Thursday, March 1, 2012

To Blog or Not to Blog... A BlogDentity Crisis!

                                Well, the title sums it up!
                                                                                I guess I am kind of stuck.

It has been a rocky few weeks.  With testing looming and rain falling, everyone at school has been out of sorts.

There has been a lot of anxiety floating around the Blog-O-Sphere in the past two weeks as well. It began with the Dr. Whooss details.  Then Pinterest issues were added to the mix.  And then the news that Blogger was dropping the "Friends Connect" for non-Blogger sites. (I keep wondering if I will be left with eight tiny heads in the follower box--and one of those will say Joy in 6th!)  All of this has made me feel quite uneasy.

BlogLand has been such a warm and friendly place.  It's like a summer picnic.  Or like cocoa after snow.  Or like quilts and coffee on a Saturday afternoon.  Wait! That last one really IS part of my blogging life!

As many times as I have taught the lesson in my classroom, it suddenly seems necessary to examine my "author's purpose" for blogging in the first place.

So... why did I start blogging?
Actually, I really just enjoyed the reading part.  I loved seeing what everyone was doing.  It was summer, and so many teachers had "Back to School" units, ideas, and pictures. Ahhh.  The pictures.  That was my favorite part.

And then I left a comment and celebrated someone's success.  Or  complimented her creativity.  Or shared a low moment and said, "It will get better." After three decades of teaching, I had some inkling that it really would get better. And that made blogging even more fun!

And I made friends.  Sweet friends who learned I loved Starbucks, hated flying, and wanted with all my heart to do good things for kids.  And I l learned about them too--their kids, their college kids, their classrooms, their students, their struggles, their joys, their hair, and their love of books, birds, bags, circular labels, giraffe scarves, running and reality shows.  It's been fun meeting new bloggers and waiting-to-be teachers too!

You know you are a faithful blogger when you can describe someone's present AND former blog template--and their button(s)!

But I am not, by nature, a writer. I have always regretted not being good at writing.

What is MY role in blogging?  How can I do my part? What can I share? How can I give back?

I don't do cute.  I don't have a shop.  My materials have straight lines and normal fonts, not pumpkins and elves and little animals. My lessons look like most everyone else's at my school... sort of nondescript and well, ordinary.  With classes of 32+ and counting, so often we are just trying to survive!

I'm not good at funny commentary (Unless I am scared to pieces on an airplane--and the beverage cart is nearby) and many of the things my kids say are mean, rude, or not-suitable-for print.

I'm not very good with my camera either.  My kids have been known to say: "Can you get my whole face in the next one?" or "Why did you take a picture of just my ear?"  To me, they're moving targets.  Or I'm moving.  I used to blame it on my camera.  But ALL of my cameras have taken lousy pictures.

It usually takes me three hours to complete a post.  I am a slow (and inaccurate) typist--and that's AFTER I have decided what to say. And Blogger has a nasty habit of whisking what I type right off of the screen and into cyberspace!

I'm worried about adding another thing that I cannot do well to an ever-growing list.  That acknowledgement threatens to further defeat my confidence, and it feels a little like holding push pins near a floating balloon.

And then I read comments by KristIn and KristEn and several other sweet BlogFriends in which they worried that they couldn't read and comment as often as they would like.  And there was guilt.  The last thing I want to do is add the potential for guilt or anxiety to anyone's life!  Well, truth be told, I was hoping that a few of my sixth graders would experience one of those emotions and turn in some homework!

I love reading about all of the wonderful lessons and ideas and strategies shared in blogs.  And I've tried more than a few things.  Sometimes I worry you can't teach an old dog new tricks.  Sometimes this old dog can't even remember the old tricks!  (Or where I left the tricks, for that matter!)

I worry that I might not have anything to say--or that no one will want to read what I do say.

So, as I do with my kids, I've tried to come up with some options...
Here are the possibilities I am currently considering:

1) Give up the blog site, but continue to tour BlogLand, adding hello-comments and sending warm wishes.
2) Try hard to be a more consistent blogger, and simply talk about my school day (which may not be blog-worthy, but will move me away from the need to find something monumental to discuss)
3) Decide on a once-a-week publishing schedule and hope that something noteworthy occurs.
4) Post only when something exciting and/or unusual happens.

I think that covers the range.  My biggest fear is having someone say "Why would she write THAT? Or that a reader/follower will take her little face out of the box. Or that I will write 63 posts and get two comments--and one of those will be from my sympathetic teacher friend who really does teach nearby.

