One year ago today I started All Things Education. Happy Blogiversary to me! Unfortunately, so far I have spent my blogiversary at a dentist's appointment (but no cavities :) and reading depressing tweets from Rupert Murdoch's big speech about education racketeering, I mean, reform. So now it's time for some reflection.
I'd always enjoyed writing, but I started writing more seriously during my last year of college. For my senior project, I translated a series of short stories from French to English and that hooked me. After graduating, I continued writing, but then fell in love with teaching which I did for about ten years before deciding to take a break to spend more time with my children and more time writing. I took several writing workshops and got some of my creative work published. If you're interested, you can find links to them on my other blog, which I initially started to share my writing and get some feedback. I started writing more and more about education and decided to dedicate an entire blog to it. Then, I started tweeting. . .
This time last year, I had maybe 1,000 hits on my (other) blog which was a couple of years old. My education blog has earned close to 32,000 hits in just one year. I now have a couple hundred subscribers when I used to have maybe 5. Last fall and winter I had 60 - 70 followers on twitter. Now I have between 730 - 740. I have gotten a few pieces published in larger publications, which, again, I link to in my other blog.
As a writer, this is all very, very affirming and I want to thank all of my readers, followers, and mentors. To those who support me, you give me confidence and courage. To those who question, critique, and push back, it is from you that I learn and grow. To all of the writers, bloggers, tweeters, and activists who influence me, you inspire me, teach me, and make me think (for a sampling of my influences, see "What I Read" on the right). To the editors and authors of bigger blogs and publications who have featured or linked to my work, thank you for giving my ideas and work a chance. Finally, to my husband, thank you so much for encouraging me to take on all of this and for helping me ( successfully, most of the time :) to keep my pettier instincts in check.
For the coming year,"I will continue to blog and to solicit guest posts, but I also want to return some to my creative writing as I've neglected it in the past year. I also need to, um, GET A JOB. If I have treated the past three as apprenticeship years, now I must find a way to move up to employee status. Besides the reasons stated above, I took a break from teaching because I didn't like the direction the system was going in; the corrosive effects on good practice and rich and meaningful curriculum of high-stakes testing and standardization all ran contrary to what I had been taught and what I knew to be high quality education. The idea of improving our education system using anti-intellectual reforms, under anti-intellectual leadership seems antithetical. That being said, I have felt more and more, although I am involved as a public school parent, that the longer I am out of the classroom, the longer I am not working in schools, the less what I have to say is valid or relevant and also the less useful my work is. So besides pursuing writing gigs, I am also going to pursue teaching ones. I've learned so much as a parent and reading, writing, and blogging about education; at the very least what I've learned will make me a better and more informed teacher (too bad one of it counts towards renewing my license!)
This is not to say that I am feeling certain or confident about any of this. It scares me to the point that I wake up anxiety-striken in the wee hours almost every morning. I worry that I won't be able to find a job. I worry that I'll have to take a job that I don't like, that I'll be forced to be a McTeacher teaching McEducation in a McSchool. I worry that I'll get a job I like but that I'll be overwhelmed with it and my parenting responsibilities and will fail miserably at both. I worry that no one will want to hire me because I'm too old and my skills too rusty.
However this all turns out, I'll certainly let you know. And, hey, thanks for reading. It has meant the world to me, really.