09 October 2012

Reinventing Jewlearn-it

Like many things in life, everything has a beginning and a end. In this case the end is only a transformation to something better.
My blog Jewlearn-it its about to close its doors.
 I started it when I was still a classroom teacher,  eager to experiment on 21st century tools. I wasn't even sure of how to do it. Not writing in my mother language (Spanish) made it even harder. Still, I gave it try.
At first, I thought a blog was a great way to keep parents and students well informed of what was happening in class. In theory it sounded good, but in reality, very few parents were visiting my blog yet, it took me a monumental amount of time to keep it updated. Is it worth it?
Then, I though I can use my blog as a way to share with colleagues the new amazing education resources I was using and finding on the web. 
With that in mind, I run to share my incipient yet interesting (at least for me) posts about projects we were doing in class with one of my bosses and I rather than getting a constructive criticism, I was run over by her:
 -"It is pathetic. I would not do it if I was you. Also please removed the name of the school from it" she said-.
-Darn it- I though. -As if writing in English was not hard enough, I now have to come up with a name for this blog-.
 What name can possibly match what I am trying to achieve and convey here. I curious about practically every Jewish education, Jewish culture and 21st century education/technology related subject out there.
Then I started thinking: Jewish people are known as "the people of the book" meaning, we have a strong connection with learning. Paradoxically, Jewish education has yet a lot to catch up with 21st century education. Then, I decided that my blog's name should reflect struggles and small victories of an "out of the box Jewish educator" on her journey to create a digital footprint in the blog world. (uff! that was exhausting to write).
This is how, in order to keep writing with out compromising the moral and ethical integrity of my employer, I decided my blog should be named Jewlearn-it. (the Jew word was also intended to include the sound of the world You).
At this point is that I decided to keep writing my blog but only as a personal diary where I could keep track of relevant projects I worked on as well as excellent and selective Jewish resources I came across with.

Fast-forward to 2012, at Simchat-Torah services yesterday morning, Rabbi Adam Grossman explained that Judaism, among other western religions, conceives life as continuous on going cycle. Year after year for generations on Simchat-Torah, we finish reading sefer Bamidbar (Deuteronomy) and begin with sefer Bereshit (Genesis) completing a one year reading cycle of Torah portions.
How is it possible that we are still learning something new from a scroll that has been written centuries ago?
Answer: What's written in the books hasn't change one word. Yet, we have changed, therefore we are able to begging reading the same book over and over with a new set of eyes, allowing us to experience learning and grow.
I can really make the analogy of what rabbi Grossman said and the writing of a blog. Every time I browse around through my older posts, I can't help to look at them with a different attitude, understanding and vision.
 Ever since I starting posting at Jewlearn-it, I have gone through several personal and professional changes and experiences. Thankfully, most of them had been positive.

I have recently moved to Memphis, TN, and a new chapter in my life hast just started. New beginnings provide  the perfect opportunity to expand our thinking and horizons. And that is exactly what has happened to Jewlearn-it and me.
This blog has been a good friend to me. It has nurtured me and helped me grow and mature as person as an educator as thinker and yes, why not? as a blog writer.
Jewlearn-it  has also provided  me with shelter on raining and cold lonely days and it has guided me to explore new and brighter paths.
As many people who know me well know, I always have a lot to say about everything. And that I will continue doing on a new blog I am working on.
 Meanwhile, I will not be adding new content to this blog but you will still be able to access what's been posted in here.
Additionaly, I have recently curated three topics through Scoop-it: Jewlearn-it Magazine, The Art of Education and The Progressive Educator while transitioning to the new blog.

Hopefully I will see y'all there too!

Some last reflections: 
Keeping a blog is a hard thing to do. It is as personal as writing a diary. Not every person in the world keeps one. Not everyone has a talent to write one.
It takes too much time an effort to keep one blog updated and in mint condition. I am not sure even how I got to this point. On the one hand, the cons in the other hand, the pros of using a blog as a tool for self grow. I am glad I haven't quite despite all. One has to be a fool in order to continue doing an activity that is not making you famous, money or generating the audience that it is expected of a blog. But, I never thought that my blog will ever do all of this for me.
Perhaps one should only write a blog to make you company, if anything else.
For me, creating, envisioning and keep writing in Jewlearn-it, has been a true labor of love.

Thank you so much for you support and friendship,

Noemi Szoychen


Rabbi Arnold D. Samlan said...

Looking forward to new blogs and new writings from you

Andrea Hernandez said...

Just when I figure out how to subscribe to your blog, I read that you are moving on!
I remember when you started this blog, Nomy, and I know just what you mean about it being a source of growth and self-discovery. I feel the same way about blogging.
I will have to find you in your next space, as I am always interested in your journey.
And I love your point about how the words in the book don't change, but we do!

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