My Blogging Break Is Over … And It Will Not Be Happening Again!

Late last night, I sent out this tweet.

It’s report card season in Ontario, and for Kindergarten educators, it’s our first time writing the new Communication of Learning. These learning stories are rich ways to reflect on student growth since the beginning of the year. 

  • They’re personalized.
  • They’re focused on the positive.
  • They’re child-centred … and when you read them, they truly make you picture each student in your head.

They also take incredibly long to complete. I have written report cards for 15 years, and for every grade from Kindergarten to Grade 6. I’m a big believer in making report cards meaningful, and writing comments that truly reflect the child. I have personalized many comments in the past, and so I did not expect these Communications of Learning to be so much more time-consuming … but they were. The discussion I had online this past weekend showed me that I was not alone in these thoughts.

I share all of this here because I had an epiphany last night. It all started when I realized that what was making me feel giddy, despite being exhausted, was the fact that I could blog again. I have not stopped blogging these past three weeks. I still published a class blog post every night and a couple of professional ones throughout the week, but I highly reduced my professional blogging. I usually blog when I want to blog, but this has changed recently: I needed to spend my time on the Communications of Learning, so I needed to reduce my blogging. 

This might not seem like such a big deal, but I realized how much this was affecting me after I commented on one of Royan Lee‘s recent posts

I blog for many reasons, but one of the biggest, is that it helps me self-regulate. Being able to share my thoughts, make sense of my thinking, ask questions, and express myself in a way that I cannot do otherwise, always makes me feel better. It makes me feel calmer. And by reducing my professional blog posts, out of necessity, for these past few weeks, I question now if this just increased my stress: hence, the heightened feelings of worry. I thought that I was helping myself, but now I wonder if I may have been doing the opposite. 

I share this thinking because Kindergarten educators will be writing Communications of Learning again this year. Other educators will be writing report cards. And administrators will be proofreading hundreds of them (knowing that just proofreading my 33 took ten hours, it is the thought of their task that may stress me out most of all 🙂 ). I’m sure that I’m not alone in feeling stressed and worried about Communications of Learning/report cards. I’m also sure that I’m not alone in putting a hold on some activities in order to spend more time on them. But tonight I question …

  • What are we choosing to put on hold? What might these decisions mean for our well-being?
  • How are we finding the time, in the midst of our writing and/or proofreading, to do those things that help us self-regulate?

I’m not sure how, but I think we need to find this time. We deserve it. We’ll be calmer for it. And our colleagues, students, and families will all benefit from a calmer us. I am back to blogging again, and I know, that somehow, I will not be taking as long a break next term. Are you with me?

Aviva

 

12 thoughts on “My Blogging Break Is Over … And It Will Not Be Happening Again!

  1. It is hard for me to comment on this without sounding trite or risking the “easy for you to say” comments. I do believe that your time and thoughtful reflections on the children’s learning will be appreciated by parents and families as well as by other educators. I do also believe that the overall well- being of educators is critical in order for this thoughtful reflection to take place. Sadly, I don’t have an easy silver bullet answer- not likely anyone does!! Maybe you alluded to it when you mentioned self-regulation. How do we convince colleagues that we are all responsible for our own well- being? No one can “make” me sit at my desk all day except ME. No one is going to come and “make” me do the stretches that are critical to my well-being but ME! How do we learn to value and respect ourselves enough to take care of ourselves as we care for the children? Let me know if you figure this one out!!

    • Thanks for your comment, Jill! I think that you make a great point here. Maybe the problem for me the first time around is that I didn’t anticipate the timing involved in this process. I knew that the Communications of Learning would take a while to write (report cards always did before), but I significantly underestimated the time commitment. So while I usually have to cut back a bit on things during “report card season,” I found myself stopping things much more, as I needed the time to write. I wouldn’t usually spend 12-14 hour days just sitting in front of a computer, but I did, as I didn’t have enough time not to. Now, I do 100% think that the time was worth it, and I was incredibly happy with the final products. I just know now that I need to start earlier. I need to maybe write some comments in the evenings, even though I usually prefer to just work on “reports” on weekends, as then I’m not as tired and can write better. But by doing smaller chunks over a longer period of time, maybe I can work in these Self-Reg options that I need (particularly my blogging), and maybe feel a little less worried/anxious. This was a learning curve … and a good one! I wonder how others plan to address this come the next writing period.

