Saturday, August 18, 2012

Rambling of a Baffled Blogger (straight from the heart)

Blog world is exhausting. Confusing. Frustrating. Madness. Incredibly competitive. Overwhelming. Baffling. Addictive. Never-ending. And yet a great and wonderful part of my life.

"In fashion, one day you're in and the next day--you're out."

Recognize that quote?? One of my favorite shows!! Lately, I feel as though this can apply to blogging as well--"In blogging, one day you're in and the next day--you're out." Maybe not as drastically and as quickly as in the fashion world, but still relevant.

I wanted to share some thoughts that have been weighing on me for a couple of weeks now, mainly because you all are a group that most likely will be able to understand them and maybe help me sort through it!

I've just been wondering when all of this blog craziness will end--not in the sense of going away, but I'm having a hard time imagining when my incessant need to blog and check your blogs will end. More and more blogs are popping up every day and SO many ideas are out there--I am having great difficulties keeping up anymore! And I feel that as more blogs appear and as more AWESOME ideas come about, the relationship between me and you all, the readers, will deteriorate. I say this because I feel as though a lot of you are so overwhelmed with checking all of your favorite blogs and pinning and what not that you are now just looking for the "stuff" that you can gain instead of spending time connecting, collaborating, and sharing. It feels like the only reason people stop by my blog anymore is to get something. (And if you are still reading at this point, thank you! :) ) Sometimes it feels as though people have stopped coming altogether! And I know this all may sound silly and petty, but it is honestly affecting me. I feel as though I am being used......but that's the very nature of the internet, right?? To acquire information?? I am very much a logical thinker and I totally understand the reality of this, but I cannot help but allow this feeling of turmoil inside of me to rear its ugly head. Lately, I am just feeling so disconnected from you, my readers. And there are a few of you that comment on almost every post and you ask questions and leave some wonderful feedback and validation--but it still doesn't feel right and I'm not sure what to do about it. Like I said, I feel like it will only get worse as time goes on due to more and more and more blogs being created every day. But that's not your fault! Again--turmoil!

I guess I just want to say that bloggers have the pressure of constant posting and keeping up with everything, alllll the time. We understand readers must be engaged in the first few seconds on our site or they're going to click on to the next site. That can be hard to keep up with! It's just nice to know that people appreciate what you do and "care" about you so it doesn't feel meaningless. Plus, it's just nice to hear from you!! No one wants to talk to a brick wall...What works in YOUR classroom, what did you think about that idea, Do you have anything to add onto that idea, etc...just a few examples of questions you can answer to help build a connection between you and the author.

And in other news (sorry for the relentless rambling), I LOATHE a certain weekly newsletter from a certain popular teacher-made product site that broadcasts the high earnings of teacher bloggers out there (and not just in the newsletter but on the site as well). LOATHE. I'm not envious of the tens of THOUSANDS that you all are making--I'm actually quite impressed--but I feel that it is inappropriate on so many levels (and I would still feel that way if I were on that list.) It also ignites this terrible feeling in my gut that tells me that I'll never be good enough to do that, because I haven't. I do find myself being envious of the time that most of you are able to dedicate to creating products and checking off all of the items on your "Pinterest-to-make" list because I am very passionate about products I create and the research behind them. But then I feel bad because if I am coveting more time then I am wishing that I spend less time with my husband and toddler--which is NOT true. The newsletters are a weekly reminder of this and leaves me feeling very unsettled and overwhelmed. Maybe I should just unsubscribe...

I don't vent much on here but I feel as though it needed to be put out there, however random it may be--anyone else have similar feelings?? Any thoughts on the matter??

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

125 comments:

  1. I am sorry that you feel this way. I am going to be honest and tell you that pinterest & other things have me overwhelmed too. Everyone's classrooms are looking exactly the same...the one thing I dread...LOL I also don't have time to do all this crafty stuff with my kids..heck I never heard of the word Craftivity till last year. Craftivity?? I am lucky I can find time to have my kids make a MOther's Day gift.

    A teacher I work with says it best...our plate is full. Then they give us more stuff to put on the full plate...but the plate is the same size.

    I really enjoy mostly reading the stories you guys share because it makes me feel that I am infact not insane...but just a teacher. The funny stories in your classrooms make me feel a little better on those days that I would prefer to lock myself in my classroom closet, but of course those don't lock.

    Just know that I read your blog... and I teach the little ones. I appreciate your words. Thanks.I also don't blog even though I thought about it because Lord knows I barely have time for family, friends, school and my other hobbies.

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    1. LOL at the Mother's Day comment! Thanks for your honest comments and your support!! You are so right.

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  2. Your bog is one of the first I found, and I have been reading it faithfully ever since. Please know that you have helped me become a better teacher. I will be implementing many of your ideas and activities this year. I am sorry that you feel overwhelmed; it is understandable. Please know that through your blog you have helped improve my teaching. Thank you.

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    1. I don't know who you are, Anonymous, but I SO appreciate everything you said. I am glad that you have been able to take and implement ideas from my blog. I absolutely love being able to share ideas and collaborate with teachers from all over the globe, so I appreciate you stopping by "faithfully"! :)

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  3. aw Janaye - I feel ya girl!! Even my google reader has become SO overwhelming that I miss so much of what people are doing...and I am one that likes to comment on as many blog posts as I can...and I know the "being used" feeling when one of my posts has over 4 or 5,000 hits, but only 12 comments??? lol...the connection is what I love about blogging. Don't give up my friend...keep a high head, and know that the ones you are reaching, you are making a difference :)

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    1. Man, Google Reader is absolutely RIDICULOUS now!! I don't even use it anymore. And if you miss a day or two of checking?? YIKES! I am not glad that you are able to relate to how I am feeling, but am comforted by the fact that you understand what I am going through. It's amazing what how much blog world has changed in the last few months. I am TOTALLY with you on the 5,000 hits and only 12 comments--I try not to let it bother me because I am glad people are stopping by and it just feels so petty, but I just can't help it! It doesn't make sense! Thanks for reaching out and supporting me! I will keep doing what I am doing because I LOVE it! :)

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  4. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I recently started blogging and I love seeing and reading about what other teachers are doing in their classrooms. However, it seems like most people are using their blog to make money by selling their activities. This has been a little overwhelming for me because I first started blogging for the collaboration. I find solace in knowing that I am becoming a better educator because of the ideas, info, and collaboration I gain from reading blogs like yours.

