I’ve been blogging for less than a year; I’d like to think I’ve learned a couple of things during that time. One thing that has jumped out at me is the similarity between my former life (teaching), and one of my newer pursuits (writing). Both endeavors are primarily individual pursuits, and yet the support of others around us is the fuel that keeps our engines going.
When I came out of college, I was only partially ready for all of the challenges that awaited me in the classroom. I had certain advantages that many others did not, having worked as a teacher’s aide for several years. While many of my teacher prep classes focused on learning theory, the best education took place through my practical experiences in elementary classrooms.
When I was starting my teaching career, I learned that many educators were willing to take the time to help. I shouldn’t have been surprised—teachers teach. The false assumption I made was that they only taught their students, when, in fact, their influence went far beyond their pupils.
Part of a teacher’s role is educating parents by giving them tips on how best they can support their children’s learning. Another area that most teachers embrace is a willingness to help each other. I discovered that many experienced teachers were more than willing to answer my questions, suggest curricula, offer advice, and share their own experiences. Practically every teacher has those moments when a lesson flops, or you struggle with individual students. It is only natural when you are starting to question your ability. (Does this sound familiar, writers?) There is nothing quite as reassuring as when we learn the best teachers had similar feelings.
There are random days during the school year when nothing seems to go right, but inexplicably, everything may work the following day. You go home scratching your head, wondering, what did I do different today? The reality is things happen with your students that have nothing to do with you. I taught kids who worried where they were going to sleep that night or had parents in and out of jail. How can those things not affect how a child is feeling and their ability to learn?
When I retired from teaching, I walked away, feeling that I wanted to give back to a profession that had been so good to me. I felt a responsibility to support the next generation of teachers. That was the primary reason I wrote a book. https://www.amazon.com/Pete-Springer/e/B07ZYDPJ3R/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0. I hoped that I could pass on some of the things I learned to help others.
Since I began blogging nine months ago, I’ve watched the same phenomenon in the writing world. There is a whole community of writers/bloggers who are willing to share their expertise and experiences so that newbies like me can learn.
My writing critique group (John, Dave, Nancy, Jeanne, and Wanda) has taught me so much. They are all more experienced and better writers than me, and yet with their support and wisdom, I can see myself improving. That feels great! As with any endeavor, we should try to enjoy the journey as much as the result.
I have met many bloggers in the last year who are equally supportive. I hesitate to start mentioning names because I know that I will leave someone out and then feel bad for not recognizing them. I do have to make mention of one particular blogger, Sally Cronin, and her outstanding blog, Smorgasbord Blog Magazine. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/
Sally is one of those people who I would describe as an ambassador to her fellow bloggers/writers. She puts out a fantastic daily blog and has been doing so for over five years. The Smorgasbord is the perfect name because there is a little something for everyone. I won’t list all of the individual columns and people Sally works with, but they are part of her terrific content and community. Her greatest gift is she faithfully promotes other writers/bloggers in her column. I know many, like me, admire her tireless energy, willingness to help others, and general kindness. Not only is Sally an excellent writer, but she is one of those organized people with seemingly a million irons in the fire.
Many of the people I’ve met in the last several months in the writing community are because of Sally’s blog. It may seem like I’m exaggerating for effect—let me assure you I am not. I do not think there has been a day in the last six months when I haven’t thanked her for something. Rest assured, Sally, I will continue to ask questions and seek guidance—you’re not getting rid of me that easily. Thank you for all that you do.