Friday, November 16, 2012

I May Not Blog Often, But I Try..

I've been hearing a lot of noise in my Twitter stream about teachers blogging.
"Teachers really should blog more."
"They need to share the great learning going on in their classrooms."
"They need to comment on others' blogs." 
"They need to connect more!"

I even hear my own voice whispering those very things and eventually the roar: 

Why haven't you posted in over a month? 
At blogger awards times and such, people often step it up, eager to be recognized by their esteemed peers. There's nothing wrong with wanting a bit of recognition in a field where much of the attention given to us is critical.

But I blog for other reasons.  Yes, I am human and the attention can feel nice, but actually, I blog when I have a hope that my story will inspire, or energize, or simply help a teacher who is just downright exhausted and ready to throw in the towel. Maybe I will be that glimmer of hope. OK, so what's the issue then?

I don't know about you, but when I go through a blogging drought, I find myself wondering. Why don't I write more about my students and what we are doing? Here are a few of the reasons, though some might just view them as "excuses."

  • Blogging takes quite a bit of time when done to a standard I am comfortable with. A great deal of my teacher time is dedicated to planning, learning, working with students, and giving meaningful feedback. The time left is reserved for recharging, refueling, and this year, in particular, a heartfelt commitment to exercise and health. I really am in awe of those who are with students every day and still have time to blog several times a week. 
  • I blog several times per week on a class blog for my parent community, sharing what we are learning. This is a private blog, per my school's policy about photos, etc.This writing takes a good deal of time, and often I simply have nothing much left in me.
  • My students blog! This is fabulous, and I really enjoy sharing their blogs with others. Leaving quality comments and moderating posts and comments is wonderful, yet takes time as well.
  • Confidentiality is so important. Writing a story about the classroom, without going into detail describing students, their actions, comments, etc, is very tricky! When I blog I must be careful that no one knows who I am really writing about. This is a challenge, especially in a small school community. 
  • Teachers are in the spotlight. When I blog, I can't help but feel a need to convey honesty with twist of strength and confidence. Yes, we can share our vulnerabilities with our trusted peers, but frankly, we can put ourselves under intense scrutiny if we write openly about challenges with students. Maybe I am just too careful in this arena, but I have witnessed the diminished credibility of a colleague who was honest and revealed her struggles.
  • Blogging is lower on my current priorities list. Being completely present with students day in and day out is my main agenda. Connecting and collaborating with other educators on Twitter is another big priority.
Don't get me wrong! I want and hope to find a way to write more regularly. I have the utmost respect for teacher bloggers who seem to blog often. Perhaps I even have a bit of "blogger envy."  I would love to know if I have touched a familiar nerve in anyone out there or if they have advice for some of the challenges I mentioned.


Tracy Watanabe said...

Hi Joan,

You may not post on this blog very often, but your voice is so strong, connecting with many and often. Blogging is just one part of connecting with others, with your PLN. For example, it's rare that I log onto Twitter and don't see your voice there, contributing and connecting. You inspire!

I believe the call for blogging is for those that don't connect, don't have an online voice, and haven't built their PLN.

My PLN was mainly built through blogging at first. (It took me a very long time to wrap my head around Twitter.) Blogging is a great place to start, but it's not the only place.

I am glad you wrote this post because even though I believe everything I've written here, my inner voice says the same things to myself. I used to post once weekly. Now I post once a month on my main blog (more about pedagogy and what I'm learning/processing/reflecting on), but also post on our campus blogs (more tutorial type posts... and trying to get other admin within district to post there also). I also help other teachers get their blogs started, so a lot of the beginning posts on their blogs are written by me as I model for them. -- I share all of that because I sometimes feel guilty if I haven't touched my main blog, but I shouldn't feel that way. It's okay.

Thanks, Joan, for sharing. You helped me see that.

Kind regards,

Joan Young said...

Hi Tracy,
Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. I always learn so much from reading the work you share and the comments on blogs that you take so much care in writing.
It's nice to know that someone I respect so highly gets what I am fumbling through in expressing!
I know that this is a process and journey that I will continue to work through.
Thanks again,