Forgive this rather self-indulgent celebration. I’m absolutely astonished that my blog has reached the million milestone and it can’t go without a bit of a stock-take.
Here are the monthly stats since I started:
Back in May 2012, I made my first tentative steps into blogging. My ‘Hello World’ post included the following statement of intent:
I have decided to participate instead of simply watching from the sides. I am planning to use this blog to share ideas about teaching and learning and to comment, less often, on educational issues in general. As a Headteacher I have to wrestle with the challenge of creating the space for my staff to engage in professional development that is motivating and meaningful to them individually whilst also trying to achieve a sense of common purpose through collaboration and collective action. I firmly believe that control stifles creativity and that creativity is the path to outstanding success in learning; so my job is to shield people from external pressure to the greatest extent possible to allow creativity to flourish.
At the same time, however, I need to make sure that the best ideas for improving learning are shared and well understood and are acted upon. There are some things that are non-negotiable and as teachers, the autonomy we relish can’t allow us to stagnate, or meander into mediocrity. At a whole school level, there is a continuum; some teachers are more effective than others and all teachers can improve. So, there is a tension; a line to walk between enabling people to be the best they can be and insisting that they try without stifling the creativity that they need to succeed with excessive control mechanisms, fear-factors and rigid diktats.
And then I posted this – for no good reason at all: Kitchen Blackboard:
Things have come along way since then. It’s become a ‘thing’ – exceeding all expectations. People sometimes ask me how I find the time for blogging. I don’t really know – it’s just something that I do out of interest, to relax, to think and to engage with other people, often late at night when there’s nothing else going on. It’s more or less part of my routine now. I marked the 1st and 2nd Anniversaries of this blog with two posts:
The second post focused on the doors that have opened for me since I started this whole thing:
The biggest blog hits seem to be those that share other people’s ideas on behaviour and marking. Other hot topics are differentiation and homework. Then there was THE monster OfSTED blog that had over 20K views in one day and now over 90K overall. Ridiculous really. The most recent list is here.
It’s always a thrill to see how many countries have been reached. One day, someone in Iran stumbled across this blog. And Kiribati. Perhaps looking for Kitchen Blackboard ideas?
Here’s the map – nearly a full house:
This year there have been a few posts that have given me huge satisfaction derived from the responses from teachers who tell me that I’ve helped them or encouraged them to keep going. This is a crowd-pleasing round-up of the good reasons to do this great job.
A simple curation of some material from key thinkers was a big summer hit:
Recently, I’ve had two very popular posts – posts that took off quickly on the day they were published. Firstly, the ‘Silver Arrows’ post which exceeded all expectations, helped along by this infographic summary by @educatingmiss.
And the other was my most recent post about not grading lessons. I liked the Truman show image – it summed it nicely at the end.
Amongst the million views, there are posts that are more important to me – despite not always getting too many hits. One is my Rainforest Thinking post. It captures a lot of what is wrong with education and of what could be so much better.
I like to re-read this post about Awe in Great Lessons:
I was thrilled with the response to my post about reading books:
And buried amongst the education posts are some more personal ones. This very early, very short post makes me smile:
And then there is this one with various musical endeavours embedded in the post. Cue the usual tumbleweed.
Twitter provides the highest number of referrals – but it’s great when people come to my blog after reading other people’s blogs.
(This blog about the Verve has been a hit with Richard Ashcroft fans.) I also send other bloggers a few hits in return – especially @learningspy:
A big weakness of mine is failing to respond to all the comments on the blog – I try but time flies by and I just don’t get around to it. The blogs with the most comments are here:
I can’t remotely do justice thanking all the people who have supported me in writing this blog. There are several people who are often quick to comment or share via twitter. I’m always immensely grateful. My favourite thing of all is when I receive an email, comment or tweet from someone who tells me that one of these posts has actually helped them in some small way. That makes it all worthwhile. Better still is when I get to meet those people in person. I especially like it when one of my students, teachers or parents makes reference to the blog – it’s my way of telling them what I really think.
The bloggers I continue to look up to are David Didau, the original inspiration; John Tomsett, now a good friend and fellow Roundtable Head and Edu-Proclaimer (!) – and Alex Quigley, the brains of the edu-internet. There are obviously countless others. Ross McGill is a towering force as Teacher Toolkit with a commitment to the educational social media world without equal – I’m proud to have once been his line-manager all those years ago. He was always dreaming up grand schemes.
Numerous people have been super-supportive: Jill Berry, Shaun Allison, Nick Behr, Helene GaldinOShea, Alom Shaha, Dave Fawcett, Damian Benney, Dave Fawcett, Laura McInerney, Roo Stenning, Pete Jones, Martin Burrett (ICTMagic) – among others. Tim Taylor and Andrew Old have also reblogged my posts more than anyone else. I’m always grateful.
And I have to mention Chris Waugh – the Edutronic himself – who was the very first person to comment on my blog in a way that made me realise there was an audience out there. Actually, it’s more than that. It’s a community – and I’m thrilled to be part of it.