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Mar 25

Chris Smeaton

Why Blog?

I would certainly say, that I began the process of blogging as another communication technique for our division. Last year, I produced a monthly e-mail message entitled, “From the Desk of the Superintendent” for our staff and school councils. The purpose of this mass e-mail was to inform our community about actions taken at the monthly board meeting and to highlight upcoming events. Our Board of Trustees are strong advocates for transparency and timely communications and so as their only employee, much of that work falls to me or my office. To jump into the fray of technology and hopefully gain a larger audience, I simply made the transition from mass e-mail communication to monthly blog post.  So each month or more often if necessary, I produce a blog post, “From the Desk of the Superintendent” that meets the requirement of division news. I’m hoping that our survey results will indicate that our communications from division office have continued to improve with this change in media.

When I wrote my first post in June 2011, I thought that I might add to the monthly contributions with the odd educational update under the namesake, “Superintendent’s Blog.” For those who know me well, I’m very comfortable speaking in front of large or small groups, but I’m certainly not a prolific writer. The ideas in my head flow fairly easily to my tongue but seem to hit a barrier when it comes to putting them down in word.  I marvel at the people who can sit down and write so eloquently and with such ease. It would certainly be a check on my personal bucket list if I could ever write a book. But an interesting learning is occurring; the more I write, the more I like to write and the easier it is to write. And so one of the first reasons why I blog is that it is teaching me to write better and that is motivating in itself. I now am in the habit of writing a new post every weekend and hope that I will be able to increase that presence even more in the coming months.

The 2nd reason that I blog is to be a role model for my staff. I have been a long time believer that leadership actions are far more important than leadership words. It is difficult for me to ask our administrators and our teachers to engage in blogging or any other innovative practice without engaging in it myself. When I look at our schools engaged in innovation, it is always being led by an innovative leader. Each of those leaders demonstrate a willingness to innovate and role model those traits. It may be involvement with Twitter, student blogging, creativity or fine arts but it is the leader modelling transformation and creating a risk taking environment. It is difficult for me to understand leaders who demand transformative pratices without engaging in them themselves.

The third reason that I blog is one that in the end will either endure me with many or cost me considerably. Simply put, I blog to challenge the status quo. Thank goodness I have an excellent senior leadership team who remind me that there are limits to what I can say! But honestly, if we are truly going to make the significant changes in education that are necessary, we all need to be challenged to think and act differently. The status quo is unacceptable for our children and therefore as a leader of a very successful school division, I must still be prepared to push the envelope.  I must be willing to create a little controversy and make all of us, including myself, slightly uncomfortable. None of us learn without being stretched and that can be uncomfortable.  

Finally, blogging allows me to contribute to my PLN. It allows me, not only to share my ideas but those of my staff and others who have guided me on my leadership journey. Ensuring that we meet the needs of each child will never occur in isolation and blogging is just another way of gaining inspiration from others and strength in numbers. My PLN is comprised of colleagues both in the system and around the world and their writings have inspired me and forced me to constantly reflect on my leadership practices. Their contributions to my learning far exceeds what I offer them and for that, I am most grateful.  

Now the question to you is… “Why do you blog?”

2 comments

2 pings

  1. Scott Carey

    Thanks for the great post Chris! I’m starting my blogging adventure this year for a lot of the same reasons and I hope that I can reflect after a year with the same satisfaction that you are obviously having. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Sandra

    Thanks for sharing. Your post is a useful conitibutron.

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