    Katrina
    Teacherofscholars.blogspot.com

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    1. I can totally see how overwhelming that can be for a newbie blogger! Thank you for your sweet comments. I hope you hang in there--I will. It is a wonderful thing to be able to connect with teachers all over the globe!!

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    2. I am a new blogger too. I have visited your blog several times. I am guilty of not commenting enough in my fav blogs I check. I will do better. As a newbie, I get so excited when I have a comment. I do love collaboration!!
      Keep up the good work. I will visit and comment soon. :).
      Meredith
      www.sanders6thgrade.blogspot.com

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  5. I also agree with you! I began blogging 7 months ago so I could connect with other teachers, share ideas, and become a better teacher. I have not posted since July 24th (Just because I have been overwhelmed since school has started). If I don't post a freebie it seems no one stops by. So hang in there and know that you have faithful followers that stop by because of your passion for teaching. We come to collaborate with you not take your ideas and run!!

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    1. Thank you so much!! You are too sweet--I appreciate all that you said. I'm going to keep on keeping on because I do love what I do! I hope things have calmed down for you. Heading over to your blog now. ;)

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  6. I love your blog! I'm starting to feel overwhelmed too. I think the keyword is balance. I definitely need to work on this area. Thank you for always sharing your ideas and just connecting with your readers. I hope you have a great new year. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

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    1. Thank you so much!! I appreciate your support in this crazy bloggy world we "live" in!! Let me know when you figure out how to balance it all--the rest of us want to know!!! And I have totally been enjoying your blog lately, especially your bee-utiful classroom! ;)

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  7. Can I just "like" Jen's comment? I love what you have to share and always learn a ton from you.
    Elizabeth

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth! I'm a fan of yours as well! Blog world may be crazy but I know that there are a few people I can always count on--you are definitely one of them! ;)

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  8. OMG you have hit the nail on the head with what I have been thinking since I started blogging this summer. I am not one to use my blog to sell, sell, sell!. I wanted it to be a way to connect & network with some amazing teachers out there. I know on a Cathoilic teacher's salary I should & at times need to do that but so far I haven't. It makes me sad also that only a few bloggers comment on my posts. I ask myself am I not good enough to be blogging? Should I be blogging more? But I have a husband, kids and a life I need to live not behind a computer 24 / 7. So no you are not crazy there is more of us out there that feel just like you. Keep up the great post I love them!

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    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one thinking I might not be good enough to blog!

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, ladies! I guess it's not good that we're in the same boat, but at least we can help each other through this! Thanks for the encouragement!! :)

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    1. Thanks, Meredith. Love your blog title! ;)

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  10. I have been blogging at least 5 years. It started as an infertility blog and us now basically a mom blog. I have blog buddies that have supported me since the beginning. I'm also a 2nd grade teacher. I love Reading teacher and decorating blogs also, just to see what other people are doing. I am amazed at the good ideas out there and the fact that some teachers have the energy to make stuff AND blog about it after working all day!!! I do Love the free stuff and rarely buy stuff. Ugh... I don't where I'm going with this if just to say I love hearing what you are up to even though I don't regularly comment. The teacher blogs and punterest inspire me to be a better teacher and are another great resource.

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    1. Thanks for your feedback, PJ. I appreciate you leaving your feelings on the matter and leaving your support! :)

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  11. I started a blog this summer, but I have a few posts and no comments at all. I haven't offered anything for free! I find that entire idea of selling items and clip art licenses and all that overwhelming. I don't have a sellers account on TPT or any other teacher site, and I feel like I should as well. But I simply don't have the time. I don't understand where other people get all this time as well! I like reading blogs for the ideas I get, and the stores teachers share about their own classrooms, and the struggles we all have with meeting standards, student needs, etc... I don't want to go to someone's blog to buy something! (Though I always appreciate a freebie or a great idea!) I like to read blogs, but I like to read about what people are doing instead of what they are trying to sell me. I don't tend to comment, though, because I usually read through Google Reader and I usually don't have anything to say worth reading.

    Oh, and the word craftivity needs to leave the English language ASAP. It's a horrible word. I like doing little cute crafts with my students on occasion, as long as I can tie them in to content, but I am NOT going to spend hours and hours cutting out those little pieces for my students to put together some prefabricated project to hang on a bulletin board. If I do something like that, I make my first graders do the cutting!

    Sorry if my comment doesn't make any sense- I just woke up, and I am still feeling a bit sleepy since I didn't get enough sleep last night!

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    1. Lol at your craftivity comment! Yeah, some of the ones I see......I can't believe people actually pay money for! Not that they aren't cute but...well, I think you understand. ;) Thanks for sharing your feelings on the matter!!

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  12. I feel like you were talking directly from my thoughts. I got into blogging by reading yours and Elizabeths Funin 4B. I truly love everything you have to say and have used it to inspire a better teacher in myself this upcoming year. I felt the pressure so much I started my own blog two weeks ago. Imagine how I feel. No one fancy made my site...no one barely views it...but I love sharing my thoughts and inspirations on it. Thank you for all you do in the blogging world.
    Lindsay

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    1. Well, thank you, Lindsay! Participating in blog world, whether as a blogger or blog stalker, has definitely made us all better teachers. I guess that's why majority of us are here. Hoping' on over to your site now! ;)

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  13. Aww I love your blog! I understand what you mean about feeling used. One of my posts has 600 views, and no comments. And I only have 3 people who even follow me. But I think that you're right about why we do this... to connect and support one another. Teaching has gotten really tough, so I need someone like you to help me want to go back in the classroom and teach. Keep blogging!

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    1. You're right, it has gotten tough! The support from blog world and knowing that I'm not the only one struggling on some days is exactly what gets me through those days. Judging by the wonderful comments I have received from everyone on this post, I KNOW that I am supported! Thank you for chiming in!

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  14. It's a tough thing. I feel like it's impossible to keep up with it all sometimes! I try to pick up ideas, but it's frustrating sometimes to feel like I'm competing and not getting much love. Know that I really enjoy reading your blog- and I need to work on commenting more to let people know that! You are a great teacher and I love the style of your writing :) hope you feel better soon!

