After carefully reading and agreeing to the terms & conditions of wordpress.com, this blog was officially birthed in a tiny hotel room on January 21, 2010 at the annual TCTELA conference. In that time, and really over the last two years, there have been close to 20,000 views of the blog, 10 guest bloggers, and 200 posts.
I account for less than 20% of those posts.
Since August, we have stepped up our blogging efforts and generally are posting consistently four times a week. Four posts a week for 4 months is approximately 64 posts.
I account for 5 of those.
Some may be starting to think, “Gee, Heather, you aren’t pulling your weight around here! Amy should kick you off, or at least ground you until you write some more blog posts.” But before Amy goes and punishes me, I have several reasons, really good reasons I might add, as to why I haven’t been blogging.
1. The Dog Ate My Homework - Ok, I don’t have a dog, but the last several weeks have been littered with catastrophes. From packing up an entire house and moving to a new one, a husband with a chronic tooth ache (heaven forbid he go to the dentist), and me dislocating my kneecap when I fell walking across the street, it seems like there is always something that is getting in the way of my writing.
2. I Don’t Have Time - This year it seems like everybody needs my time. Between family, church, work, friends, my alone time, etc. there simply isn’t enough hours in the day to get it all done.
3. I Have Nothing To Say - I took a new job this year, and it just seems like every time I do sit down to write I have nothing to say. My perspective has changed. I look back on my teaching experience and think it was so much easier to write when I was in the classroom, would try something out, and then reflect on it through my writing.
4. My Writing Isn’t Good Enough - This is probably reason enough to go to counseling and certainly a blog post for another day, but every time I go to type a single word or even get so far as to press the PUBLISH button, I have a voice inside my head (my seventh grade English teacher’s voice actually) saying that not only is my writing not good enough, I’m not good enough.
It is actually quite funny. Knowing I was supposed to post today, I texted Amy last night and joked with her about what my excuse might be for why I wouldn’t get a post done today. Forget the fact that in Texas we have been iced in for the last four days, and I have had more than ample time to get something posted. It made me start to think:
What about the learners that sit before you everyday in your classroom?
What are their excuses for not writing?
It is easy to look at the monumental amount of standards that have to be covered in a given year, and then start assigning essay after essay after essay. Between the demands pushed down a campus and the looming state test, educators quickly turn from teaching the art of writing to merely assigning writing.
Again, what about your learners? When might they have some of the same excuses I have? If we as educators overlook the excuses of our learners, or maybe even blame them for these excuses, I venture to say we are not really doing everything we can to create a classroom of writers. At the heart of everything we do, we must first look at it through the lenses of the learners that sit before us and carefully craft experiences where they can feel safe enough to not have to make excuses. As educators it is not only our responsibility to teach standards, it is also our responsibility to help break down barriers that hold a student back from learning and being successful.
As an adult, I have to break down my own barriers and excuses. Not having time and having things come up are universal excuses that could be given for anything in life. You have to make time to have time, right? Feelings of inadequacy aren’t always just about writing for me. Truth is though, when you look at the facts my top two posts had over 500 readers each! Now, why would I ever think no one wants to read what I write? And the excuse about how my perspective has changed, I still have a story to tell and should be brave enough to share that story.
What are your excuses for not writing? How might a reflection of your own excuses help you to guide learners to break down their excuses?