Monday, January 7, 2013

A Bloggy Heart

I am not here today to share with you expert advice or wonderful bloggy tips. To be honest, I still do not really know what I am doing after reading the blog posts from Erica and Christina. When I read those posts, my brain was saying RUH ROH....and then I felt like throwing up!!!! We will get to my mistakes in another post. =)

Here is where I think problems are coming from...just my little ol' opinion, so please keep that in mind. =)

99% of us are here because we love our job and want to do what is best for our kiddos. We then hope that we can somehow touch someone else and help them out too.

For many of us, blogging is fun but also scary. Put us in a room full of little kiddos and we are at ease. Put us in a room of peers and colleagues that we think might be judging us and it is almost like high school all over again. A 6 year old will be honest and tell you that you look pregnant or that your hair looks weird BUT at the end of the day that still love you and think you hung the moon.

As new blogs pop up on the radar every day and new and creative activities are added to TpT stores hourly, we can start to see things as a competition. It is easy to have our focus shift and we sometimes forget why we started blogging. Everyone has their reasons and I think it is good to remind ourselves of that often.

I think when we blog about what is happening in our classrooms we often feel vulnerable because our classroom is where our heart is. Inviting someone to come in and take a peek around is what we do each time we share a blog post. I am not sure about you but I HATE having people come watch me teach. I know I am VERY hard on myself and then I start worrying about what others think...we are talking about passing out, ulcers, and vomit!!! I need to consider hanging this at home and in my classroom. =)


For a long time, I was scared to show my heart when I blogged. I played it safe by sharing *freebies*. Although *freebies* are great, I know that is not what I work to bring and put into my classroom each day. I know I will never be the blog that shares cute anchor charts. I'll leave that to Cara and Abby...and many more other fabulous artists. =)

I had to stop and ask myself Why am I blogging? How do I want God to use my blog? and What glimpses of my heart can I share?

I started thinking of my blog as a heart map. What are the parts about my classroom and teaching that I love the most?


I think when you find those parts you are ready to take that risk and vulnerability...you start blogging from the heart. We fall in love with the funny hearts, the creative hearts, the crafty hearts, the inspiring hearts, the smorgasbord hearts....there are all kinds of bloggy hearts out there. Be courageous and share YOUR heart.

Think of this with all people God brings into your life...


I am honored and humbled each time you stop by. 
I am blessed and touched by each heart note that you leave.

God has put YOU where He needs you.


From My Heart to Yours,

85 heart notes:

Tami R. said...

WOW! That really spoke to my heart. I know exactly what you mean....except for people observing my class I have people coming through all the time..get used to it. But people judging...critiquing your every move it quite scary at times. But knowing that everyday I go to work if I touch just one life...It was worth going to school. I love my students and want to see each one of them blossom into beautiful butterflies. Thanks for the post. I needed that! :)

The Connected Teacher said...

I love how heart felt your post is and so accurate as to how many of us blogging teachers feel! I'm not even supposed to be online, let alone on my blog feed (I have a big project I'm working on)- but so glad I did! You're post was the one on top :) Thanks for sharing your sweet words! Your kiddos are so lucky to have you and so is the blogging world :)
The Connected Teacher

Lois Lamb said...

Oh my gosh, Heather,
I feel the exact same way about people watching me. I could have written this post. It does feel like high school all over again! Put in front of Kinders, and it is "the more the merrier". But a group of collegues, or worse yet, parents, and I have heart palpatations.
Thanks you for great post! :)

Michele said...

Thank you, Heather. Your kind words always make me feel better. I read their blogs, before I read yours, and being a new blogger I worried, "Had I broken the rules?" And yes, I had a knot in my stomach and wondered if maybe blogging wasn't a good idea after all. Blogging had made me feel good and now I feel bad. I'm still learning I admit it, and I've made mistakes (I'm sure many!), but what I need is support and mentoring (like I've gotten from you and several others like you), not judgment. Thanks, Heather, for loving and accepting me as the beginner I am, and making me feel O.K. again.
Michele
The Lightbulb Lab

Erin Morrison said...

Heather, this post really touched me! As a fairly new blogger, I am always so nervous to hit "publish" after I get done writing a new post. I worry about what others will think just like you mentioned. Your post reminded me to just speak from my heart and be courageous. Thank you!

Erin
The Open Door Classroom

FunintheFours said...