    Jenny
    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

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    1. Ya know, I am a competitive person in real life (within reason, lol) but having to over exert myself in Blog Land just to get a few comments or followers is getting old. I try to post often so I can stay fresh in people's minds, but I am finding that it is just not often enough anymore! I appreciate all that you said!! Thanks for your support!!

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  15. I can definitely understand how you are feeling. I have been processing the same thoughts for the past few weeks. I have finally come to the conclusion that if I have to post freebies to get people to come to my site, they probably aren't reading my blog. So, I will write because I love it and for the 1 reader out there. LOL Thanks Mom! Hang in there! There are still many bloggers and readers out there who want to connect. It just takes time for them to find us. Hope you are having a fantastic day!
    Leah
    Learning 4 Keeps

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    1. Thank you, Leah!! It's nice to know that there are still people in this for the "right" reasons. And you're right--the freebie finders are probably not reading!! I will continue to write as well because I do love it and, as shown in all of these comments, I have a wonderful group of readers and friends that are heretofore support me. :)

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    2. Wow, I guess my phone autocorrected "here to" as "heretofore"--lol. That should say, "here to support me." :)

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  16. Janaye, I totally know how you're feeling. I just actually posted Thursday about how I'm going to use my blog for ME more than anyone else. I started it as a way to collaborate with others and to look around for various resources, but it's all becoming so overwhelming and a lot of people (like you said) seem to only be looking for resources and things. So, instead, I'm going to use it as a place for me to express my thoughts, do what I want to do, and so forth. And if no one stops by to look at it, oh well. At least it made me happy to do what I wanted to do and say what I wanted to say! Thank you for posting your feelings because you've said what I wanted to, but didn't have the guts to. Hang in there :)

    Sara
    Miss V's Busy Bees

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    1. Sara! I read everything you wrote and thought Yes! Imagine my surprise when it was a blogger I "knew". Blogland is like a giant high school. You'll have a few close friends and mostly be anonymous. I (like Sara) am blogging for myself. In real life, I like talking about teaching and sharing things I make for my classroom. Even if no one is listening. Blog life can be the same way. I just enjoy. It's easy to get caught up in the pressure. There have been times I did this summer. Instead, I'm just focus on the parts I like-I like writing about teaching, stuff I've made, technology, and blog design. As long as I have a few close friends, I don't mind going to a big high school. I am tired of the relentless store selling beeswax though. Guess in the high school analogy it would be the school fundraisers????

      Megan

      I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

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    2. Sara, thank you so much for your feedback! Well said! I realize through all of this that I need to remain focused on they WHY and brush off all of this other nonsense. (Of course, easier said than done!)

      Megan, going through high school again is not what I intended when I started blogging. At least with high school, there was an end in sight! Out here in blog, world, I have no idea when it will end--lol!

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  17. Thanks so much for sharing. I just started blogging this summer. After 3 daysof school, I started to wonder how people do it when it isn't summer. I found myself feeling bad tat I wasn't posting daily. Then, I sat myself down and gave myself a talking to: as a teacher, I put so much pressure on myself. I spent weeks getting my classroom ready and will never feel like it is enough. I could be there 24/7 and still feel like it isn't enough. It's a sad side effect of being dedicated and feeling responsible for my students and their future. But, I have to keep prioritizing and reminding myself that I am my worst critic. I need to ease up on myself. I realized I'm carrying that same self pressure into blogging and I need to just relax. I see people starting posts with apologies for posting to much or posting too little and I think that is all self pressure. I decided to give myself permission to do whatever I want without feeling guilty. The reality is we are all experiencing that weird mental transition from summer to school. I'm guessing I'm not the only one that is so exhausted before the first day of school even starts. We just have to remember that we are better teachers when we are rested and having fun. When we let ourselves be human. When I feel overwhelmed and pressured I have to remember to look at why and tell myself to give myself a break. The fact that evn one teacher listens to something I've said onablog, or one teacher does something I've suggested, or used something I've made means that having a blog made a small difference in the world. Now the rest is just a bonus.

    Mercedes
    Surfingtosuccess.blogspot.com

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    1. Mercedes said exactly what I was going to write! I also started blogging this summer and have put a lot of pressure on myself to try to keep up with everyone. As life gets busier with the start of the school year, I have realized that I am putting unrealistic expectations on myself. I am working on "letting go" :)

      Kate
      EduKate and Inspire

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    2. Mercedes, I so appreciate all that you said! You are so right on everything! I hate that I have to be such a perfectionist and, like you, am my worst critic. You're right, you have to keep the WHY in mind, whether that's WHY you are in your classroom (when getting caught up with decorating) or WHY you chose to be a blogger. Thanks for your wisdom! :)

      Kate, let me know how "letting go" works out for you because I SO need to do that too, lol!! I set very high expectations for myself and almost kill myself trying to reach them. So tired of doing that. Thanks for sharing!!! :)

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  18. I love how it says awesome annotations instead of comments :)
    I hear ya and I feel your frustration! I get the feeling that most of us who blog are by nature sharing creatures...however just as in real life it never feels good when people stop by only when they want something. Keep it up you and I are better teachers because of blogging.

    Amanda
    http://rockstarsatwork.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, Amanda!! You are SO right. I hate when people only come around when they need something but then I feel like I'm being selfish or rude as well to expect something in return. Man, being a good person is so stressful--lol, j/k. Thanks for throwing in your two cents!!! :)

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  19. You are so very wise, and I appreciate your words. You have nailed it on the head. The sad thing is, I used to blog about the trials and joys of my classroom. No one ever read those posts. Throw out some cutie product or design? BAM!! I loved writing about my teaching, my smiles and my broken hearts.

    As far as that newsletter goes, I'm not sure which one you are talking about, but there is one I'm thinking of that I SO wish would represent some of us lesser known bloggers. There is gold out there.

    Heather
    Peacocks & Penguins

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    1. Totally agree with it all, Heather!! (And it sounds like maybe we are talking about the same newsletter.... ;) ) Heading over to your neck of the woods!

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  20. Hi Janaye,

    Your feelings are completely valid. I love reading your blog and I value you as an educator. Your ideas have made their way into my classroom many, many times and because of your dedication and love of learning, you are helping so many teachers and students.

    I hope you feel better soon :)

    --jen

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    1. Thanks so much, Jen! You are too sweet!!! :)

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  21. Hi! I really enjoy your blog and I must say, I have to agree with a lot of what you said. I have not started a blog because I worry I will never get it up and going at the pace of others. I am a teacher because I love kids. I like sharing my ideas and I know I will not get on that list of weekly earnings.

