Blogging with Integrity: Why Being a Teacher Blogger Can Suck

Behind the photoshopped pictures, the enormously popular giveaways, the fun partnerships and sponsors, the Stitchfixes, and the creative DIY projects, there are fascinating human beings with stories to tell, memories to share, and advice to give. Blogging allows us an opportunity to connect and exchange with others who share similar interests. The really talented and special bloggers share what's really on their hearts, what they're currently struggling with--from as simple as an outfit to a divorce--and this is what makes them so endearing and real. ithinkthereforeiblog

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Think back through your Blog Lovin' list. Which blogs are your favorites? The ones with the great pictures and helpful tutorials more than likely make the list, but the ones who really touch your heart or the ones you really connect with the most are really special. You know--the blogger who you wish could be your instant BFF because he or she is just so cool and normal!

I am a firm believer in blogging with this kind of integrity in one's writing. To be real and raw and honest. To share what's going on (to a point--we all have privacy boundaries) and how he or she is making it through. And to celebrate the joys of life!

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But you guys, I don't feel like I have been writing with this type of integrity. I didn't start this blog with the intention of being a fashion blog (not that I'm ashamed or even annoyed--it's been a fun journey and so creative and enjoyable). I started it as a lifestyle blog with the occasional craft and outfit post. I didn't really have just one niche. But what I've discovered is that I am not in a position to really share what I'd really like to say.

This post is not meant to be an excuse but more of an explanation and my way of sharing a struggle that is really difficult to talk about because, well, I'm not exactly allowed to.

Let me explain. I am a teacher. And as I tried to discretely mention here and here, it hasn't been an easy first year to say the least. I've never struggled like this in the past, never have had doubts about my profession before, and so, now that I have, I want more than anything to speak out and ask for advice and share some clarity I've discovered for other new teachers and professionals just out of college.

Some people are in a situation that allows them to be more open about their careers or even teaching. I envy how open and wonderful Bonnie is about her career. I wish I had that courage (and the freedom) to write so openly. But I've learned this past year that educational law is so complex that I must watch everything I say, especially in such a public manner as this blog. Even though it is unknown to my students and many of my coworkers, it's still not worth risking my career. Even with something as small as social media, I must be very conscientious about who my audience is.

For example, I currently operate four different Twitters (personal, two teaching, and my blog) because I have to keep my personal stuff away from my teaching stuff and that includes my blog. With those and two Facebook accounts, an Instagram, and more--it gets exhausting! (I know, it's my choice...). The lines are blurred even more when my students graduate, yet are still able to influence younger students.

So my struggle this year has been dealing with the issues first year teaching already brings, but also how to talk and write about my experiences. I want so badly to say, "I've dealt with A, has anyone else??" or "Here's how I handled B and it was successful because..." I feel stifled and limited as a blogger (and a human being in general). And I fear it makes me lose my integrity as a real writer.

I had a conversation with my mom about this blog and its current direction and where I'd like it to go and I would very much like to find a way to share what goes on in my everyday world without sacrificing my integrity as a teacher AND a blogger.

If I wanted to just post outfits and DIY projects, maybe I wouldn't have to worry about this issue. I've kind of been gliding along this whole time doing just that, with a few exceptions. But I also want to be true to who I am. I am more than the picture, the giveaway, and the sponsorship. And so are so many amazing bloggers! And so are you. You have a story to tell and I pray that you can tell it with integrity, but also with responsibility.

So how do I share what is near and dear to me, what has been the crux of most issues I've faced this year, what would probably help many other new teachers, but also protect myself, my students, and my district? I don't know if I have an answer. I sure hope I can find a nice balance as well as encourage people who may be dealing with similar things. We have such a unique opportunity to connect with each other and to collaborate that it would be wrong not to share.

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On another note, I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive and inspiring during this whole almost full year of blogging. I am so grateful and have loved every minute of it. If you find something that inspires you, encourages you, challenges you, and feeds you creatively--DO IT! You owe it to yourself. Now...if I could just figure out that whole challenge bit...:)