On some level, this blog is intended to serve as a record for our incredible adventures abroad this year. A scrapbook, of sorts. As Sullivan notes, a writer evolves. Her opinions and ideas, her voice, her skills change over time. A blog immortalizes these undulations and makes them accessible to both the writer and anyone else with an Internet connection, even decades afterwards.
In blogging this year, I'm also trying to model an authentic way of writing for my kids, who are maintaining their own blogs on this site. In fact, just this morning, we developed a co-constructed list of criteria for assessing the boys' blog posts before they publish.
Never Enough Time
As I look over the list while writing this post, I'm ashamed to report that my own writing would not garner a "Level 4": There is rarely enough time to write as well as I would like to, whether it is a reflection on something that's happened here in Argentina, a recount of an article I've read, a summary of a lesson I taught.... I'm forever being interrupted by urgent voices from the kitchen asking for help with recess snack, or people announcing we're late and we need to go "right now", or emails flooding my inbox checking in about jobs I've promised to complete....
Blogging "well", it seems, is an elusive luxury for someone like me.
A Judgemental Audience
As more and more people begin to read blogs and online content in general, I am also increasingly aware that "others" will judge me based on what I write and publish here, as a parent, as a teacher, as a Christian, as a woman who identifies as part of the LGBTQ spectrum... such an awareness invariably causes me to censor myself, even just a little bit.
Blogging anonymously would of course alleviate such concerns. But it would also remove the joy of regular travel updates for family and friends who have been intentionally following our blog this year.
Sullivan suggests that blogging as a form favours a "colloquial, unfinished tone."
While the blogger in me celebrates the permission to publish imperfect works, the teacher in me panics that allowing things to become too colloquial and unpolished will foster sloppy writing habits in my students. Especially with younger students, who are still learning to type and to write, I struggle to find the balance between fostering a joy of writing on the one hand, and on the other, equipping students with the specific, practical skills and tools they will need to write various text forms effectively.
Approaching Risk with an Open Mind
I'm reminded of the movement in reading instructional philosophy in recent years, to include more "non-traditional texts" in the classroom... while some of my more seasoned colleagues where raising their eyebrows, I was delighting in one of my struggling reader's daily enthusiasm about reading "Auto Trader" magazine, which I had allowed him to bring into class with him as an alternative to the boring, too-difficult-to-decifer grade level readers most of the rest of us were using.
That there are hazards inherent in unconventional approaches to anything are obvious. But, as Andrew Sullivan writes encouragingly, "blogging requires an embrace of such hazards, a willingness to fall off the trapeze rather than fail to make the leap".