    You are a dedicated teacher and parent. Do what is best for you. I believe we are all life long learners and reading your blog has reminded me that I too am only one person. Be who you are, not what others want you to be! Chin up and take care of yourself!

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    1. Thanks SO much, Jen!! I really appreciate your feedback. I am like you--I do it all because I love the kids and want to share with others! :)

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  22. Thank you, thank you, thank you! For your honesty, for saying things that so many of us are feeling, for having the guts to say something about that uber competitive newsletter...etc, etc, etc. I've been doing this blogging thing for a year and a half now, and I too feel that "one day you're in and the next you're out". I still read blogs, offer feedback, ask questions, etc. But there is a part of it that I just can't stand anymore. My classroom is for real kids, kids who need a stable, creative environment, not catalog kids who keep everything neat and tidy. Anyway...I could go on and rant and rant and rant. But I won't do that here. I just want to say, thank you for saying what you did. Thank you for your dedication to the teaching profession and to the blogging world. BTW....I think you and I are the only bloggers on the planet that have desks that aren't all the exact same height and color! LOL Keep doing what you do Girl!
    ☺ Tanya
    First Grade is Fantabulous!

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    1. Thank YOU, Tanya!!! I appreciate you being real. And I am so glad that you have also proclaimed your membership in the Mismatched Deck Club. I guess we won't be making it into the model student desk catalog. ;)

      Thanks again for your support! :)

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  23. To be honest, I'm a little naive to the blog world. I have found a handful of fourth grade blogs that I have interest in and that's it. I didn't know that bloggers even made money like that off what they do. I am truly grateful for your time to share as it has inspired me to do something different, even if I'm not taking your ideas. We all work hard and I can respect that!!

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    1. Thanks, Lindsey!! It's a dog eat dog world out here, lol! I appreciate your honesty and feedback :)

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  24. Janaye,
    I completely understand your thoughts. I have had many of them myself. I started blogging last summer and made some decisions early on about who I wanted to be as a blogger. I have way fewer followers than most blogs of a year, but that is fine with me because I only want people to follow me because they want to not because I will give them some reward. I do love TPT and have purchased many products from there. BUT it breaks my heart to read that soon there will be a teacher millionaires thanks to TPT. It breaks my heart because that money is coming from other teachers. That whole concept just seems to wrong to me. Teachers are giving up millions of dollars so that a few can become millionaires?!? Yet, I continue to purchase TPT products. IN fact, I have spent way more money on my classroom than ever because of blogs and Pinterest. I see things and believe that my classroom would be so much better if only I purchased these things. Yes, I am a gullible mark! Yet, I have indeed made my classroom a warmer, more inviting place.

    I guess we are at a point where we have to choose. We cannot keep up with every blog and every idea out there. Instead we have to choose which blogs to keep reading on a regular basis. Which blogs will we pick? For me, it will be the ones that allow me to connect with another teacher. The ones where teachers share ideas, but not items they are selling. I don't care about freebies, but I do care about ideas. ... and more than that I care about people. My favorite blogs are the ones where I feel like the blogger has become my friend because she shares from her heart. Blogs like yours Janaye.
    Take care and know you have many, many friends out in Bloggyland!
    Camille
    An Open Door

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    1. You are so right, Camille! It IS time to choose! I think I will do as you do as far as choosing blogs where connections are evident. Thanks for being such a supportive bloggy buddy!!! :)

      (And my classroom is also warmer and more inviting--which also means more expensive!)

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  25. WOW! I'm so very glad that you made this post. I only recently started a blog because I had been reading what so many fabulous educators were doing and it inspired me when I needed it. Please continue to write and talk about your classroom. One thing I have found is that people so often share all of the wonderful things they are doing or selling, but rarely share something they are having trouble with. As a new blogger it is tough to get the hang of this blog world. I appreciate your honesty, and it makes me realize how important it is to MAKE COMMENTS when you have something worthwhile to share.
    Thank you.
    Michele
    coffeecupsandlessonplans.blogspot.com

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    1. Seriously, we do need more "real" stories in blog land! We ALLLLLLL struggle with something, and what better way to support each other than by sharing and working through it together?? Thanks for coming by! :)

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  26. I have to agree, I have been blogging for awhile mostly for the staff at my school, and I decided to start promoting outside of my school simply to share and collaborate, but commenting is minimal on my blog as well. As teachers, we are constantly giving everyone else feedback, but we crave feedback ourselves. What do you think of having some type of solution to this problem? Perhaps there could be some type of Linky or a Webring, or something like that that people could belong to with some light rules that require commenting? That would get all of us who value that part of blogging to narrow down our field and begin collaborating again. I was part of a large forum of over 200 women several years ago, most of whom I never did meet, and that was an amazing network of women. I considered a good 50 of them my close friends. Over time, we drifted apart, but for 5 years I visited there daily because of the relationships I developed there. Stacey @ www.shootforthem00n.blogspot.com

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    1. I like the idea of starting a linky that has to do with commenting. I post a post on my blog one day for feedback from teachers on a conferring document I created. I valued and adapted my document based on the comments teachers made. That's what this is all about. At least what I think it is.
      Antoinette
      http://4321teach.blogspot.com/

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  27. Janaye, I love your blog! I have been following it for a while now and the thing that I love most about your blog is that you vary up your posts. It's not like other blogs where it's always something that they are selling. Just know that I appreciate you and I seriously have become a better teacher because I have followed your blog and started your math notebooks. Thanks for all that you do!
    Heather
    Loose Shoelaces

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  28. WOW!!! This post could have been written by me. I have actually been staying away from blogging because I was having the same feelings as you. It was depressing me and making me feel like I couldn't keep up with everyone else. I love collaborating with others and have made many great friends via blogging in just the few short months I have been on. Granted I have never met these people in real life, but I will talk to them every single day as if I have known them forever. I have been holding onto these friendships and have come to realize that if my blog never gets read or people only come for freebies then so be it. I have made friendships that mean more to me than any of that. I feel blogging should be about the collaboration and the friendships, but unfortunately it seems to becoming a case of competition and I don't like that. Hugs to you bloggy friend :)

    Heidi
    My (Not So) Elementary Life

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  29. Totally can relate to you! I wish blogs were more about collaborate and ideas rather than a way to advertise products people want to sell. It's okay to have a little bit of that but it gets old and I avoid visiting those types of blogs.

