Sunday, June 28, 2015

Why I Took A Year Off From Blogging

Can you believe it has been a 
(school) year since we've last said hello?  

To be honest, I have no idea where the time went.  My blog absence didn't begin as an intentional decision.  I was overwhelmed by work, family, and other responsibilities that made blogging something I just didn't have time for.  I kept meaning to do it, but as my daily to do lists got longer and longer, blogging kept getting moved down the list. When I look back at the last few posts I did write, you can sort of see it was coming.

At one point, I realized I hadn't blogged in a couple of months.  That was when I did make a conscious decision to take the school year off.  It was not an easy decision.  I like blogging.  I really, really like blogging!  I like sharing ideas, having a place to express myself, and the interaction with you all through comments. I share, but I also learn so much from you.  However, when blogging became something I no longer looked forward to, I knew it was time to take a break.

It had been, for me, a difficult couple of years at work with some changes that had me feeling somewhat uninspired.  I found myself with fewer and fewer ideas on what I wanted to blog about.  If I wasn't energized and excited about what I was doing, how could I possibly come here and share?  I knew that I needed to refocus and find a new way to look at things.  It was all about "reframing" the situation.  Happily, I can write that I am in a totally different mindset now. I want to write a post about reframing and recharging your teaching.  I think we all hit that slump at one time or another, and I was able to find some strategies that really helped turn things around.

So, do I regret taking the year off from blogging?  I can 100% say it was the best thing I could have done!  It really gave me a chance to recharge.  So, what did I do with all that time?  Lots!

I found time for all those school related things I would usually struggle to fit in. . .

I went to several out of district workshops that made my literacy loving heart sing!  I was able to listen and learn from Donalyn MillerHarvey "Smokey" DanielsDebbie MillerDouglas FisherKyleene Beers, and Bob Probst. Tell me that isn't an amazing year of PD! Being able to learn from these literacy leaders has recharged my teaching and definitely made me refine my methods.  It has also given me so many ideas for blog  posts.  There is so much I want to share with you from these workshops!

I finally got to read some of the books in the giant pile I've been meaning to get to.  Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller was a really good one, but I've been on a big Jennifer Serravallo kick.  I love her books. If you are a literacy teacher, she is a must read.  In particular, her latest book, The Reading Strategies Book, is one that should be on every reading teacher's desk. I'm planning to post reviews of the books I've read this past year.  Most were fantastic like the two below, but there were a couple of duds.

I worked on cleaning up and reorganizing my classroom.  This included taking the time to purge all those files I haven't opened in forever and reorganizing my closets and drawers that seemed to be filled with things I've sort of just thrown in there. I took a true tough love approach and got rid of anything I knew I haven't used and probably wouldn't.  One of the biggest projects I took on was reevaluating my classroom library.  I have a HUGE class library. After attending the Donalyn Miller workshop, I was inspired to make some big changes. I have a couple of blog posts planned about this with all the details and rational, but I can tell you I ended up purging 271 books and then completely reorganizing it all.  The pic below is from my Instagram that I posted as we were in progress. By the way, Instagram is without a doubt my favorite social media! I must be a visual learner :-)

There was also time to have a life outside of school. I found time to join a gym and workout.  I had time to spend with friends and family.  I read many (GASP!!) non-teaching related books. I went to movies, I slept, I cooked, I went to concerts, fairs, and festivals. I watched TV,  I had a life!  And, it wasn't that blogging took that much time.  I mean, it does take time.  If you blog, you know it can be time consuming.  But not blogging gave me nights  and weekends free to do more without the guilt of thinking I should be blogging.

The one area I had hoped to work on this past year was my presence on Teachers Pay Teachers. Yeah, that didn't happen.  I still have just one or two lonely, simple freebies hanging out on my TpT page.  I had lots of ideas and projects in mind, but never got around to it.  It is still a goal for me.  Being able to share products and ideas that work for me and I hope will help others is something I still really want to do.  I just have to realize this is going to be a slow moving goal.  I still have a lot to learn about creating products and how TpT works.  I have July and August to do some learning and creating, so I'm hoping to have at least a couple of things ready to go for September. But, I'm not
going to be pressuring myself to do it all.  It will happen as it happens.

One thing this year off did help me realize is just how much I missed blogging. Even though I'm glad I took the year off, I'm excited to get back to it.  Also, I have to give a huge thanks to those of you that continued to pop in during the year despite not seeing new content. To be honest, I was shocked anyone was still checking in on my little blog!

Moving forward, I have a better balance now with work, life, and blogging. I don't have a blogging schedule planned.  I just have things I want to share on occasion.  It might be twice a week, it might be once a week.  I'm not sure. What I am sure of is that I am  happy to be back to blogging!