      Aviva

      • I also think that it was the first time through for this template- and although you write in the same style- it was still “new”. Hopefully the second time around it will feel more familiar and will go more quickly??? I really hope that others feel as you do- that the time and effort was worth it, for educators, for parents but mostly for the kids! Now- go do something nice for you!😍

        • Thanks Jill! I do think that the time was worth it, as we are truly capturing the skills and learning of each individual child. This is powerful. It’s important. And kids deserve it. I think that parents will also “see” their child in these comments, which I also think is meaningful. I’ve been trying to figure out why I found this so much more time-consuming. I have written personalized comments before, and I even knew the examples that I wanted to use, and what I wanted to say, for each child. I type fast (so that wasn’t the issue). And to be honest, when my hands needed a break, I used Siri and dictated the comments. Then I just copied, pasted, and edited as needed. Maybe it was because I really wanted to have this read like a “learning story.” I also really noticed the overlap between the frames, and wanted to take advantage of this in my comments — to really tie each of the frames together. Hopefully it won’t be quite so time-consuming come June, but just in case, I do plan on starting a little earlier so that I can pace things better.

          Aviva

  2. Hi Aviva, yes very time consuming, and I like to write , but the time and energy was crazy. Hoping through docit learning stories will help with the process even more this term. It will be interesting to see what transpires after the Princpals read them😊 Enjoy your class!

    • Thanks for the comment, Rebecca! I think that I was surprised because we have a lot of learning stories, and I knew what I wanted to say (and the examples I wanted to use). I’m struggling with pinpointing why the Communications of Learning seemed to be more time-consuming than previous report cards. It may be just getting adjusted to a new format. I do love how the final Communications of Learning help celebrate each child and truly capture each child. In the end, I’m happy, but I definitely need to start earlier come June (especially with 32 children). Just another learning curve … 🙂 Hope you’re having a great year too!

      Aviva

      • Oh, you always nail it right on the head. I am a classroom teacher for the first time in years, and that means this is the 3rd Saturday In a row at my desk. I have been striving to keep Sundays free – to worship, ski, and bake with the people I love, but crunch time is approaching and something must give. I expect there may not be a ski in the cards for me tomorrow, but there will have to be a walk. Self-reg is so important and for me, movement is part of that. Thanks for making me think again. (And I aspire to the skill of a colleague, who writes great reports, and has been in the same grade long enough that it takes her about 4 hours total.

        • Thanks for the comment, Lisa! I’m glad that you’re considering your own Self-Reg needs, and it seems like, as hard as it is, you’re meeting them. This is something that I definitely plan to do next term, likely by starting my Communications of Learning earlier. Then I can give the time that I need to them, while also doing the things that I need for me. As for your colleague, I would love to know how she does this. It takes me almost three times that amount to just proofread the comments, let alone write them. 🙂

          Aviva

          • My biggest indicator that I need an adjustment is my ability to sleep. If I can’t, I need to figure out what the anxiety trigger is (almost always work-related) and deal with it, but also make sure I’ve moved enough to tire my body out physically, at least a little. There’s a balance, and it’s a hard, hard, dance, and I think many of us struggle with it at this time of year.

          • Thanks for the reply, Lisa! I think you’re right about this balance, and how much we struggle during “report card season.” It sounds like you’re really intuned to your needs and your body though, and this is so important. Good luck finishing your report cards, and I hope you get the fresh air time that you need, even if it’s “crunch time.”

            Aviva

  3. I know exactly how you feel. I haven’t blogged in weeks and it’s driving me a little crazy, but I know that it was necessary to get through report cards and the flu (what a beautiful double whammy). I have a couple ideas floating around in my brain and can’t wait for this weekend to try to put one or two of them to blog form. Congrats on your hiatus coming to an end! I look forward to joining you soon!

    • Glad to hear that you’re feeling better and that report cards are over now. I’m excited to read your blog posts when you finish them. It’s a great feeling to be able to blog again.

      Aviva

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