It seems that over the past few weeks I have found myself thinking again and again about why I write, why I blog. For a long time, I wrote posts that no one read. I don’t mean that just a few people read them, but really no one read them. And in a way, those were my favorite posts. They were honestly and purely for me. I didn’t worry about getting people to think about important things. I didn’t think about if my posts would be taken the wrong way or not. I didn’t think about what anyone would think of my posts. I didn’t second guess myself. I didn’t wonder who would read them.
I wrote because I wanted to document my thinking. I wrote because I wanted to push myself toward new thinking through writing. I wrote because I wanted to be able to look back on where I started as I worked to become a different kind of teacher and I wrote because I wanted to plan a way to become that different kind of teacher.
And then slowly, a few people found their way to my little space and I loved the way that we were able to share ideas. I loved the comments because they pushed my thinking even further. I loved the interaction between bloggers because it felt like I was lucky enough to become a part of this amazing community of educators.
Then one day, I wrote a blog post. And it got more attention than I ever could have imagined. It wasn’t because I said something incredibly profound. It wasn’t because there was anything special about the words that I wrote. It was just because it was about PARCC testing at a time when we were ALL caught up in the frenzy of the first round of PARCC testing and PARCC loathing. And so it got big. Bigger than I certainly ever could have imagined.
And I absolutely hated it.
It literally cost me hours of sleep and many moments of anxiety. It felt like what I wrote was taken and pulled so far away from me and from who I was. And it’s not only that it invited in negative comments. But it revealed a side of myself that I did not like. All of a sudden I cared about how many people were reading my words when that was NEVER something that I cared about before. All of a sudden it felt like the number of readers became more important than the message that I was trying to share. And it was a distraction. It distracted me from my students, from my family, from everything that is truly important in my life.
It wasn’t why I started blogging.
There are wonderful people in this world who blog because they want to change the world. I am not one of those people. I want to change my tiny little corner of the world. And more importantly, I want to change myself. I want to make myself a better teacher. I want to push myself to think in new ways. I want to reflect on the choices that I am making and why I am making them. I want to ask hard questions so that I can force myself to think about difficult answers. I want to invite comments from others so that I can use the brilliance of the people around me in order to do better for my own students. I want to share my journey so that I can look back and see the road that I have traveled. I want to write in order to keep myself honest and accountable to the goals that I set for myself. I want to write about what I have tried so that I can gain new ideas through the act of writing and sharing with others. I want to share my stories so that I can teach my students to share their own stories.
I write for myself.
I write for my students.
So after taking a really long break from blogging. After months of not writing. After giving myself time to miss blogging. After remembering why I started to blog in the first place. I came back. I started writing again. Hesitantly at first. Much more tentatively than I had been blogging before. But I came back. And slowly I found my voice again. Slowly I remembered what I loved so much about blogging.
And yes, I still shared what I wrote with others. Yes, I still hoped others would read what I had to say. But not because I worried about the numbers, but because having an audience of incredible educators makes the writing real and invites conversation. I shared because I wanted to be a part of a community of teachers who write, not because I wanted to be read by thousands. And I started to remember that sharing doesn’t have to mean that you are giving up anything from your life. Sharing should allow you to enhance your life and the lives of your students.
Post by post I started to remember that when I got back to blogging for myself and for my students, it truly did make me a better teacher. It made me more reflective and therefore more willing and able to make my teaching better for the students sitting in front of me. It made me excited about the work that we were doing each day in my classroom. It made me a better teacher. It made me a better person.
And that is why i blog.