One of the most important things I think educators–both teachers and administrators–can do in order to do right by their students is keep current regarding what works in education. Not what we think works; not what worked for us when we were in school; not what worked 10 years ago that we stubbornly still believe yet have no evidence that supports that belief. We need to know what actually works, either through research or through practice-based evidence in the classroom. One way I try and know what works is through following blogs using my feed reader (Feedly).
I try to go through my reader about three times a week for at least 20-30 minutes. I always manage to find something in there that teaches me something new or makes me reflect on my assumptions about what works in education.
If you look carefully, you’ll see that it’s not all work in there. I follow some news sites (mainly politics) and there are a few running sites that read pretty regularly as well. So even if I don’t learn anything new about education, I can learn something new in my other fields of interest.
Sometime I open up my reader and learn nothing new at all; instead, something in there will inspire me to keep managing the change we’re currently going through in our district. Or a post will reassure me that we’re on the right path to improve student learning. Or I will read something that I desperately needed to hear in order for me not to give up on an initiative, a goal, or sometimes (I hate to admit) even a person.
I never know what I’ll find when I open up my feed reader. But I always know I’ll find something I can use–and it will always help me keep current, know what works, and keep moving forward.
Now if you’ll excuse me, that article on the flaws of textbooks is calling to me.