    I like teacher stories and ideas and that's how I have built my blog. Sometimes it is overwhelming to see how other people seem to be so on top of everything.

    Lindsay
    My Life as a Third Grade Teacher

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  30. As so many have already said, I totally feel ya sister! I started blogging last summer and wasn't able to keep up when school started. Then, I got back into things and it was like I was joining an alternate universe. I wrote a similar post awhile back called "Missing the Good Ole days." My RSS feed gets so backed up with promotions it is unreal. I try to scan but I know I probably miss some good stuff within that. I think Pinterest (as much as I love it) is part of the problem. So many of the teachers at my school are obsessed with pinterest and it's true...their rooms all look the same. *sad face* I recognized everything. What really made me sad was when I asked them where they got a free download and they shrugged and said they didn't know. I have found that I am still able to develop some connections and relationships with other bloggers through email (if they are not a no-reply blogger). That has helped and I notice that many of them keep coming back and keep commenting. I think maybe bloggers just develop circles of friends and while some of us might have huge circles, maybe some of us (like me) have smaller circles. Good luck to you! I noticed you read and commented on my blog a while back and I thank you! I'll be back to yours. I always try to comment when I read. I think that is just plan courtesy. :) Good luck and keep doing what you're doing.

    Amanda
    The Teaching Thief
    Missing Good Old Days

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    Replies
    1. Amanda, that's kind of funny b/c I just posted today that you can tell no one in my school paid attn to pintrest b/c they don't have birthday balloons or a teacher toolkit!!

      Deniece
      ThatNewCrayonSmell

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  31. Hi Janyae,
    I've just discovered your blog, and read your entire post. Even though I'm a "newer" blogger, I can sympathize with how your feeling! I feel so much pressure to create and stay up to date! Blogging is a wonderful outlet but can cause so much self-imposed pressure that sometimes...well I understand.
    On another note, I've just moved up from 2nd to 5th, and am happy to find another intermediate blogger! I'll need to reorganize my Google reader so that your posts don't get lost in the shuffle of all the primary blogs I was following.
    Happy Saturday!
    Laura
    Mrs. Castro's Class

    PS - I never read the infamous newsletter! What's the point?!

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  32. I love yiur blog! I just started reading teaching blogs this summer. I've never reallycommented because i thiught that was only for people who "knew" the blogger- i would really like a list of blog rules posted somewhere! Anyway i love your blog, plrase keep blogging!

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    1. I'd love a list as well! lol :)

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    2. Ditto...from a different perspective it seems many bloggers are BFFs with one another and the rest of us (non-bloggers) are just not in that clique.

      Delete
  33. I agree! I just started this whole crazy mess because I wanted to hear about how other people were doing things in their rooms, and be able to share ideas myself! But the bigger reason was to have a place to keep track of my own ideas for me! Your blog was my first favorite! I love your ideas! Just stay true to what you believe in and do it for you!

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  34. I agree! I never read the newsletters either. :) I also started my blog for the community aspect, and for sharing IDEAS. Most days I scroll past all the giveaways on my blogroll and try to seek out the posts with substance. Hang in there - we gotta stick together! :D

    Stephanie
    Maestra Bilingue

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  35. Janaye! I have at least 50 questions per day about teaching and if you want I can email you all the time!
    Love a struggling teacher with no guidance and support,
    Alicia Neal
    A_jones12@hotmail.com

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  36. I feel ya girl! Overwhelmed. I'm like Elizabeth, I need to like Jen's comment toooo! I feel like I only get a lot of comments if I'm giving away something.

    Well, I love your blog even if I don't always get to comment! My google reader has gotten out of hand! haha!

    Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher

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    1. Yes, Google Reader is b-a-n-a-n-a-s! Thanks for your input--and I really love your blog! :)

      Delete
  37. I so appreciate your honesty. I just discovered blogs and TPT this summer. At first, I was so excited about all of the information that was available. I am the only first grade teacher in a small private school so I was thrilled to learn from all of you bloggers. However, it gets so overwhelming and I have to walk away because I end up feeling inadequate. There is no way I can spend the money that it takes to decorate and do all of these activities in my classroom. I have a kid in college and one in high school. So just stay true to yourself and what you want from your blog and know that you have followers who won't always post (like me!)

    Lisa

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    1. Awww, thank you, Lisa! Like your situation, I was the only 4th grade math teacher at school so finding blog world and people who are like me was a godsend! I was actually able to collaborate with others who were in my same area! And yeah, money is not falling off of trees down here either. Decorating and maintaining a classroom has always been costly, but even more so now with blogging and pinterest.

      Delete
  38. I feel you, too.

    I am happy that my blog is essentially a scrapbook of what I do in my classroom, and that's what I want it to be! As a new teacher, I love getting ideas from other teachers so I can do a better job in my classroom. I don't have a lot of time (or money) to make freebies or huge units for sale. And I'm cool with it. :)

    Marvelous Multiagers!

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    1. Thanks for your honesty, Jill! I do like this digital classroom scrapbook I've got going here! :) (and love your blog!)

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  39. Replies
    1. Thank you, Kristen! I always love when you stop by! :)

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  40. I feel your pain! I tell myself all the time to stay true to myself. So I tell you to do the same..stay true to your self!

    Kathy
    First Grade a la Carte

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    1. Thank you so much, Kathy! Your blog is definitely a fave! :)

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  41. I agree with the previous poster, Lisa. When I see all of these amazing rooms, I am completely jealous & overwhelmed! I know mine will not look anything like them.

    I use blogs/pintrest to get ideas. I've been teaching for almost 10yrs and I still need ideas!!! I need help with everything from routines and organization to anchor charts and assessment.

    ThatNewCrayonSmell

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    1. Man, all of these perfect classrooms are c-r-a-z-y! I try to look like that but then reality sets in. ;) Thanks for your comments!