Thanks Heather - you're right. It's awfully easy to forget why we started blogging in the first place. I stepped back last week and re-assessed everything - TpT, followers etc. and decided it wasn't important enough to me to stress over. Blogging I love - I have learned so much from so many inspiring people (you being one of them :) and my kiddies at school are benefiting tremendously from my renewed enthusiasm and commitment. My blog may never be one of the ones that have tons of followers but it's mine and it reflects me. I'm with you on evaluations and people watching - you can get used to it but it's still stressful :) Thank you for your honesty in your writing - and for your openness about your faith. It helps me so much in my own walk with God :)
Lynn

JRose said...

Thank you so much for this post. I've been feeling the same way lately and it's nice to know I'm not alone!

All Things Kindergarten

Shelly Sitz said...

Thanks for the wonderful post! I started blogging
this summer and hope I haven't made too many
mistakes on the way. I am a new blogger and like
to share my ideas with others.

Shelly
Smiling and Shining in Second Grade

Jenn Long said...

I really needed this post tonight...I'm right there with you! I especially like your last image/quote, "Do what you can with what you have where you are." I need this posted somewhere in my classroom...winter benchmark testing and district assessments have started this week and my kids are falling apart on me!
Thanks for giving me something to think about!
Jenn

A Pirates Life for Us

Mrs. Lindsey said...

Thank you for this post, Heather. This is exactly how I have been feeling lately.

Lindsey
Lovin’ Kindergarten

Mrs. Wathen said...

Heather,
Thanks for sharing your heart and thoughts with us. I love how real you are and how you put things into perspective.

Tammy
The Resourceful Apple

Sarah said...

Wonderful post like always Heather. I love that verse from Matthew. I am the worst about worrying. I feel like I need to print this and post it everywhere. I hope you would let me into your classroom! I would love to observe.

Yeehaw! Teaching in Texas

Deedee Wills said...

I always love your sweet heart Heather! I worry about EVERYthing! I guess that is the nature of a teacher.

Sarah Kieffer said...

After reading many of your posts, I believe your blog is the most aptly named. Your heart comes across in all of your posts. Thanks for the reassurance in what I am doing. I am always nervous to publish any new post, but it looks like I am not the only one.
Thanks for the encouragement.
Sarah
Primarily Ausome

Erica Bohrer said...

Awe, Heather! I don't want you to feel bad. My post was not aimed at you. My post was for me to have a copy and paste for all the people who email me asking for advice and how to set up a store and make products. People think this is a get rich quick scheme and want to know why I have been successful. It definitely is not easy. I also don't want people to feel bad for not having instant success. It takes time and patience. You don't know how many emails I have gotten from people who have been blogging for only a month and they are frustrated with their lack of instant success.

You blog for you! Nobody is saying you have to have so many followers or sell a certain amount. You do what works for you and makes you happy. You are a kind, generous person. Don't lose your focus.

Amy said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE! Thanks for opening your heart and sharing what most of us are thinking on a daily basis.

All the best,
Amy
Turtley Loving Teaching

Kim said...

Hi Heather,
I must admit I feel the same way as Michele at Lightbulb Lab. I am JUST starting out. I am TRYING to figure out how to blog and share after being a viewer for almost a year. I WANTED to give back. I was asking for people to stop by wanting feedback and comments and encouragment (and have found it with a couple of sweet bloggers like you) but to read these posts, it just makes me sad. Like I said, I just wanted to give ideas back. We all have something different to share and different ways to share it. Isn't there room for all of us in this? I was SO excited to start my blog and even more excited when I started gaining followers and getting to know people through this, slowly yes, I have a lot to learn. To me, I do not see anything wrong with saying or having someone say hey, stop by my blog if you have a minute! HOW else am I going to know about these blogs?? I didn't know people wouldn't see my comments back to them on my blog UNLESS they check back. I don't know how to see everyone's blog, except on google reader where you can't comment! Aren't we all supposed to be in it for the kids? Your sweet heart and words have again touched me. Thank you Heather for everything, your lovely blog, your faith and your sweet words of encouragement.
Kim
TheVeryBusyFirstGraders

Kim said...

One more thing....everyone needs to remember they were once the new kid on the blog..... :)
Kim

Brandi said...

