I stopped writing. Since the start of the 2013-2014 school year, I wrote a reflective blog post every day that I was with students. In that time, I only missed 2 days. I know myself well enough to know that if I had taken a day off, I wouldn't start again.
The same thing happened with my running schedule. I was consistently running 4-5 days a week. I took a week off after my half marathon and didn't start again.
About a month and a half ago, I was tired and I took a break from blogging. There were no excuses for doing so and no real reason, although several people told me I was allowed. I should not have stopped.
Blogging has been a grounding force for me. It has required me to think about my entire day, rather than just the pieces that stick out. It has forced me to examine my teaching holistically, identifying strengths and weaknesses. It shone a light on the ways I taught that needed to be improved and the ways in which I was succeeding.
Without blogging, I slowly fell into the teaching trap which is too common. I forgot about my successes and focused too heavily on my failures and frustrations.
@JustinAion I don't think you're looking in the right places then... and I'm sure your students would disagree.— Robert Kaplinsky (@robertkaplinsky) May 23, 2017
Robert was completely right. Blogging had been helping to keep me balanced. I was writing about the bad, but also the good. Without it, I was focusing only on the things that I was finding challenging and frustrating. I was spending all of my energy on the students who haven't shown the kind of growth I was looking for.
I had forgotten those who HAD grown. I had forgotten the relationships that I had built. I had overlooked the students who come to me when they have things they need to talk about, those who will cry in front of me and no one else, those who see my room as a place where they can be safe.
Changing school districts this year has been nothing short of a tectonic shift. The strategies and tactics that I used in my previous district have been of minimal use to me here. I changed communities, curriculum, students, colleagues, administrators and assessment strategies. I started woodturning. I freely admit that I did WAY too much and when something had to give, it was blogging.
It shouldn't have been.
In a torrential thunderstorm, I turned on my wipers because I found the motion distracting. I veered off the road. I don't think I hit anything major, but I've had several near misses. I have many changes that I need to make for next year, but I think blogging needs to stay.
I don't think I realized how much it was helping me.