I am terribly worried about disappointing someone.  I still have an unfinished post that covers some awards, a giveaway, and a linky party (or five).  At some point, I wasn't able to keep up.  And I was worried it would be easier to give up.

Well, there you have it.  I feel like I might need to send a check to anyone who reads this with the memo indicating "counseling services."

PHEW!  That's a lot of self-reflection.  I wonder if it's okay to have blogged about not knowing whether to blog.  I read the first 37 pages of the Blogger's Handbook, but found no answers about what to do in such a state of confusion.  Couldn't find out why my comments had two numbers either, but that may be in another chapter.  I also can't find the name of my default font--or a reason why Blogger would choose that look for this template. (Well it certainly seems like there SHOULD be a book with all of the answers I need!)

With that--and the heart-clenching fact that it's time to go to school and I haven't finished the materials for today's lessons--I wish you a joy-filled day!


  1. oh sweet friend of mine. YOU MUST CONTINUE to blog. This post just sums it up. You need to be a REAL life blogger. Blog what you think and what you feel. You write so well. You feel what EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US FEELS. It's easy to make everything rosy in a blog post. Oh please tell me that you will keep writing and as I call it...keep up the E-therapy. That is what it totally is! Electronic therapy.
    Your comments make my day. YOU are such a real, deep, and insightful person! Your fonts don't need to be cute. Your posts don't need to be funny. Your lessons don't need to be on TpT. You just need to be you. That's all. I like YOU. The REAL you! If blogger disconnects us...I will find you. Blogger will not control us. We will find a way to connect.
    It is a rough patch for a lot of us. I have felt it too. Valentine's week just about killed me. I was down and out. So I am going to say to you with an inkling of experience that it will get better and that YOU most definitely have A LOT to share and I want you to PLEASE write when inspired and stalk when uninspired. BLOGGY HUGS!

  2. For whatever it's worth...I enjoy your blog. In the summer I find it so much easier to blog (a couple times a week), and during the school year I'm down to once a week. BUT I do check blogs for updates every day.

    It's a really busy time for most of us that are getting ready for the state TESTS!


    A Time to Share & Create


    Fabulous 4th Grade

  3. oh girl...we love you so! You can not leave us! You're just going through a "lull," but blogging has become so much more than just sharing teachign for so many...we are a great community here, and we are here for you! :)

  4. I vote for continuing to blog too! (Also--I didn't know there was even a Blogging Handbook!) I am always inspired by what I read from you. I also don't have a lot of TpT or Teacher's Notebook or what not things but I blog for therapy to let the day out.

    It has been rough lately--everywhere. Apparently it's a national issue because all of us are from varying states! We just have to believe it will get better!

    I will always be a little face in the side of your "Followers" box, whatever you decide to do! :)

  5. My bloggy friend, you bring JOY to me and so many others! I do know exactly how you feel, I have unfinished posts, and plans for giveaways that I never get to, and guilt over not leaving enough comments to wonderful posts that I read, and so on, and so on. In the end, you MUST do what works for you - what brings YOU joy. Post because you have something you WANT to share, not because you feel you HAVE to have something to share. We'll still be here ... I pinky swear promise.

    Runde's Room

  6. First of... I demand #1 be removed. Ah-ha. I said demand, not a request. You can't not blog. I love your posts. I read all of them. I enjoy the refreshing honesty of them. I laugh (even during this one!) and I too have wondered if I should be blogging. After all... I am in school learning to be a teacher. My poor sons are guinea pigs but then again they are homeschooled this year.

    I love the fact that you have normal fonts and straight lines. I love that your kids don't turn in homework and their manners leave you wanting to strangle someone as I too have felt that way. Knowing I am not along makes a difference. Reading your comments makes a difference. Visiting you here makes a difference!

    And you do teach me a lot. There is a blogger handbook? Really? And it is at least 37 pages long? I just fiddle with things or yell for my seventh grader who comes in and rolls his eyes and mumbles under his breath until he makes my computer do the thing I want it to do. Isn't that what I am suppose to do? Is that where the rule of no more than 1 post a day comes from?

    You my friend bring me JOY, I would be lost without you. I am sending you lots of hugs.

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

  7. OK, so I'm crying I'm laughing SO hard about your camera(S) because my mom ALWAYS cuts our heads off . . . and so does John's mom so that's a hilarious connection for me. Thanks for the tears . . . of JOY of course. I say DITTO to our friend Reagan . . . just update when the spirit moves you and sprinkle joy around when it doesn't.

