of George's posts at his blog Principal of Change and follow his twitter posts here.

The first educational blogger I ever read was Steve Wheeler at his blog titled Learning with 'e's, and I have been a devoted reader ever since. On his post, Seven Reasons Teachers Should Blog, Steve sums up many of my motivators as a life-long learner looking to start blogging more; these reasons are: reflection, crystallizing your thinking, interaction with new audiences, creating personal momentum, generating valuable feedback, using creativity, and raising your game as a professional. Steve writes often and truthfully, baring his thoughts and thought processes openly for examination and conversation, he has inspired me since I read his blog the first time. In addition to reading his blog, Steve's Twitter account is a wealth of good conversation about nearly any topic related to education, follow him here (yes - his Twitter name is @timbuckteeth).

Finally, there are two principals I have just recently discovered and begun to follow and I am almost distraught that I didn't find these two leaders earlier on - thank goodness for blog archives. Justin Tarte, a principal in Union R-XI School District, wrote a post called 10 Reasons to Get Educators Blogging on his blog Life of an Educator which is actually five reasons to read blogs and five reasons to create a blog. This post was one of the many I have read that helped give me the push to start a blog for the right reasons and hopefully stick with it. Follow Justin on twitter here.

The other principal, Eric Sheninger at Milford High School in New Jersey, writes his blog at A Principal's Reflections. During my search for blogger's reflections on blogging I found Time Well Spent on Eric's blog and in this post his open reasoning and links to both pro-bloggers and those against blogging shows how committed he is to provided a balanced argument for blogging and social media as a whole in his life, his school, and for others in education. Follow Eric on Twitter here.

These are but a few of the many, many people I learn from on Twitter and through blogs. One of the most exciting things about these social media outlets is that anytime I am ready to learn more and to grow as an individual and a professional all I have to do is commit a few minutes of my time to read and reflect on content put out (for free!) by some of the most inspirational leaders in education today.

This blog will be my attempt to show the world that I am ready to grow as an educator and a leader. I hope that others can learn along with me in my journey of Learning to Be a Leader.

Please comment and subscribe to this blog so that I reach the fullest potential of this tool. Follow me on Twitter here.

Image source

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


  1. Hey Tony, thanks for the mention. Here's a bit of advice to offer from a few years back.
    "Find your voice. As I have my pre-service teachers delve into this medium, it’s easy to see whose blogs get the most action. It’s the ones who let go the reigns everyone in a while and write from their gut. I can read about almost any topic when passion is evident. For new bloggers this is usually a big risk but well worth it. Write about what fires you up."

    All the best

    1. Dean,

      Good advice - thanks for taking the time to comment. I will work hard to write passionately on my blog, I hope you come back and read some again.

      All the Best,


  2. Hi Tony,

    A few more resources for you as you build your network!
    (particularly #2 and #5)
    (see the 4 EdLeadership lists)

    And, if I may be so humble,!

    I've got you in my reader. Looking forward to learning from you...

    1. Scott,

      Thanks for commenting - I just followed you on Twitter and added your RSS feed to my reader as well - I read a couple archived posts - good stuff so far! Looking forward to connecting with you more in the future.