Tuesday, 20 September 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog.....

I have been experiencing significant anxiety over having to blog my thoughts, views and ideas as I progress through this chapter in my life – teacher education. Part of this is not having the time to physically sit down and take time out to compile my thoughts – however, there’s more to it than that.

I have managed to take some time to read and view my colleagues’ blogs and after reading their blogs and those of other educators that I’ve discovered online, I always come away with the same thought – “WOW!” The insights, thoughts, views and ideas that have been shared via blog are all very profound, interesting and thought-provoking.

Hence my anxiety….dare I actually say the words? Here goes…am I good enough?? Will I make a fool of myself??

This thought is quite ironic since those who know me personally know that I am an outgoing, fairly confident person. I have no problem speaking out and sharing my views – whether it be with friends, colleagues or classmates. I stay true to “say what you mean, mean what you say”. I’ve never worried about “being judged” or “what will people think?” as long as I remained respectful and true to myself.

From a young age, I was taught to “be myself” and I never hesitated to do so. So, in Grade 5, when all the girls went crazy about the latest boy band (NKOTB), I stuck with my favourite music (hip-hop/rap) never worrying about “being different”. When I thought it would be “cool” to get my nose pierced, as a tribute to my heritage and culture, I didn’t hesitate to do so. Safe to say, I was the only kid in Gr. 7 to make such a bold statement (in the 90s) and I was “persecuted” by peers for my choice, but I didn’t care. This was my way of expressing myself.

So why, at this point in my life am I all of a sudden afraid to share my thoughts and views?? Well, first, the sharing platform is one which I’ve never used before. But that’s not really it. After much reflection, I’ve realized that its actually quite scary to “put myself out there” – out where? Out into cyberspace…where my classmates, instructors, education colleagues and other can read my thoughts and “judge” me. Whew! That’s scary! What if they think I’m a raving idiot?

So now I am faced with a few choices. I can forget this whole blog idea (along with this optional tech course that I am taking), I can continue to blog but in a more “professional, scripted voice” or I can just “be myself” and take a personal risk. What would you do?

I believe I will have to take some advice from Nike and “Just Do It”. I will take the risk and “put myself out there” – the REAL me, not a scripted, edited version of me. I have to be true to myself and practice what I preach. I have told my kids a countless number of times “be yourself” and I guess its time that I take my own advice. So here goes….wish me luck!


  1. As you mentioned, just relax and be yourself. Blogging is just another learning like writing an essay or preparing a lab report. It takes a while to let your blog voice develop; just as the first 1 page report was endless agony, a 20 page essay becomes a comfortable length due to previous experience. And by voice I'm not saying that you'll express yourself as anyone but the person you are but eventually the process and your style of writing gets internalized. When I sit down to write something, I no longer worry about the 'how' as my (to be blogged) thoughts are already formatted to my standard entry style without concentrating on it.
    It also might help to find one of the VATs blogs that seems to communicate things in a way that you really like ... and try to model their way of expressing thoughts.
    And yes, it can be a little scary to put face-to-face or internal thoughts into the world. If it helps, as much as my blog is important to me and I agonize over every word and reference, I see others as spending some time watching the Roy show. If they like what I've written, they might sit through the entire episode. If they don't like what I've written, they'll usually just change the channel and forget about what they've seen. If they really like it, they might leave a comment. And if they don't like it but still leave a comment ... I always know where the comment delete key is.

  2. Hi Shailja,
    Can I share a "teacher's college anxiety moment" of mine? I was so worried when I entered the Faculty of Education that I would discover that all the things I had done with children in the pre-Faculty-teaching activities were wrong and detrimental to the kids I was teaching. (It was really hard to get into the Fac of Ed back then and you had to have a lot of prior teaching experience to show you "had the right stuff".) I was terrified that I had harmed a child out of ignorance or poor teaching practice. It may not be the same as your concern about public blogging turning into your public flogging, but it's still a reflection on how you will be viewed as a teacher - and reflection can't be bad if you learn from it, right?

    So yeah, put yourself out there and be yourself, not a facade of something you think you should pretend to be. Having said that, learn from the teachers and educators who have not realized the impact of using web 2.0 tools wisely and said stupid things (like insulting their students or posting inappropriate photos of themselves). You already realize your audience has the potential of being wide and vast - mean what you say and say what you mean, but always infuse it with respect for your readers, your colleagues, your students, and yourself. You'll be just fine.

  3. You're onto something with your Nike slogan analogy. What's the worst that can happen? Blogging is so great for sharing ideas and community building! For example I haven't met you in real life, but your voice which comes through in your excellent writing is familiar to me. I am also a teacher candidate who is worried about being judged for my thoughts, but I'm getting into it and it's really helping me develop my personal teaching philosophy as I get my thoughts out there. JUST LET IT ALL HANG OUT! Keep up the great writing :)

  4. Hey looks good! Small world, met you in person at the picnic tables and now I find your blog. I think your attitude is great, keep up the hard work!


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  5. Greetings Shailja! Welcome to the blogosphere! I know exactly how you feel and I totally relate to this blog. I've just started blogging and it was a slightly nerve wracking experience to hit that publish button. But blogging is a great way to share feelings, thoughts, knowledge and everything in between. So, congratulations on pushing that publish button. I look forward to following your blog!

  6. Wow! Thanks for all the encouragement guys!! You made my day! =)

  7. Hi Shailja,

    I still hear my words echoing as you walked out of the lab, just a short two days ago...just be yourself Shailja, use your voice Shailja, be brave....take risk... press "post".
    What you wrote here and shared is something that has taken many experienced bloggers, educators years to do. You have clearly made a distinction between writing as a researcher, or educator, or academic, and writing with your own voice, showing the real you - being vulnerable.
    I smile when I read Diane's comment (DianeTL) because sometimes I too think that one day someone is going to find out that I am a phoney. LOL.
    But, then someone like you, or Michelle (mrsstasiuk) or the other amazingly generous educators in my network, give me support. We need to weigh the fear and the risk and the concerns we have with our transparent selves with the benefits - the freedom, the networks, the colleagues, the friends...
    For me, the benefits have won. :) I'm proud of you.

  8. Thank you Zoe!! Your continued encouragement is inspiring!

  9. Just remember that everyone is in the same boat. Even though I have been blogging on different platforms for a couple of years, I still get nervous. We all do! There is a bit of a learning curve and then you will start becoming less self-conscious. (That, and your first post will be pushed to the bottom, and then the next page and then you won't have to worry about it at all!)