    Oh, and I was going to give you the LOVELY blog award but I knew you did NOT need another "to do" on your list. Know that you are LOVED and appreciated!!!


  8. I'm just starting this whole blogging thing and I like what you have. I vote for you to continue what you are doing. I think your blog is refreshing because it touches on reality instead of sunshine and rainbows. You have your loyal followers for a reason. Blog when you can and we'll all still be here. :) I get what you're saying though. I already have unfinished blogs. I wonder if what I am posting is interesting to anyone or if I'm wasting my time? I wonder why I have a ton of hits, but few followers? In the end, who cares? It's a therapy source, if nothing else! Blog on! :)


  9. oh Kim! This is why you must keep blogging! I don't care about cute or constant posting--I just enjoy reading your words! I think you should blog how you want, when you want, and we will be right here reading as always.

    I'm so glad you said this. And you said it so eloquently. Now I don't feel so alone! I have hit a hard patch with blogging consistently this year, then commenting consistently and I am a wreck over it. You are not alone in your feelings by any means.

    Please continue blogging. And please blog how/when you want. I have enjoyed reading everything from your flying experiences to your classroom organization. I love it all because I love you (in a bloggy friend way!!). You are one of the kindest and most thoughtful teachers I have ever met and I am beyond grateful for our friendship.

  10. I'm with everyone above.

    Here's the thing....if we weren't interested, would you already have 10 comments? If that's not proof that we care what you have to say (however boring you might feel it may be).

    What matters is that there is an audience out there that loves what you have to say and enjoys reading about your idea of JOY in your classroom.

    I look to your blog because I'm striving for JOY. It's reassuring to see others views of JOY and how it relates to my own life.

    PLEASE stick with it...even if you only blog occasionally. Whenever you do, you will have an audience. I know, because I'm in it :)

    Fun in Room 4B

  11. No pressure.
    But I LOVE reading your posts. And you ARE a good writer!!!!!!! And you ARE funny! And I don't care what you say as long as you say something. I don't need cute. Really.
    But no pressure. Do whatever feels right to you. I understand the guilt thing but I'm getting over it. I've posted 3 times this week and not one of them has had anything to do with teaching. Oh well. That's what I say. I shrug my shoulders like Courtney and say oh well.
    I love your comments on my blog. I feel like we are friends. I'd miss you if you left!!!!!
    A Teeny Tiny Teacher

  12. I understand what you're saying. And this is what I feel (similar): I'm so grouchy. Work makes me grouchy. Work makes me tired. Then I come home and blog about it and say how grouchy I am. I feel like most of my posts are grouchy. But I think people need to hear that others are struggling too, sometimes.

    I follow your blog for a reason - to read whatever you write! And I understand that you don't want to disappoint anyone, but really, that's kind of crazy. How is it that we manage to include stress and pressure in this; a completely recreational form of discussing our work? Because we're teachers, and that's what we do! Put pressure on ourselves for everyone else's reactions!

    I think that, if you enjoy it, do it. So if you like blogging, do it! If it's stressing you out, don't! I'd leave up your blog, comment whenever you want, and only post when you feel like it. That's completely reasonable!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, because you're not the only one who has them!!
    Buzzing with Ms. B

  13. Oh, and I blog about personal stuff all the time - where's the line between teacher me and personal me? I don't know.

  14. You can't leave us!!!!!! Please keep on blogging! I'd miss your posts if you stopped :(

    Sending bloggy love your way!

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher

  15. I happen to think you're a wonderful writer - you always move me!!! And moreover, a wonderful friend!!! You MUST continue to blog!!!! Blogging is about sharing what you're going through. We teach upper grades no wonder our stuff isn't cutsy. I'm lacking in that department too. I could never create or recreate those cute door decors & centers I see daily ib blog land.
    There are days & weeks I have nothing to share either.
    But you do an amazing job sharing and encouraging others. I'm quoting Reagan here "LEASE write when inspired and stalk when uninspired."

    Do not give up!!!! Sending you hugs & love!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen from...
    A Teacher's Treasure
    Teaching Treasures Shop

  16. I love your blog! keep plugging along! just do it at your pace and don't stress yourself out:)

  17. I found my reason for blogging was for ME. Not 250 lil names in a box. ME. And man does that help me keep going. I need the freedom to be me...and only me. And if someone reads it and comments, it's just a bonus. :) keep writing if that's what you want to do.