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  42. I am so glad you made this post. From all the comments above I think you have said many things others have been feeling too. I recently started blogging more and not just be a blog stalker. Lots of times we want to share only the good, but that does not really reflect who we are. Thank you!
    Diane

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    1. You are so right, Diane! Thanks for your wisdom--time to be who we really are! :)

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  43. I rarely comment (just read), but... thanks for posting this! I started reading blogs several months ago and even recently started my own, but unfortunately I think I jumped on the bandwagon right before everything started to be about products and decorating. I mean... fonts, color-coding, pendants, craftivities, etc, etc, etc... I just look at all of this and think, second-graders are not going to care about this, at all! If the teacher likes to do it and wants to put in the effort, fine, but I don't think it's all about the kids. I don't really feel inadequate (don't have my own classroom yet, though), I tend to wonder more about why teachers sell prettied-up worksheets and pick out room themes... do we really think it's making teaching better, somehow?

    Good luck to you. I also love reading your blog, for many of the same reasons listed above!

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    1. You are SOOOO right--the kids, oftentimes, don't even notice all of the cuteness!! Lol, yet we do it anyway...thanks so much for your take!

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  44. I just started following blogs this summer, and I haven't commented much even though I read the daily. I never thought about how important it would be for you to get feedback! After reading your post, I have decided to comment more often! I sincerely appreciate you sharing your ideas and TIME with us. I always feel I have things to share, but I do t have the time ( or knowledge of how to blog) to do so. I hope all of these posts make you and your feelings more validated! Thank you, again!

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    1. Awww, thank you! And I hope you don't feel obligated to comment because that was not my intent! It's just nice when you know someone out there, like you, cares! :)

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  45. Thanks for being so honest. I feel it's important for all of us to hear this. I definitely need to comment more often. I started a new job this year where I am an instructional resource to teachers grades K-5. I want my blog to be a place where my teachers can go to get great ideas and resources. Where hopefully, I can make their lives a little easier. I find myself trying to find ways to get more comments and page views which ends up quite disappointing sometimes. I was drawn to your post for a reason; to remind me of what my blog is truly suppose to be- an instructional resource to fellow teachers.
    Thank you :)
    Antoinette

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    1. Hi Antoinette,

      Thanks so much for your feedback! It's a good idea to reflect upon why any of us choose to be a part of this world. Losing focus is something that happens to all of us (this has become quite evident based on a lot of these comments) so having each other's backs will help get us all through it! :)

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  46. Sorry you're feeling frustrated. I read it as time is the biggest issue. You're spending a lot of time on the blog and not getting back what you should. At the same time, you're not spending as much time as you would like with your family or doing things for yourself and your classroom/home.

    I'm not a blogger. I changed grade levels for next year and started following a few blogs to sort of figure out what goes on in the new grade level. They have been helpful for that. I feel much more prepared now for the new kids. You've been a big part of helping with that adjustment, and I thank you for that. :) So, I guess I've been one of the people just taking without giving. I'm sorry. I never meant for it to be that. For me, it was more like walking into a conversation and not wanting to interrupt, so I didn't comment. I totally misunderstood your side of it, so thanks for putting that straight.

    At the same time, as a newcomer to the blogger world, I've been absolutely stumped by where people find the time to write the blogs, make the cute decorations, design the adorable, graphics-intensive materials, and still do their "real life" things of teaching and being part of their families. I'm barely holding it together just as a "stalker." I do not have a blog of my own and have no idea how I would find the time or energy. I'm very grateful you and so many others manage to do it! I just know it's not for me.

    That said, the way you described your situation and your feelings right now is usually the way I feel when it's getting time to change some things. For me, overwhelm is always a sign (huge, flashing, brightly-colored sign!) to take a step back and refocus. What's the most important? What does there HAVE to be time for? What can be let go? (That last one is the hardest one sometimes.) What you're doing with your blog is wonderful and helpful to a lot of people, but if you need more time with your family and more time for your crafts --- take it! Is there a blogger rule that says you have to post every day? I love your posts, but if they only came two or three times a week because you were spending more time with your family or more time making crafts that you really want to do, I would understand. I would, actually, feel better about it because I would know you were balancing your life and feeling more content. In the end, you have to spend your time as you see fit, so you can accomplish the greatest good for yourself and your family. We all do.

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  47. Here is the definition of irony:

    Skipping reading every comment on this thread about being too busy to read blogs because I'm too busy to read blogs!

    I totally understand your feelings; most especially the ones about people posting their profits on their blog. Am I happy for them? Of course! Am I wondering what the heck I'm doing wrong when I posted a freebie that has (at last count a week ago) gotten over 7,000 downloads and yet I have had FOUR sales for an extension product? Yes. It certainly makes you scratch your head.

    No one goes into teaching for the money, but when you see an opportunity to make a little cash (for some of us VERY little cash-ha!) by sharing something that you would have already shared for free, it's something you naturally seize upon. However, it's become less like sharing and more like a cutthroat business nowadays. I can't even log onto Facebook without seeing people advertising their items while I look at my $4 profit and shake my head.

    So, what I'm saying is, I think most of us feel your pain. AND, in case it hasn't already been said, I believe wholeheartedly that people read and enjoy your posts (even when there's no "freebie" to go with them) even if they don't have the time to reply to what you've shared. When we get feedback, we're just like our students; so happy that what we did was in some small way recognized and appreciated. But a lack of feedback in blog world usually means not enough time (again-irony) instead of not enough interest.

    Hang in there and please keep your posts coming-us subscribers really truly want to see what's on your mind even if we don't say so out loud....so to speak! :-)

    Cindy

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  48. Hugs! Chin up! Love your thoughts, makes me feel sane. As teachers, we need to support each other...it's a tough job. We love what we do, but many people do not understand what it takes to do it.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Darcy! It is nice to know that the boat is not empty! :)

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  49. Dear Janaye,

    I just wanted you to know that I faithfully read every blog you post. I subscribe by email and I get so excited when I see you've posted something new to read. I do read teacher blogs and when I find one I like, I go back to their first post and read everything they've ever posted. Your blog is by far one of my favorites and I feel like I've learned a lot from you and I hope I'm half the math teacher you are someday. I say someday because I'm still in school, with one year left. I student teach in the Spring. This is the reason that I don't comment often because I worry that I don't have as much to contribute because I'm just a student, but I just wanted you to know how much I love your blog and that I definitely read every word!!!

