Blogs have been around for a while now, but principals are beginning to jump on the bandwagon and use this tool to connect with parents, students, and the community in ways that were not possible a decade ago.
Not only is it free to blog, but it requires little upkeep or technical knowhow to reach a much wider audience than many of us ever thought possible. If you need convincing about the merits of blogging, here are five good reasons every principal should have a blog.
You are in control of the message
One of the greatest advantages to blogging as a principal is that you control the central message to your site—which diminishes the odds of you being misquoted. Not only that, if parents, students and colleagues have a question about something you’ve written, they can post a comment and you can respond accordingly. Of course, you have to keep in mind that since you’re crafting the message, you are also going to be the one to blame if you don’t get it right!
If you are concerned about the types of comments you might receive, remember that you can always choose to moderate and approve comments before they are visible to the public.
Blogs may increase coverage in traditional media
These days, newspapers are hugely understaffed. If you’ve ever contacted your local media or sent out a press release about your school, you may have noticed a couple of things: First, most newspapers are not jumping up and down to give you a write-up—unless, of course, it is scandalous. Second, when media do accept your press release, they simply copy and paste most of your press release and repackage it as a “story.”
As Mark Stock points out in his book, The School Administrator’s Guide to Blogging, you may be surprised to find out that journalists, especially those who cover educational issues exclusively, are frequent blog readers who scour the web weekly looking for potential story ideas. If they know about your blog, you may find that they call to ask your opinion on education issues. This is excellent publicity for your school.
Blogs expose your school to a much larger community
Most principals still use traditional methods of connecting with the community: attending the Friday night ball games, attending plays, greeting students in the morning, organizing Back-to-School Night, and so on. More and more, though, principals are realizing that face-to-face crowds do not necessarily represent the entire community they are trying to connect with!
Blogs give you the ability to connect with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people every single day from the comfort of your home or office.
Blogs connect you with other administrators
Like parenting, there’s no textbook for being a principal—well, maybe there is, but no textbook is as wise as your experienced friends and mentors. You may be surrounded by people all day, but being a principal is often solitary and isolated work. Even if you have been promoted from within, you shouldn’t be surprised when a hush comes over the room when you enter, or when people more closely monitor what they say in your presence. That’s just how it is, which is why you need a support system, someone you don’t have to censor yourself in front of; someone who has no connection to your school, its bureaucracy and thin skin.
Blogging is one of the best ways for administrators to connect, swap ideas, and mentor one another.
A blog is a living, breathing resume
Perhaps you plan on staying firmly planted in your school until the day you retire, but chances are that you are open to the possibility of change. When, and if, you decide to apply for another position, you’ll submit a traditional CV/resume to showcase your experience and expertise. Imagine, though, if you also shared your blog with the screening committee or central office administrators who are interviewing you? They will have a large body of work—photos, videos, short reflections—that showcase all of the awesome things you and your colleagues have been doing over the years. Having a blog is a great way to distinguish yourself from the pack.