Rewinding and reviewing

My blog will soon celebrate its first birthday. It means it's still a toddler, learning to find his way around, but I dare say he's a very active one; he won't let me sleep at night and rest in the day, and he needs constant care and nourishment (ideas, reflections, insights and the like). But every mother loves her baby and enjoys looking after him so that he thrives. And then she has a reason to be proud.

The truth is that no mother has full control over her child. He lives his own life, even though she does everything in her power to influence him in the best way. There are other children, friends of different ages, who he meets and interacts with as he grows up, and those also shape him profoundly. And as time passes, the mother becomes wiser and more experienced and this has an impact on the way she brings up her child. There are other parents too. The mother observes the parents and the way they handle their kids. She admires some and looks with suspicion at others, but every encounter is a piece of new experience. She learns from more experienced parents and gets inspired by the passionate newbies, but she still wants to do it her way, though she may sometimes suspect it's not the best way. She's determined to follow her hunch. And she is over the moon when, occasionally, she hears words of praise and encouragement which boosts her confidence.

Enough of metaphors. Accept my apologies if I sounded a bit pathetic. Forgive me my choice of gender, pronouns and the fact that this is a single-parent family metaphor. I wanted to keep things clear and simple.

It's been almost a year since I started writing this blog and it's been one of the most enjoyable and creative periods in my life. While blogging I've met people who I have the courage to call friends. Thanks to them I've learnt to accept and provide support and feedback. No, blogging is not a lonely job. At each and every stage of writing a post I have my potential readers in mind. I know some will stop by and read my words right after I hit the publish button. Some will share the post and/or comment and thus turn the monologue into a dialogue.

By using the wacky metaphor above I attempted to imply that the way a blog looks, the way it is shaped and perceived is not just the result of the blogger's effort. There are many other factors which influence the blog's fate. No matter how one writes, there will eventually be no blogging if the blogger isn't lucky enough to find the right readership and those who are kind enough to promote the blog. Yes, they say you should keep writing even if nobody reads your blog but, well, hmmm, I'm not convinced ...

There are times when I write because I feel I have something pressing to say. I come home from work and I pour out my heart. But sometimes I have nothing really interesting up my sleeve and I still feel the need to write. There's this intangible pressure that needs to be released. It may sound odd and daring to say that the best posts were motivated by the latter case; they were born out of the urge to create and produce - out of the need to communicate, to send some energy out there into the blogosphere and, perhaps, to get something in return.

So, what have I blogged about so far? Generally, my posts have been reflective. But some of them were quite practical; they primarily aimed to help other teachers. I did my best not to sound too serious; I'm a humorous person after all. I loved writing about social media and their role in a teacher's life. I never avoided sharing my personal and professional failures. Quite a few posts were meant to inspire and motivate others to achieve goals. For example, I was the inspire leader for the #30GoalsEdu Challenge. I think I came up with some really passionate posts. Sometimes I was passionately critical of the education system but I also expressed my awe and gratitude in all sorts of ways. I loved to look at things in retrospect but I also looked ahead and created action plans. There's a little bit of pseudo-science on my blog as well. I'm extremely proud to have been invited to write a guest post for the BELTA blog and I wrote two summaries for #ELTchat. I enthusiastically took part in several chain-post challenges. I expressed my gratitude for being part of an online community and I thanked my PLN for being there with me all the time. I took videos of my classes to see if I teach communicatively and didn't hesitate to share my observations. I wrote about who I am as a teacher and where I'm headed. I touched upon technology and its place in the classroom. I was childish and crazy at times but never ashamed. I shared some of the hardships I experienced as an L2 learner. I wrote about more general issues and questions that trouble me as an educator. I expressed sympathy and compassion. There are a few rants on my blog too. Finally, I nevet tried to hide my disappointment I experienced in the classroom, and I didn't conceal my worries regarding my future prospects as an EFL teacher because sharing those tormenting feelings on my blog always helped me to cheer up, especially when I got heartfelt comments from the fellow bloggers.

Correct me if I'm wrong but blogging is a passion and it can even become an obsession; one way or another, it's not a mundane task. I think the worst thing for me would be to feel guilty for not having blogged for a long time - not due to a lack of time but because of a loss of inspiration and interest. Luckily, this hasn't happened yet. On the contrary, I feel even more enthusiastic and excited and I hope this feeling will last. So, please, wish me luck and stay with me .....