I am encouraged by your post Heather! I always enjoy reading what you have to say. Your posts are so genuine and I think you are my go-to bloggy friend for heartfelt opinions. I now think of you as the "heartful heart" blog! I am also encouraged by Erin's comment in response to you. I know I have made mistakes, but if someone is unwilling to give me (my blog, products, stores) a chance because of a etiquette snafu, I say,I don't need them:) I don't think you do either. You have so much going for you! Keep writing, I will keep reading:)

Brandi
My Teacher Friend

Amy Howbert said...

Your words came at a perfectly timed moment. Thank you, I needed this, more than you know!

Amy Howbert
Little Miss Organized
amyhowbert1@gmail.com

Miss Schinke's First Grade Blog said...

Beautiful Heather! Thank you for this touching note.
God is truly at work through you. :)
Blessings,
Brittany
www.keepingupwithfirstgrade.blogspot.com



Briawna said...

I just wanted to let you know that I *heart* reading your blog! I love to read about your heart for your students because it exactly mirrors mine. You are always more concerned about your students well-being than anything else as we all should be. I love it! Thank you for being so open and honest and truly striving to do what God wants you to do.
<3 Briawna

Georgia Grown Kinders said...

This is wonderful. I feel inspired and focused after I read your post. I am so thankful to God that He put you in my path. I appreciate all your help you have given me in starting up my blog. Thank you so much for the help. I am looking forward to watching or friendship grow!
Valerie
Georgia Grown Kinders

Sara said...

I love reading your blog! I keep thinking I may want to start one, but it's on hold for now. I do come to your blog a lot and am always encouraged. Now that I've finally figured out how to leave comments with my work computer, I'll do it more often. Turns out, I just needed to sign out of my school google account.

Mrs. Sheehan said...

Thank you for reminding us of the reason why we started doing this to begin with:) I honestly just started because I wanted to document what I have been doing and to use that as a time to reflect. The rest of the positive were icing on the cake:) I never even thought I would have one follower to begin with.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Learning In Wonderland

Gladys said...

You are such a sweetheart, Heather. Thank you for speaking from the heart. :)

Miss Nelson said...

What a wonderful post. I'm such a worry wart. I'm trying to worry less in the new year.

Vanessa said...

Heather, took the words out of my mouth. I'm so touched by your post, its crazy. I completely understand you.

Miss Squirrels said...

Great Post, Heather! You should consider adjusting your name to
Heather's (Big) Heart! :)
kidding- we all love you too much the way you are for you to change:)

Squirrels

Going Nutty!

misssquirrels@yahoo.com

Little Miss Primary said...

Oh sweet Heather! This is very well said. Thank you for your faithfulness and vulnerability! I appreciate you and LOVE keeping up with you through your blog.

Erin
Little Miss Primary

Mrs. M said...

You really hit this right on the money. Thank- you for this post. You are an amazing person with a BIG heart :D

Edana

Holly said...

Heather,
I think you healed a lot some hearts with your post. Thank you for that...I VIVIDLY remember being new at this whole gig...and I still make mistakes. I know your post would have put me at ease.

You rock, chicky!!!!!

Holly
Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

Mary Ellen said...

Heather, I first want to apologize for not commenting on your posts more often. I'm usually reading them when I should be getting ready for my classroom day. I also wanted to say I love your blog. I don't sell anything (although I purchase a great deal lol). I found your blog because of a freebie you were doing but I subscribed and read every word because of how inspirational you are. You remind me why I teach and how to love these precious little's . I skip a great deal of blogs daily in my feed, but I always make time to read yours. Thank you so much for what you do...ALL of it. You are an amazing blessing to me and I thank God for you.

Chantelle Jacobs said...

Heather I felt like you were describing ME as I was reading your post!!!!!

As you know I am very new to blogging (you were my first follower :) So for me - it is a MASSIVE step out of my comfort zone. I am opening up myself to be judged and I feel quite vulnerable in doing so. - So much, that I have only told 1 work colleague about my blog and only a handful of people who are close to me about my new hobby.

I will take on advice from others when I blog and comment as I do agree with what they have said and can see how it can become annoying. And yes you are right, we have to remember why we began this journey in the first place. For me it was to reflect on my own teaching practice as well as an opportunity to share some of the things I implement in my classroom and learn from others.

So far, I am on the right track to achieving that goal and have made some new online teacher friends along the way! I'm excited!!! :)

Chantelle
Little Learners

Becky said...

