Once upon a time, I was a teacher blogger. My blog was The Gemini Teacher and I wrote about all things classroom. The teacher blogger community is vast, active and you can quite frankly get lost in a whirlwind of Pinterest perfect classroom setups, strategies and games for students. While I learned so much being a part of the teacher blogger community, I definitely prefer being a blogger who happens to teach…here’s why.
Teacher Blogger: It’s My Career, Not My Life
No matter what happens I will always be a teacher. It is at the core of who I am, but teaching is what I do it isn’t my whole life. When I was a teacher blogger, teaching was really my whole life. I spent evenings laminating phonics cards on my living room floor, putting together crate seats, and making phonics phones. Then, I’d go and blog about it. It was so easy to get caught up in all the cute. There’s a lot of it out there in the teacher and teacher blogger community. I learned so much, but I struggled with content for a variety of reasons.
The beginning of my teaching career was sooo tough. I literally hated the school where I worked. So much negativity in a school building was super taxing on my chi, and I didn’t have the energy to pretend to be cutesy on my blog. I was going through real sh*t. My faith in myself as a teacher was being tested daily, so I couldn’t even write about it. At the time, I was too emotional to use my blog to vent, and teacher bloggers don’t use their blogs in that way. It was all about what cute, cute things I created that went so well with my students. I was NOT in the mood.
Now don’t get me wrong…I still taught my behind off that whole time and my students’ results spoke for themselves, but I just couldn’t do the teacher blogger thing in that mindset. It didn’t feel like me and I honestly became exhausted.
If I knew then what I know now I would have stuck with it longer, but at the time it felt inauthentic. I didn’t want to be the teacher complaining about life every post, or pretending it was all a dream and it really felt like a nightmare. So I just let it go. What I know now that I didn’t know then was that I should have found a way to tell my truth and not try to be like other teacher bloggers. In that community, those that are successful and making money from being a teacher blogger have a lot of the same tactics and ways they promote their products. That didn’t feel authentic to me. I truly thought I couldn’t be successful. Not to mention, that as much as I love teaching, I didn’t want to limit myself to writing about teaching only.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I was a writer first. Starting a teacher blog felt like I was combining my two passions into one, but I didn’t like the limitations that come with it. As I said before, people in the teacher blog community are looking for a specific type of writing, post or product and writing about that just didn’t fire me up. I actually was concerned about it for a while, because it made me question my love for teaching. My thoughts were…well if I love teaching so much…why don’t I enjoy writing about it too? Why can’t I seamlessly combine the two things I absolutely love to do into my teaching blog?
Then it hit me.
I felt limited. While of course there are a vast number of teaching concepts, ideas, strategies, and days in the classroom that I could document on my teaching blog, I still felt limited. Limited because I could only portray my teaching self, not my full self. Ms. Stroy is a sassy, but fun teacher that makes her students use their whole brain to activate their learning. Denay is even sassier because she likes to listen to loud music, cuss, and drink entire bottles of wine. They are both who I am but I feel like on DDJ I can be my whole self and it is just fine.
Blogger Who Teaches: Authentically Me
I am a blogger who teaches instead of a teacher blogger. Committed to showing up as my authentic self. Yes, I love teaching. Going into my tenth year in the classroom, and I still get excited around this time of the year for a new start and back to school madness. I tried to join the teacher blogger community, realized it wasn’t for me and that’s o.k. Things may have changed since I tried it the last time, but for now it isn’t what fires me up.
Perhaps I could give it another go, but right now my focus is on growing this baby. DDJ feels like me. It feels right because I get to share all the things that make me who I am, not just teaching. DDJ is not where I want to be with it yet, but the jewels are dropping and I know my real tribe will start picking them up.
I am a blogger who just so happens to be a bomb teacher….and dassit!