Image courtesy of Becky Snyder
Two years. One hundred posts. Over 10,000 visits. I never thought this blog would ever make it this far. I normally don’t try to get caught up in numbers. It can be dangerous. But from time to time, it is can be healthy to look back over what has happened, giving you insight into where you are heading. In this case, I thought it might be good to spend some time sharing my thoughts about blogging, social media, and my growth as a teacher, learner, and person over this time.
Some of you may be asking yourself, “Don’t you have another blog that is even older?” Sure, but this blog has been far more personal. It has been my place to share what is happening in my head (a scary place at times) and what has been happening in my classroom as well as my life in general. Looking back, there are things I think could have said differently, and there are even things I don’t necessarily agree with anymore, at least not in the way I communicated it at that time. I have issued apologies, retractions, and even written my first short story based on a Twitter chat (which took far too long to complete). I’ve had some posts take off like wildfire, while others barely were a spark.
No matter what, I wouldn’t change a thing, even those things I think should have been said differently. I am who I am today in part because of those posts. It sounds trite, maybe a bit cheesy, but it’s true. Those words sparked conversations that helped shape me into who I am. That is why I blog. Sometimes, I love writing, while others times it is painful. No matter what, I have tried as hard a possible to remain true to who I am, writing things I believe need to be said out loud instead of hiding them away in my head. Yes, there are times I have wanted to take back what I have written, but I leave it out there because it is evidence that I am a real, breathing, feeling human being who just happens to be an English teacher.
I strongly believe in blogging as a teaching professional. It isn’t easy and probably shouldn’t be. When I talk about blogging, I don’t just mean sharing lesson plans, materials, and other things like that, even though those are great and helpful to many. I am talking about reflective blogging. I am not against other types of blogging, for they are necessary, but I think that they don’t provide a very clear picture of who you really are. For those that don’t practice reflective blogging, I thought I would share some of my thoughts, tips, and ideas based on what I have experienced.
- Don’t focus on the numbers; they will only take attention away from what is really important. Does it really matter how many people liked your post? It may be that the one post that only gets a few visits might be just what one person needed to read that day. It’s all about the bigger picture
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You are a person. People do stupid stuff from time to time. People are generally understanding, and if they aren’t, don’t dwell. Make this a time to learn from your less than glamorous moment and others will as well.
- Be real. This goes together with number two. You can try as you might to look better than you are or to pander to the masses, but most people will see through the thin veil of vanity and you will tend to lose strength in your message. Stay true to you.
- Don’t try to compete with others. It isn’t a game with others as your opponents. One thing I have learned more than anything during this time is that I am not the smartest, best, or any other superlative and I am more than content with that. I actually do think I have some things to share with others, but I gladly concede any titles to others.
- Push yourself, but don’t feel you have to always find something to blog. There have been more than a few times that I have put the writing to the side for a season. When I felt the urge to share something, I’ve picked it back up again. It has its ebbs and flows.
- When sharing your posts, put it out there a few times, especially on Twitter where it can be buried fairly quickly, but don’t overdo it. It is just a personal thing, but I don’t like to share a post for more than 24 hours on social media. After that, I feel like I look desperate for visitors and I don’t feel good about it. Again, this is just my own decision and others feel differently. Feel free to make your own choices on that.
I have a lot of other things I could share, but I think I will wait to add them to the next 100 posts. 🙂
To all the people who have visited, commented, shared, and even challenged me over these two years on this blog, you have my heartfelt gratitude. I can’t believe that there are people who actually like this blog enough to follow it (over 200 of you crazy people)! I hope you have gotten something out of it and I hope you will stick with me as I continue this journey. I will forever be that teacher “always in training”.