I’ve learned many valuable lessons these past 18 months of blogging. Some have warmed my heart and others have sent me to my knees in thanks. Then there are those that have been a bit more painful – but just as important none-the-less.
When I first began this journey, I had NO idea what I was getting into. NO IDEA. I was in the early stages of this “writing” path, and jumped in with both feet, holding my nose in one hand and my laptop in the other.
Throughout this process of growth I’ve learned that there are four (or a billion) VERY valuable lessons that I am compelled to pass on to others who are blogging, AND hoping to keep their jobs.
Most of you know about the “Sharp Right Turn” that my life took when the “powers that be” in my school district (here in South Dakota) found out about my blog. I did, however, make it VERY EASY for them to find me. I, well, let’s see, I used my REAL NAME, the NAME OF MY SCHOOL, and managed to slip in the real names of some of my kids a couple of BILLION times.
“I am never being mean, or hurtful,” I thought. “It doesn’t matter if I don’t change my name.
It was in the middle of the day while teaching, that I received “the call” that shook me to the core, and forced me to evaluate what I was doing, and why.
What have I learned up to now throughout this healing process? I would LOVE to share. (And because I LOVE lists, here’s the “crap I learned” list. Feel free to print and post in the “teachers who blog” newsletter.)
1. Never, never, NEVER use the name of your school, town or state while writing your blog. There are no first amendment rights for teachers. Did you hear that? No. First. Amendment. Rights. Just accept it, and move on.
2. Do NOT use your own name, or the names of ANY CHILDREN in your classroom on any blogposts. Don’t ask, just do it.
3. Do not blog, or check other blogs while at school. A school/writer friend of mine looked me in the eye (when I was crying the blues) and told me, “Vodka, they are not paying you to blog. They are paying you to teach.” And you know what? He was right. So, when you don’t hear from me between the hours of 7:30 and 4:00, and do not see any tweets, it’s because I am fully present at work. I am re-committed to that job that I love, and will not jeopardize it - no matter what hopes and dreams are alive in my heart.
4. Do not say anything in your blog that you wouldn’t want your co-workers, your friends, your FAMILY members and your loved ones to see. Because guess what? One day they WILL see it. I write with that knowledge tucked deep into my soul, and it keeps me honest, and real.
In a nutshell, I think what I keep close to my heart are these truths- be authentic, be who you are, and be anonymous.
Your blog reflects who you are, what you are made of, and what you hold in your heart.
And I, for one, always strive to be proud of it.
(By the way - thank you all so much for your votes over at Babble. I am honored to be in the top ten. There are some big names pushing some of the others up the ladder, and I promised my friends and relatives that I wouldn't beg anymore. I can't offer donations, or any more chidlren, so I bow to you all, and tip my hat. Some days it's just better to let the chips fall where they may. As long as they're bar-b-qued and land in my BOWL, I'm a happy camper.)