  18. You are such an outstanding writer and WE ALL LOVE TO HEAR WHAT IS ON YOUR HEART! That is what makes you so awesome! You go way beyond the cuteness and stores and give people what they need most- ENCOURAGEMENT! We love you!!!!

  19. You are such a sweet person. You should continue to blog but only if it makes you happy. Don't put so much pressure on yourself. I don't do any of the cutesy projects or lessons that I see people make and I get along just fine. Everyone has something to bring to the table, including you. Don't give up!!

  20. I love the way you write!

    Just remember that "Blog World" is a No-Negative-Nellies-Zone...those of us who are here, are here because we choose to be! And that is what makes it so awesome...
    It isn't like a meeting that no one wants to sit in, or listening to a teacher who you know is totally fibbing about how she does something...we all know that one:)

    But we are here because we want to share and hear what each other has to say....and I love to hear what YOU have to keeping saying it!

    Going Nutty!

  21. My vote is for continued blogging from you. You are one of my go to blogs...and I would be lost without it :) So, for my sake, and the sake of all those like me, you MUST continue to blog!

    (did that convince you??)

    Teaching in Room 6

  22. My coffee loving, Rifleman watchin just takes a second to see all the love you have coming your way! Look at all the lives you have touched and changed in some way.....being YOU! That's what we love and I can't tell you how funny I think some of your posts and emails you have sent are. Do it when you can but please don't give would leave a hole in blogland:( Hugs and much love!!!!

    4th Grade Frolics

  23. Ummm.... you have to read my blog tomorrow!! You are in it... it's kinda important. Bring tissues. =)

    Mrs Poland
    Think, Wonder, & Teach

  24. Oh, Kim! Please keep blogging! I enjoy reading your blog very much. My advice would be to keep the blog but make it work for you. Don't put so much pressure on yourself. If you only blog every so often, so be it. I am happy to read whenever you blog.

    You are not alone in your feelings. I think anyone who blogs has had these same feelings at one time or another. I know I sometimes wonder how in the world I will come up with another topic to blog about. I also feel the guilt that I don't follow all the great bloggers I "should" be following. I don't comment as much as I "should." I finally realized I can only do what I can do and I can't feel guilty about it.

    As for all the cutesy stuff, I too look on in wonder at what some bloggers are doing out there. I don't know how they do it! I don't have a store either. I just couldn't keep up with all that. I appreciate what others do and it often gives me great ideas. I think that is what blogging is all about. If someone takes the simple lesson or project I have done and tweaks it to make it cute or improves and expands on it, then great for them! I believe out blogs offer different things to different people. They are great for having a place to share ideas, get ideas, or simply vent!

    Gee, I've gone on a bit here. Sorry. I would just say, make this work for you. Don't worry so much about what you "SHOULD" be doing. Do what will make you happy. Whether you blog once a week, once a month, or whenever the urge hits, I promise to keep reading! :-D

  25. Kim,

    I see that I'm not alone in my feelings as I read what so many others wrote. Blogging is about you writing when and what you want, not what others need, want, or ask for. I began blogging because I felt that the environment at my school was beginning to be so negative, and I really just needed a place to share ideas without seeing that "look" every time I opened my mouth. And, since my husband is an administrator, I often times feel alienated within my own circles. Even if no one was listening, at least I had the opportunity to share into cyberspace things I think are important or inspiring, and read blogs about positive things happening in classrooms. I have found that there is so much support available in the blogging world that no matter how long I go between posts, I'm not giving up that support system. There are times that I just don't have anything to say either, but I think it would be a shame if you gave it up because it is definitely cheaper than therapy!

  26. I rated your blog Top 10!!!
    Come Check it out!

    Going Nutty!

  27. Think of it this way. Celebrate the fact that you've created this wonderful blog. You decide to make it what you want. I know I don't think I post exciting, earth shattering posts, but I'm proud that I created my own little blog. I think I'm the only teacher on my staff that has. I celebrate that!

    Yearn to Learn Blog

  28. PLEASE don't give up blogging-especially since I JUST NOW thought of another way to follow you. With a different email address-DUH! :)

    I love everything you say AND the way you say it! You say you aren't a writer, but you are. A great one!

    You have cheered me on through this TOUGH AS _ _ _ _ year :), and now I am going to cheer you on!!! If only Alabama and California weren't so dang far away-I would meet you at a Starbucks-even though I don't like coffee-but I do like you! :)

    Here's wishing you well! In your classroom and in bloggyland!


  29. you must continue! i just wrote about you. :)


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