Friday, July 23, 2010

Blogging - what is it all about?

In what seems a lifetime ago now, I taught high school English and ESL.  I loved teaching English.  I especially loved teaching English as a second language.  About six years ago, an opportunity came along that allowed me to expand my professional experience by going to the local University to create a program to train teachers to become ESL teachers.  While this meant that I would have to leave the secondary classroom, a place where I dearly loved being, I changed the course of my professional life and began writing curriculum that would lead to an endorsement in Linguistically Diverse Education.  I loved the diversity of my new position.  I researched. I wrote. I recruited students. I taught classes.  I became a part of the larger community of others across the state who worked in the LDE field.  It was all a wonderful experience.  Then, I retired.

I began this blog as a way to keep me writing as I began retirement.  I had no idea what direction the blog would go.  I even had a hard time naming my blog because at the time the only identity I could come up with was that of a retired English teacher.

I had visions of using the blog as a place to record my thoughts as I launched into a new phase of my life.  I established a consulting business and began to do a bit of professional development in the area of helping content area teachers teach English language learners.  That was my passion at the time.  Even in retirement, I did not think I would ever want to give up working with teachers who wanted to learn how to best serve their linguistically diverse students.  I hoped my blog would reflect my passion for my field of professional experience and expertise that I hoped to continue throughout my years of retirement.

A funny thing happened on my way to working after retirement.  After a few years of doing that, I didn't want to do it anymore.  I wanted to spend more time with family.  I didn't want commitments.  I wanted to read, to write, to garden, and I wanted to do all of that in my own way on my own time schedule.

My blog became a place where I wrote about random thoughts, memories, and experiences.  It had no focus.  That seemed to be just fine with me.

Now, because of the recent loss of my daughter, I am at a crossroads in my blogging experience.  I have thought of even renaming my blog.  I no longer relate well to the title of "retired English teacher."  Plus, that title puts a lot of pressure on me when I write in a more public format.  After all, now I really have to focus on my grammar, my punctuation, my sentence structure and all of that.  I guess I remain someone who can't read anything without editing it or "correcting it."  While this is true when I read the writing of others, I promise you it is not a judgmental thing, it is just ingrained in me.  When it comes to my own writing, I miss my mistakes because I seem to see only what I meant to say.

If you are a reader, I value your comments and support more than ever.  You all have been a strength to me.  I love reading the posts of my other blogging friends.  They keep me interested because they are all so  interesting.  Blogging opens up a new world that many of us never knew was out there.

Perhaps, blogging, as one form of writing, is important to me because of the reflective piece that goes with it.  As teachers, as learners, as writers, we find that we are most effective when we practice reflection.  I recently came across Peter Pappas' work on what he calls the Taxonomy of Reflection.
His model really speaks to me as I think about how this blog will proceed.  For now, most of my writing is taking place in my journal.  This blog will likely serve as a place where I can explore the public expression of my private writing.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sally, You express yourself so well. To think this wonderful daughter came from me. A lot of your ability to write came from your father,not me.When Isit down to write my mind goes blank. I enjoy your blog so much.

#1Nana said...

Hi Sally,
I don't think you need to change the name of your blog...you could just change the sentence under the title to reflect your current state. And I say this because I don't want to change the title of mine once I have my birthday in October and reach that benchmark of 60!

I'm a little worried that you're reading my posts and mentally correcting my grammar!!! Send me a note if you find anything really bad, wil you?

sallylwess said...

#1 Nana,
You are a wonderful writer. I enjoy everything you write. There are no final drafts in blogging. That is the beauty of it all! And, no one is grading us. I will send you a note if I see anything that could embarrass you, but you have to promise to do the same for me.

lakeviewer said...

Hi Sally, I see we have a lot in common. In my case, I retired seven years ago, and experienced the same withdrawl as you will. Blogging has allowed me to meet many wonderful people to share ideas and perspectives. Welcome to my blog,btw. Sorry it took me a while to greet you.

lakeviewer said...

p.s. grammar, syntax and punctuation are retired too. Well, in a sense. We all know these are first drafts for most folks. Let's not fret over the small things.