Sunday, December 09, 2007
Blogging as the Nucleus, Blogging as the Electron
My blogging began after my second military move during my stay-at-home-mommy year. I ventured into non-email authorship after my daughter expressed an interest in having her own MySpace page, something I was not about to let her do without having figured out the pros and cons of it myself first. I learned how to modify the page, add friends, comments, change the layout template, add graphics, and most importantly, began adding information and details about myself in text to categories of music, interests, books, movies, etc. I chose not to be deceptive (the lists really do contain my "faves"), just selective in the information and photographs I chose to share and post.
I then started clicking on the links in the MySpace banner, and discovered groups, music, and blogs. I was not then, nor have ever been impressed by the "Top 10" Blogs list since most resort to attempts at erotica, hinted violence, or curse-laden lyrics to lure readers (and it obviously works, those blogs are in the top ten, right?). Undeterred, I thought there might be other people out there in CyberWorld like myself, a parent, teacher, military spouse, so I continued to explore. Joining "groups" on MySpace shared by teachers, famous-quote-enthusiasts, and crocheters, I started receiving recommendations for blog reading and began following links away from MySpace.
Having school-aged children and a husband with a twelve-hour workday meant that there was little conversation for me to participate in, no one to talk to or with save the newborn whose coos and cries kept me fairly focused on feeding, diapers, and baths. I found stay-at-home-mommy blogs, home decor blogs, sites for political rantings, crafting, and music. Parenting tips, joke sharing, photography, and world travel blogs gave me an escape each day during the then newborn's nap, and soon I felt the need to participate in the dialogues that some blogs offered, into which I had been invited by their questions and requests for comments.
My interests and need to communicate as a teacher, parent, crocheter, and homemaker required that I reach out, and I surprised myself by doing so when I began posting my own blog. Still selective and honest, my public diary reflected whatever topic was forefront in my mind, and asked questions that I sent out onto the web. I didn't often receive answers or suggestions in the beginning because of course, a blog must be "discovered." Just the writing, the expression, and the interjection of myself out into the world (added to the reading and contemplation of others' thoughts and ideas) helped me to feel less isolated, something that many people accomplish by participating in activities outside of their own homes. That year however, I wanted to be the nucleus and not the social electron. A newborn's schedule has that effect.
After that year at home, I was hired to teach, and I re-entered the world of public education. School district #3 had me longing for school district #1, just as school district #2 had at our previous post. I blogged away, and felt starved for like-minded educational philosophies, professional stances and behaviors that would reassure me I wasn't alone in the bigger picture, just merely an oddball in the current small pond in which I was swimming. Finally, one evening, I used just the right combination of words in Google, hit "return," and there they were, educational blogs, written by teachers from all over the world. I was in Heaven.
The timing couldn't have been better, because Uncle Sam decided to isolate me again, this time as a wife, by deploying my husband for a year. Now that I was an electron in the atoms of parenthood and teaching, I had resources, information, support, and enough activities to keep me busy, away from being overwrought with worry and fear for my husband. Teaching students, enjoying my grade-level-partner, and developing connections to other teachers with engaging and thought-provoking blogs via the internet helped me to feel a bit more well-rounded, adding to my mommy and wife facets.
This year, again at home, has been rich in family experiences, and thanks to the collegiality shared amongst educational blogs, my professional development and ties to public education have continued to grow. I've found some terrific recipes, warm and cuddly blanket patterns, and ideas for home decor along with some tips on digital photography that will help no matter where Uncle Sam moves us or which district is brave enough to hire me next. Blogging and searching for other bloggers to read have been entirely selfish acts on my part, fulfilling my own needs on my own timeline, in my own way. There is a part of me that hopes I've offered something in return though, because this medium is give and take, and I have certainly appreciated what other bloggers have been willing to share at this potlatch.