… and why I must restart.
I used to love to blog. I felt like it was the perfect medium for me to think about my practice and share my trials, failures, growth, and reflections. I felt like writing about my practice, beliefs, thoughts, and lessons kept me vibrant, innovating, and thinking critically about what it meant to be a relevant, meaningful school counselor. I blogged for me – it didn’t matter if anyone else read it (however, readers are always appreciated). The more I wrote and reflected, the more I felt empowered to try new things and better my practice.
Then all of a sudden I stopped blogging.
Every day for the past year I would add “blog” to my to-do list. Every day I would leave work with that task still looming and never crossed off. I think I managed to add a few blogs over the period of a year but somehow I had lost the desire, joy, and ability to get anything out in words. I could not identify why I had stopped – I just knew I no longer wrote about my counseling practice. It bothered me and I constantly thought of restarting but for some reason I could not bring myself to write.
There were all sorts of excuses:
“I am at a new school and the first year is so crazy, I don’t have the time.”
“My lessons are boring and not engaging. No one wants to read about them.”
“My voice is too whimsical – too philosophical. People want tangible takeaways when it comes to education.”
“My job is too restrictive and I have not been allowed to create and innovate here like I did at my past school. I have nothing new to share.”
“I am no longer at a PYP school so who is going to believe I am still using inquiry to facilitate social and emotional learning?”
“I would be better off taking my ‘blog time’ and using it for lesson planning (atlas updating, catching up on emails, connecting with staff, reading, and researching, etc).”
“Let’s face it … I am not a blogger.”
Somehow I could rationalize my decision to stop blogging in my mind but it kept eating away at my core. Why did I stop? If it brought me so much joy, why did I not restart?
Then it hit me. Somewhere along the way I stopped writing for me and started writing for others. Every post I wrote I worried how it would be received and if people would connect with my ideas. I began to worry that people would think I was phony or contrived. I doubted my lessons and thought people would judge my teaching practices (never mind I just facilitated these same lessons to students – the people that matter the most — without fear of judgment). I was questioning my voice and my craft in writing and believed others would do the same. I became so caught up in how others would view me that I paralyzed myself into not writing. Instead of doing something that empowered me and brought me joy, I let perceived judgment shut me down.
Over the past few months, I have been telling people I feel like I am stuck in a counseling rut. After a long conversation with my husband, he asked me, “When was a time you were not in your rut? What was different?” I sat for a hot minute and then said, “I blogged.” I realized that without have some means of sharing my practice and my beliefs, I had regressed in my counseling practice. I had stopped trying so hard to innovate and build inquiry-based lessons. I had stopped adapting practices, routines, and structures I believe help students make their own meaning into my counseling lessons. I had stopped challenging the status quo and current paradigm of education. I had morphed into a counselor I didn’t like being.
I realized that blogging was a little extra push and a little bit of accountability for me to better my practice. Blogging helped me keep current, keep innovating, keep improving and growing because I would take a new idea, try it out, reflect, and then share. I wanted to try new things as a counselor so that I could record my experiences and share them with fellow counseling practitioners to inspire and shift their thinking, as well. Blogging was my system of checks-and-balances between what I believed and wanted to do and what I actually practiced. I realized without blogging as a tool of conscious reflection I was not always pushing myself to improve and grow the way I knew I could. Blogging helped me become a better practitioner for students by always thinking about what I did (or could do) to support them. Not blogging is no longer an option. I had to do it for me. No one else. ME.
So here I am, sharing this reflection – on my blog – not for anyone else but for me. I do so to be accountable to myself, to continue to push counseling forward, and at the same time reclaim the joy that I find in being a meaningful and relevant counselor.