A funny thing happened on my way to a blog post

I’ve been trying to formulate a post since FA but, I have not been able to sit down and do it. Not only do I have thoughts on FA and the ronco discussion but, Steve recommended I read “Clueless in Academe” this summer so I’ve been flooded with ideas. So in attempt to pull some strands together, finally a blog post.

Last night, as I was taking a walk, I thought ‘Why am I doing this? What is the point of dedicating all this time to learning about this? Heck I’m not even a prof! What is it about this whole thing?’ It is kind of ridiculous in many ways, I don’t consider myself a great thinker, I am a relative “n00b” to a lot of this but, as I have discovered it doesn’t really matter. I suppose I have incredibly lucky timing coming to Mary Wash at the point where class blogging, wikis, etc. are just starting to take hold. In fact I have feared that next year some super freshman will rise up and somehow take my position at DTLT and then promptly take over the world. It is my belief within a relatively short period of time there could be great discussion among students via blogs and if I had shown up later I would be another voice among many students.

Besides impeccable timing there are other factors that have led me to jump on the caravan. In early February, Steve e-mailed me and asked what I thought about a post over on Gardner’s blog. I had actually looked at the post he was talking about a few days before but, after two sentences or so I had skimmed the rest and decided it was way over my head. Not wanting to ignore the call to analyze I wrestled with the post, ‘God, does that word have another meaning? Purpose? Sense? Turtles?’. I had read it enough that I began to memorize parts of it and I finally e-mailed Steve back with what I hoped was a response to what Gardner was actually talking about. In turn Steve told me to blog it so I nervously posted and was excited and surprised that Gardner said what I had said made him think. How could my wimpy post contend with the lofty thoughts of Gardner? This was one of my first invitations in “The Conversation” and I don’t mean just a conversation on education or technology but, the dialogue that exist between people who take time to reflect, respond, and so much more. I realized there was a conversation going on that I wanted in on and I wasn’t even sure why.

I understand now that small pieces loosely joined don’t only foster conversations about things I am interested in (as much as I would like to think the world revolves around me) but, chemistry majors could engage in deeper learning and with the possibility of ronco on the horizon those conversations can extend past our specific interests and majors and lead to conversations where we can all utilize what we know towards a better understanding of…whatever! So perhaps I don’t have to fear that super freshman who will take over my position at DTLT and then the world because there could be other conversations out there for him/her to engage in (and Jim is taking the world over anyway). Even if SuperFrosh did get involved in the dtlt conversation, I might even be ok with that. πŸ˜‰ Everyone can contribute to the conversation and the more reflection the better the conversation gets. It isn’t about whether someone has better ideas than me or blogs better, it is about the conversation their ideas can generate. It is hard to admit when you are being self-centered and I’ve been guilty of some of that. What I really like about “this thing” (whatever this thing is) is it allows me to reflect individually and take time for myself but, also encourages me to share those thoughts and be open to conversation for a greater good.

I actually wanted to discuss something completely different in this post but, sometimes posts have a life of their own. More posts to follow soon, hopefully about things I actually intended to discuss, for now it just feels good to get another post out there.


5 Responses to “A funny thing happened on my way to a blog post”

  1. 1 bill May 25, 2007 at 6:13 am

    I’m impressed, and envious.

  2. 2 Martha May 25, 2007 at 8:56 am

    Wow, wow, wow.

    One of the hardest parts of being in “the conversation” is trusting that your voice is important and can’t be replaced. And at the same time knowing that every voice that gets added potentially augments and lifts up every other voice.

    It is the age-old battle between self vs. community — the need to be individual and the need to belong. (Once you hang around me longer, you’ll know that’s sort of a “theme” of my life πŸ˜‰ There is no right answer to this; there is only balance. I’m rarely living in that balancing spot. I’m usually a little to the east or west, but I’m constantly striving for it.

    I suspect lots of very important conversations never take place because people’s fears of being lost in the river of voices can be so profound.

    But I’m starting to finally believe (I think I’ve *known* it for a while, but that’s not the same as believing) that if we don’t have the conversations we should all just go home. Connections are all the matter — and connections can be the most frightening things in the world.

  3. 3 Angela May 25, 2007 at 9:05 am

    A thoughtful, careful, honest reflection on the potential for thinking people to generate and share ideas through complexly interconnected conversations.

    What you had to say here got me thinking about just how much I appreciate being humbled and inspired by the individual voices that emerge in that patchwork. That humbling is the best starting place for finding one’s own voice.


  4. 4 Barbara May 25, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Thanks for this remarkable post.

    I wish you went to Middlebury! But short of that, my students can still learn from your thought-provoking reflective blogging practice. I am tagging this post and will have my students read it this fall (as well as add you to their RSS feed accounts) to introduce them to the notion of the greater conversation from the student’s perspective and to invite them to take the same risks you do so bravely and openly. You’re an inspiration!

  5. 5 sehauser May 26, 2007 at 12:17 am

    @bill – nice to meet you I see you are a follower of Geeky Mom too, so you can’t be that bad πŸ˜‰ , thanks for the comment.

    @Martha – I’ve never had a very good sense of balance so I’m sure we will enjoy each others company as we strive for it. Connections can be very frightening, hence why I have avoided them mostly, not a good thing.

    @Angela – You said, “That humbling is the best starting place for finding one’s own voice.” I’m feeling this statement. I see all these brilliant ideas and somehow in all that I feel I have a voice, it is crazy.

    @Barbara – Wow, it is truly an honor that you would regard my post so highly as to share it with your students. I can’t even begin to tell you how inspirational I find your posts, I’m definitely trying to focus on some more slow-blogging. It’d be interesting to make a connection to some of your students over at Middlebury, I’d liked to find more students that are into the blogging scene : )

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