    Amy

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  50. Janaye,
    I don't have a blog and I can't keep up with all of the stuff. You're right about not having time and then feeling guilty because you didn't do this or that...yours was one of the first blogs I subscribed to because you teach the same grade I do. I taught 2nd grade for 12 years and then moved to 4th. I love all of your ideas, your musings and just the daily tidbits you leave.
    I think you're wonderful and extremely talented. Please continue doing the things YOU love regardless of what everyone else is doing. You are helping to change teaching whether you realize it or not. I'm happy to say I'm a bloggy friend of yours :)

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  51. I totally understand how you feel. I also agree that I have NO IDEA how some teachers find time to create a new product every week. I sell on TpT, and it has been a blessing, but it can also consume every part of you if you let it. I had to stop this summer and just tell people that were requesting things that it would have to wait. I was spending all my time on creating things that it became a chore for me. Not to mention the fact that my poor babies were suffering from it. I quickly realized, and hope others understood, that my family is number one. I love blogging and reading what others do in their classrooms, but it seems that it has become a part-time job.... and I don't like that one bit! I love my customers on TpT, and I am SO thankful for the opportunities that TpT has given me, but I feel as though some are just wanting to TAKE, TAKE, TAKE! When are you going to do this... I've been waiting too long.. I need this done. I can't take it anymore! I've been afraid to speak out because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but I'm at the point of frustration. I am not a product-making robot. I am a wife, mother, and teacher. Maybe I have done this to myself and it's my fault. Sorry for the long comment, I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone, and the feelings you have are probably those that many have.

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  52. You were one of the first blogs I found, and I read your posts via email subscription. Thanks for the reminder that it is good to post and share ideas in comments. I often nod my head in agreement or jot down notes, but don't always take the time to publicly comment.

    I have tried to start blogging, but can't seem to commit the time. Yet. Wonderful teachers like you have been my inspiration. Thanks for all you do and share.

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  53. Thank you for your dedication to the profession and the online community. When I started blogging, I knew it was for me. There were so many other great blogs out there that I knew entering in the game "late," meant my fan base would be low. At that moment, I decided to go full steam ahead for ME. I am so glad to hear that there are others out there that despise all the "Freebies" and "TPT/TN" sales, etc. I may have a freebie for hitting a milestone, but my posts are about my thoughts and feelings in education. That is the exact same with you! The reflecting aspect of blogging is the reason my teaching gets better and better. Following other bloggers out there with my same desire and focus is helpful and inspiring. I'm happy for those people who sell great educational materials, but that's not me. Nor you. I advise you to remain passionate and let the blog tell the story of your journey. At the end of the day, if you are the only one reading it..who cares?! (even though I know you have lots of devoted fans!) So, hang in there. Be true to yourself and the reason you started blogging. Its quality not quantity sister!! :)

    Always A Lesson

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  54. I get overwhelmed too with my blog, my collab blog, Pinterest, and my two teacher stores. I'm just trying to find a delicate balance, especially when school starts back. Whether it's pre-scheduling blog posts or only a few times a week, I think that might help me. My Google Reader is flooded every day, that's for sure. I love that there are new bloggers, for there are new ideas that come with it too. I do stick by my 'old' bloggy buddies but accept new ones too. I've recently tried to redirect my blog posts to be more about my content and not all about my materials. Just stick to what you do my friend! You'll always have your readers and fans that come back to read your blog, including me :)
    Journey of a Substitute Teacher
    Endless Pinabilitites!

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  55. When I changed grade levels to fourth last year you blog helped me get through it. I can see that all of those times I said great idea to myself, it would have been neat to actually comment. Now I am sad that you are changing grade levels but wish you a great year! I will still be a boggy friend.

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  56. OMGoodness!!! Someone who feels the same way I do! I've been blogging for about a year, and I used to get stressed about how many followers I have. I've since realized that I can't keep freaking out about how many people are following. I do wish that more people would comment. Sometimes it does feel like I'm talking to a wall and it makes me wonder whether it's worth it. But then I'll get a sweet comment from a follower that just warms my heart and it keeps me going. I also agree with you about the popular teacher-made product site. While I am very happy for the teachers who have made money there (and I think it would be nice to make some money), I think that teaching should be collaborative. My husband and I went through some rough financial times a couple of years ago (eventually filing bankruptcy) and I remember looking at things and thinking, "I'd really love to use that in my classroom, but I just don't have the money." We have since recovered financially, but I have vowed never to charge any teacher for anything I create. I do have a "store" on that site, but everything is free. Hopefully, people will read your post and remember the reason they got into blogging in the first place - to connect and collaborate with other teachers. Thank you!
    Teachin' First

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  57. I understand how u fell and often feel that way too. I too am getting less comments and less comments that even allow for anything more than thanks for taking the time to comment in reply. However, I am just as guilty of not leaving comments because I am so ar behind in my reader that I am just taking a quick look and the moving on. Often I read thing smile , pin, and move on. I am hoping others are doing the same for my blog, but I am not sure. So I am making more of an effort to make comments hoping what goes around will come around.

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  58. good for you, saying out loud what we have all been thinking. i just started my teaching blog, but have another private blog for years. i get the your in your out thing. also, i agree about that site reporting earnings. kind of nuts.

    come check out my new blog design. love new visitors.

    Melissa
    Pre-Schooler Daze

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  59. I totally, totally, totally feel you and obviously so do 100 others! I love blogging and I love the blogging community and just like anything you're passionate about, it's not going to come easily! I totally feel the same way about that newsletter. It's like the rich keep getting richer! But all I can do is be motivated by it and know that I have no one to compete with except myself. And not that you need one more thing to obsess over, but if you want to join our teacher's facebook page I will add you. I feel like I'm able to build a relationship with my fellow bloggers in that group like I used to be able to through blogging. I hope you are feeling better :)

    Hadar

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  60. I am so impressed by your honesty! I can definitely understand about balance and time. With school starting back up, family and friends, working on my Master's degree, and blogging it is often very overwhelming.

    The best I can be is the best me and that it what I try to be. Thank you for sharing your heart with us! I hope you feel loved by all of these fellow bloggers. Your blog is wonderful! :)

    Rachel
    A-B-Seymour

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  61. I luv luv luv teacher blogs...I go to them all the time for advice, ideas, for laughs, & to see that there are other teachers out there just like me. Because of how busy I am I cannot always comment, but I do appreciate all of your efforts & your hard work. Thank you for being a dedicated educator.