Thank you Heather for yet another encouraging post. To be honest, as a new blogger, I was feeling kind of discouraged by some of the posts out there. I realize that I have made some of the etiquette mistakes because I am just learning and figuring out how this blogging world works. You are spot on when you say that I feel vulnerable and am just trying to share my love of teaching in some small way. I really appreciate the encouragement.

Becky
Compassionate Teacher

Nikki T said...

Heather ~ This is good for new and "old" bloggers alike! I am sure that these same feeling come up across different careers... my sis is a photographer, so my eye is always open to all the new and different photographers out there... many, I assure you.

I believe that if you always follow your heart and passion, it will steer you in the right direction. THAT CAN BE SCARY! :O Success {in whatever form} will come! The beauty is, we ARE all different, special and talented and there is a place for us all! WOO HOO!

Much Appreciation!
Nikki T
Smart Tarts Learning

KinderKapers said...

Wow! You spoke many words I have been feeling! Yes, I want my humble little blog to be noticed by my heroes. Yes, I want my blog to be worth something to others. But yes...I want to share all my excitement and enjoyable moments from teaching. I do hope it will help someone. But sometimes it just helps me. Helps me see the good on a bad day...helps me know that others have the same struggles...helps me be organized...helps me step out of my box and become a better person and teacher.

I need to remember that. Thanks for sharing your heart!

Terri Izatt
KinderKapers

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Gina Coniglio said...

Hi Heather,
What a wonderful post! I love your perspective and thoughtful words. I feel a whole lot better! My thoughts are that maybe the original posts came out of the mistakes of a few and it doesn't reflect the majority of fabulous bloggers that are around! I'm fairly new to the whole thing and certainly don't want to make mistakes. After thinking it over I came to the conclusion that if I'm being myself, sincere and honest in my blog and comments then how can I go wrong? Whenever I follow someone new, like you, I always say "happy to be your newest follower!" That is the truth! Glad Denise from Sunny Days sent me here today!!
Gina
Beach Sand and Lesson Plans

Elizabeth Petrocelli said...

Heather,
Thank you for such a few heart felt notes! I enjoy reading and learning from you, thank you! I feel the same way and it helps to know we are not alone! I am just trying not to feel overwhelmed with full time teaching and full time wife and mom! It is hard sometimes knowing how to juggle it all.
Liz

Tracey Schumacher said...

You have a special place in the heart of the Teaching Blog Circle! I invite you to stop by and learn more... Your blog has inspired and helped me :)
Tracey
The Teacher's Chair

Stephanie said...

Heather,

Thank you so much for this heartfelt and encouraging post! As a new teacher AND a new blogger this really hit home for me.

I will be keeping these words in the back of my mind as I start to share the good and the bad of my classroom :)
Thank you for sharing!

Stephanie

Nicole said...

This was incredible! Heather you are one special gal! When I first started my blog I didn't know what I was doing (still really don't), but you were my first follower! I have no clue how you found me but you encouraged me to continue to write and blog. I haven't kept up with it as much as I read other blogs, but I am still attempting!

As for you, you are amazing. Your faith in God and how you encourage others is just awesome. I love reading your blog!!! Thanks for all you do for us!!!

Nicole

Nicole
A Frenzy of Fun in 1st Grade

Stacey Gorman said...

Heather,
You are so sweet and soooo honest. I love that about you and your blog. It is so important to remember why we are doing what we are doing.
Thank you for opening up your heart to us!
Stacey
School Safari

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Ms. Dawn said...

You and A Teeny Tiny Teacher are my favorites. I had no idea there were TPT and blog "police" out there! Etiquette? Really? When you write from the heart it means more than the other "fluff" out there. You're awesome in my book! Thankful I don't have a blog because the thought of someone trying to find fault would ..... well, it wouldn't be pretty for them! You always encourage me and my only wish is that you blogged more often! Keep it up!

Dawn said...

I often feel the same way. I wonder what others will think when they watch me teach. It's hard for me to remember that we teach in the real world with real children. Being critiqued is never easy.

I've also felt that way as I've put things on TpT. I'm never sure they are greatness. However, I have to think about the fact that I make things to use in my classroom. Everything I make, I make with my students in mind. It's what they need. If someone else can use it, that's fantastic. If not, I know my students will benefit from what I make.
You seem to have such a sweet heart! :)

Dawn
Adventures in First with Mrs. Key

Kate said...

