This year, WordPress almost forced us, as bloggers, to reflect on our past year. They offered up a nice little summary of all of the blog posts written this past year and the ones which received the most views.
It is funny to me to look back at my top blog posts and notice that the one that received the most views, the most views that this little blog will ever receive, is the one blog post that I wish I didn’t write.
Not because I don’t still stand behind everything that I said in that blog post, but because of what it did to me and to this blog. As I have written before, when THIS blog post started to be shared, I was thrilled that the message was getting out that we, as teachers, did not feel good about the standardized tests that we were putting our students through. I felt it was important for teachers’ words to be heard on this issue because so many parents that I spoke with were surprised to find out that we also saw little value and much harm in the way our students were being tested. I didn’t believe that my words alone could make any difference in the way things worked, but I did believe that my words could add to the national conversation that was taking place and perhaps even spark further conversation.
But then, the post was shared again and again. I don’t believe that it was really because of what I wrote, but more because of the intense emotions that were going around as we got ready for the new and unknown standardized tests our children were preparing to take.
And then I started to wish I had never written the post at all. It was hard to see it shared and to see the ways that it was used. In ways that I never intended for it to be used. And it was hard to see the negative comments directed towards not just my thoughts but towards me as a teacher. And in many ways, it chased me away from social media. It chased me away from writing. It chased me away from sharing my thoughts. It is just never what I wanted.
Months later, I slowly eased back into the world of blogging. I missed it. I missed the writing and I missed the connection to this community. And the posts that came after that one post were the ones that I really cared about this year.
The ones were I asked people to open their minds to bringing more books with LGBT characters into their classrooms. The ones where I explained how my life as a lesbian helped me to better understand what white privilege was and how it affected my own lives and the lives of others. The ones where I shared my classroom with others and spoke about my desire to find purpose in everything I brought into my room. The ones where I shared what I learned from my students. The ones where I wrote about my work with my students. Those are the ones that I cared most about because those were the ones that mattered most to me.
It was never about how many people viewed those posts. It was never about how many times it was shared on Facebook. It was never about how many comments were left. It was about so much more than all of that.
The posts that mattered most to me this year were the ones that allowed me to deepen my own thinking, share what I have learned and talk about the things that my students and I were doing that truly had the chance of making the world a better place.
So if you want to see the posts that have been the most popular, you can look in the sidebar and find that information.
But if you want to see the posts from this year that I care the most about, here is that list in no particular order:
- What Being Gay Has Taught Me About White Privilege
- This Cannot Be the Solution
- My Not So Fancy Classroom
- In Defense of Reading That is Fun
- Using the Stories of Others to Begin Conversations on Race With My Students
- Asking Students to Think About the Messages That Surround Them
- Rethinking Reading Goals: More Than Just a Number
- When We Look Too Closely
- Books Can Be Our Rainbow Flags
- The Good News is They Don’t ACTUALLY Hate Reading
So there you go. The reasons I blog. The things that matter most to me. The posts that will never be seen by as many posts as the one I wrote about PARCC testing, but that carry so much more meaning and that will always hold a very special place in my heart.
As we move into this next year, I am thankful to have this space to continue writing in. I am grateful for the tiny corner of the internet that it resides in. I do not want it to be anything more than it is. I am grateful for exactly what this blog is and I am eager to continue working on it in the coming year.