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  62. Amen and well said!! I agree whole heartedly!!
    I only post things I make for my own class as I refuse to spend time creating things just to create them...
    Good for you.
    Beth
    Thinking of Teaching

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  63. You know it's funny you post this now! I have been reading teacher blogs for about a year and a half now (and as a re-entering first year teacher after a 10 year mommy break, lol) blogs were invaluable to me last year. I felt like I could quickly catch up on how education had changed in the years since I graduated and then left education to become a SAHM. I admit, I do snag the freebies (private school educator making less than 20K, how can I not??) but I also buy many things from TpT and TN.

    I wanted to learn how to make my own stuff to sell on TpT, but when the heck do people find time to create all that stuff??

    I've wanted to start my own blog because I love writing. Many times after I've created an awesome bulletin board or finished a fun unit, I think to myself "I need to share that with..." oh wait a minute, I don't have a blog, I can't share it! :) I have no clue how to do the freebies, the "linky parties", etc, so I just give up on the idea of a blog.

    I'm glad you spoke from the heart, and sad that blogging has become yet another competition between women. What is it about our inherent nature that makes us want to compete with each other and be "better"?? I hope you stick around as I enjoy reading your ideas. Kudos to you for sharing your heart! :)

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  64. I just sat here and read almost all 100 comments and now I can't think of anything else to say that hasn't been said already! I COMPLETELY agree with you and honestly, thank you so much for writing that. Teachers tend to put so much pressure on themselves already and blogging/pinterest is a self-induced additional stressor. I'll keep this short and sweet - but thanks again for your honesty :)

    - Sasha
    The Autism Helper

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  65. I too have just read all these comments after coming over from another blog. I only realised that there were so many teacher blogs out there this summer round about the same time as i discovered Pinterest! I think the problem is people are so busy, see an idea on Pinterest, look for that idea on the blog and then leave. I sometimes leave a comment, but not having a blog myself I worry i look like some creepy stalker! I can see how others think classrooms end up looking similar. Here in the UK there is a website called sparklebox and I vowed to never use it again after seeing everyone else using the same (everything is in the same font so it was obvious where the resources were from). I feel much happier creating my own stuff and have been able to do this a little more thanks to some kind bloggers who posted 'how to' videos on their blogs. TPT is somewhere where I've bought a few things, but all too often things are very "American" and wouldn't work in my room due to terminology / Americanised spellings. so I set out trying to make my own stuff for my own use which is perfect for my classroom. As others have pointed out, it's all about balance - if you only want to post weekly, go ahead, I'm sure that your regular followers will be just as happy with that. the long and the short of it, i promise to not read and run any more! Keep up the good work.

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  66. Janaye -

    Completely totally agree. I know that I feel so much pressure to make things, make freebies, earn money, add followers, blah blah blah... There are simply so many blogs and people and I feel like I just give up. I do my best to pop into the blogs and the people that I like and all the others I'm just leaving off my list!

    I don't look at the earners list on those selling websites. It would depressing because I know I make pennies compared to the majority of people.

    Ultimately - you're awesome. I love your blog and what you post!

    Lauren
    Life in Middle School

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  67. Thank you for saying what we have all been thinking.

    I absolutely can't keep up with my blog roll anymore.

    Casey
    Second Grade Math Maniac

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  68. Your post was such an important one for everyone to read. I found myself nodding my head as I read your post. It is so challenging to keep up with so many blogs and thoughtfully comment and collaborate, while supporting a variety of teachers (all whilst teaching our own kiddies). I truly enjoy reading your blog. I don't always comment, but am trying to work on that. I know how meaningful it is to me. Especially when you can have a dialogue with your fellow teachers. Thank you for all that you do!!

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    1. Awww, thank you! I appreciate all you said! :)

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  69. Wow, I have also felt that way at times. I love how you articulated it.

    The Paper Maid

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  70. Wow! What a fantastic and honest post! You really hit the nail on the head. I was just talking to someone about how most people don't comment. My most high traffic posts are "FREEBIES". I like freebies too, but VERY few people stay long enough to say thank you. In the past, I left a popular all freebie site (as an author) because I felt pressured to post more freebies. I felt a bit used and didn't like it. At the end of the day...it is about my family:) I may not always post as often as I "should". But then again, where did the rules for blogging originate?

    I adore you, this post and your blog!

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    1. Thank you SOOO much, Annie!! I just love your blog and your products--fantastic stuff. And you're right about blogging rules, lol. I feel like there should be some, but REALLY--that's just not gonna happen and is totally unrealistic. I guess you just set your own standards and hold yourself accountable to them! :)

      Thanks for coming by!!

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  71. Oh thank heavens I am not the only one who is annoyed to hear about the teachers that make 100,000 selling their ideas on that certain website. I would love to make enough to send my daughters to college, but how in the world could they find the time to create and post that many activities and STILL have a family life, happy husband, full time job in 1st grade, personal hobbies, second job as a high school cheer coach, pay the bills, keep the garden watered, help the husband chop wood for the winter, keep a clean house and cook dinner.

    Oh wait, if I earned $100,000 I would have a maid to do at least two of the 20 things I do on a daily basis! Ugh, wish there were 30 hours in a day? Yeah, me too! Love your blog though. I will be hopping by again soon :) My teacher blog is in the fledgling status. I have another one though on our Life in IDaho that I have been doing for awhile now.

    I love blogging...I was the eternal journal and letter writer growing up...just a new way to express myself. Funny though as a kid you worked hard to keep your journal from being read by anyone. Now you work hard to have everyone read it! lol

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  72. This is my first time visiting your blog. I found it via a link posted in another blog that gave you credit for an idea she is sharing with the world.

    As someone on the outside looking in, I want to say, "Thank you."

    Your post has reminded me that, as a reader, I need to keep up my end of the deal. I need to show my appreciation for the time, effort, and expertise that are being shared so the rest of us can learn in this ever-changing profession.

    Once again, thank you.

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  73. I am new to blogging, and I do find it overwhelming to keep up with everything. I really want my blog to be a journal of my teaching and ideas, how I have grown, and how I can become a better teacher. I love visiting awesome blogs like yourselves, because I have found sooooooo many wonderful ways to spruce up my teaching, make it more interesting and motivating, making it more rigorous, and helping my kids love learning. So from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU, for helping me do just that. I visit often to "borrow" your ideas, and I will also remember to comment more often.
    You make a BIG difference, and my teaching is better for you coming into my teaching journey.

    Thanks a bunch!

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  74. I came back to read this again because I'm feeling it hard right about now :(

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