Why do you blog?

I just received an email with the following questions:

 I wonder if you could write me a line or two about why you write a blog? Why do you use it? 

When I started blogging almost seven years ago it was for a very simple reason — I never have my kids do something that I have not done. Seriously.  If it is something I have never done I either do it with them or beforehand.  Seven years ago I started blogging with my entire team for the entire year and not just for special projects.  Every kid had their own blog.  We might have been the first content class to do that!  I started mine in September right along with them.  After blogging with them I realized that it was not just blogging that I had never done before, it was also writing. This post was not just my first blog post, but it was the first thing I had every written in my life that was not for a grade.  I HATED writing.  I FEARED hitting publish on every post.  I finally had a clue what 90% of my kids were going through every time I asked them to write.  That first year experience changed everything.  I seriously think one of the biggest mistakes we make in hiring teachers is to only hire successful ex-students who love their content.  That first year of blogging put me in kids heads to places I had never been before.  I kept blogging because I asked them to not give up, I asked them to own their writing, I told them that everyone can write when they channel their passion.  I did not believe it.  I kept blogging through my first year to see if it was true. 

In my second-third year I became more brave and started to write about about what was on my mind.  I had thoughts in my head that I never knew were shared by others.  Blogging put me into a community of like minded individuals and allowed me to not feel so alone.

At the start of my third year I started to publish from my heart.  I started to let things rip and wrote some emotion ridden heavy posts for the next couple of years.  I felt that sometimes when I hit publish I was channeling what a lot of teachers were feeling and were afraid to say.  That went on for a couple of years.  I was unloading thoughts and feelings that I had held onto for years.  My blog was becoming more authentic with every post, but was becoming a bit too heavy for me.  Writing some of those posts and exposing myself again and again was difficult.  There are very few posts on this blog that I decided to write.  Most just come out when it is time.  It is why sometimes there are seven posts in a week, and some months there are none.  It was during this time that I started writing for an audience, and felt pressure to write on a schedule, write another post just as “good” as the last one.  I am not a very popular blogger, but I found I was starting to write to get those 5-10 re-tweets of my posts and after publishing I would watch twitter to see if people “liked” my post.  If I did not I felt pretty bad.  

It was during the fifth year that I took all the counters off of my blog.  That was the year I started writing for myself.  It was the year I started writing about common core and what I found is that no one cared except a few bloggers, and Tea Party folks who shared my stuff on their Facebook pages.  Glenn Beck took notice and invited me onto his show, I politely declined 🙂 I wrote some other posts that I was very proud of that received hardly any hits, no re-tweets, and no comments.  That was ok with me.  It took me five years of writing before I wrote for myself.

During the last year I started to do a lot more sharing of what we do in class.  I had shared in other years some projects we have done, but I tried to do a lot more this past year.  I realized that I had been building a collection of useful posts and started to be proud that some of my ideas were being used by other people.  The emails I have received about different posts describing what we do in the classroom has driven me to continue doing more posts about class activities.  The emails and twitter questions made me realize that what we do influences what is done in other classrooms. 



Tweets like the one above…I do not even know what to say.  I still can’t believe sometimes that what my kids do one day in Connecticut can influence what occurs in a town in Canada three months later.  I think emails and tweets like the one above are what is currently fueling my blogging.  That fact that I can make a difference…whoa.  That is really sobering.  I think I have settled into my little corner niche of the blogosphere where most posts are lucky to get 100 reads, and once-in-awhile one gets 10 or so re-tweets.  I no longer write for popularity, I still let the words pop out unplanned and usually unedited or proofed, I do just write now for myself…but somewhere in the back of my mind I am also writing for that one person who might read a post like this and decide that they should start blogging too.  I decided to write posts like this one to show people that I was once afraid too, I thought I really sucked, I thought bad writers could not make a difference.  School had convinced me that only those with proper grammar and sentence structure should be publishing their work to the world, they were the people who would one day make a difference.  

You know what?

They were wrong.  

I blog because I write lines like the one above and then sit back and stare at it for ten minutes because what you just read I did not know when I started this post.  I did not know where this post would go, or where it would end.  I didn’t know “They were wrong” until I wrote the line.  I should probably say it this way…I did not believe it until I wrote it. 

 I wonder if you could write me a line or two about why you write a blog? Why do you use it? 

I blog because it changes what I believe, what I do, and who I am. And if I am lucky, one day what I will write will change you too.


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