Do you feel like you reveal too much of yourself on your blog? Do you think you hold back too much?
When I was younger, I blended into my classes like a fly on the wall, never daring to make a peep. The idea of a five-minute presentation on New Zealand in the 6th grade had me praying that the school would burn down just so I wouldn’t have to give the presentation. I did end up giving it, but my poor note cards were mangled by my death grip and smudged from the sweat on my palms. In high school, I wrote an impassioned response to the book “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” for a computer science journal assignment. My bold statements contrasted so much with my meek appearance that my teacher scrawled “still waters run deep” on my paper before handing it back.
As many people do, I only truly let out the contents of those still waters to trusted friends. Now I talk quite a bit, but still hold on to the “be a closed book, not an open book” mentality. I have now only gotten used to sharing more on my blog. In my first few years of teaching, I often felt that teachers weren’t allowed to share feelings or personal information on blogs. The ones that I looked through for lesson ideas included a lot of wonderful content, but not a lot of self-reveal by the authors. It wasn’t until I started reading Fawn Nguyen’s Finding Ways to Nguyen Students Over or Melissa Rife’s The Musings of a TGTM: Thrifty, German-Teaching Mommy that I understood what detailed, masterfully written personal stories from teachers even looked like.
At this point, I think I still hold back too much. A lot of my “closed-book” mentality came from a fear of showing weakness or vulnerability, and a lot of personal stuff includes that. Opening your life (or classroom) up for viewing leaves you vulnerable to judgment. Many people have observed my classroom (fellow teachers, pre-service teachers, my own interns, visitors, etc) and I should be used to that by now, but it still feels weird in many ways. I know I’m not alone in that feeling…a 20-year IB teaching veteran in my 2007 school reform class once told me how hard it was for her to deal with being observed. I still wonder “is that person judging me?” or “do they think I am a horrible teacher?”
That’s the kind of thought that I don’t want to put out there on the blog. I feel like I’m supposed to be stronger than that. I don’t *want* to put every melodramatic thought or snarky comment that I have out there, but I do feel the urge to self-edit. I curate my writing, slapping on filters of “happy” or “new recipe” or “creative lesson idea” and not even putting some other thoughts to the keyboard. Like my classroom, the blog’s always open for observation…but not beneath the still waters.