Writing and posting this blog every day has taught me a lot about myself as a writer and a teacher. Apart from giving me the opportunity to examine my practice and philosophy, there has been a practical application, too.
As middle school English teachers go, I'd say I'm pretty well-educated and well-credentialed, too, but even so, sometimes questions about grammar and usage arise that I'm not sure of. Why don't I know those things? It's not that I never learned them-- I'm a product of a traditional skill and drill language arts curriculum. I learned tons of grammar, out of context, and I was darn good at those worksheets, thank you very much. No, I'm not sure of the answers to those questions for the same reason that it took me a couple minutes to remember how to help an eighth grade student the other day find the equation for the slope of a line: I haven't applied that learning in years, if ever.
As a blogger, I am both author and editor of my writing, and it's the editing that often sends me searching the grammar texts and style sheets. All of a sudden, the rules are relevant to me, because who wants to be the English teacher with all the silly mistakes in her blog?