Thank you for the refreshing post, Heather. I wish you worked in my school building! I often feel guilty when I don't blog often. Or don't post a freebie. Or don't upload a product for the latest holiday. When I start to feel guilty, I stop reading other blogs because I feel worse! It is easy to lose sight of my original purpose of blogging-- to share ideas and collaborate. Thank you for the thoughtful post. God is surely working through you.

Kate
EduKate and Inspire

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landoflearning said...

Okay wow! This post came right when I needed it. Thank you for your sweet words! I'm a brand new blogger and I've been overwhelmed with just thinking about how to keep up with the blogs I follow (there are a lot of them) and then doing my own posts. Then I agonize over what to post. I don't have a TPT or TN store. I don't create my own units or center packs. I'm not really sure I have that ability right now. Frankly I don't feel very creative at least at this point. But I do love finding great products like yours, using them, and then sharing about how I use them. I want to share what I do in my classroom and why. My hope in doing that is that I help someone be a better teacher. Want to know something totally contradictory? I also hate being watched and evaluated as I'm always worrying about doing the "wrong thing". Did I teach that lesson well enough? Did watch my students closely enough for understanding, behavior, etc.? And so much more. And yet I always leave my door open for any visitor that wants to see what is going on. When asked why I like to do that, I just say that I hope I can show someone one thing that would work for them as well and make their job that much more enjoyable. It's happened a few times and it helps me with my fears. That and the strong belief in that God chose me for this profession- teaching. My dad always says that he felt teaching was a calling, not just a career. I definitely agree with that. So anyways, you and several other inspirational bloggers have helped me realize that I just need to stay true to myself and teach and blog from my heart. The followers will come in time and maybe some creativity too. ;)
Shibahn

Kaitlin Edmunds said...

Thanks for this blog Heather. It defintely keeps things in perspective :) And thank you for being one of our first followers. You're awesome.

Kaitlin
http://kandclovegrade3.blogspot.ca/

Jessica Hamilton said...

Heather,
This blog was just what I needed this week! I have been so "down" and frustrated with classwork, paperwork, test scores...everything. And then to top it off, I keep trying with the blogging world because I am really getting into it, but I am not really sure if I am doing it right and I don't have many followers yet since I just started. I gets a bit discouraging! And especially when I put so much time and thought into it! I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your blog so much. It was very encouraging!

Jessica

Hanging Out in First!

Jill Sloothaak said...

Love this post, Heather. Thank you for sharing your heart...it has encouraged mine!

Jill
abcsandpolkadots

Dynamic Duo 1 and 2 said...

What wonderful advice! You have such a kind, gentle heart! What lucky first graders to have you as their teacher (:

Lauren
Dynamic Duo 1 and 2

Heidi Harrell said...

So glad I read this today Heather. You always write from your heart and I appreciate that so much. I had a teacher leave me some really harsh comments on one of my products and I was honestly HEARTBROKEN. It took me days to stop thinking about it. I worked so hard and it was so disappointing. I think we always need to be mindful that someone's heart and soul and time went into what we are looking at.

Heidi

Everyone deServes to Learn said...

I think I am lucky to have found you today, Heather. Or maybe it's the other way around- you found me first and gave me a tip on how to make my blog better. Isn't that how it should be? Teachers helping teachers? I am so grateful for your heartfelt words.

-Maria
Everyone deServes to Learn

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Erica Gower said...

Heather, first let me say thanks for being my first follower. I am finding this blogging thing a little more challenging than I thought it was. Mostly because even though I thought I had a lot to say and share I often get intimidated when I read other blogs and think what I want to share is lame. I am just going to do my best and if people are interested in what a kindergarten teacher from central Maine has to say then they will follow me :) Thank you again for your support.
Erica
Kindergarten is Dazzling

Natalie said...

Thank you so much for leaving a comment on my blog and for following me! It means a lot! I am now following you as well! :)Also glad to meet a 1st grade teacher!

Ms. Richards said...

Heather,
I also wanted to thank you for following my blog. When I hop over to yours, this post spoke to excatly what I am feeling. (It was really the reason I waited a year to blog instead of hopping on when I first discovered all these wonderful teaching blogs.) It's good to know I am in good company and there is some support for us, not only in our own classrooms, but also in becoming better teachers. =)
Krystyn
Ms. Richards Musings

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The Convenient Teacher said...

Wow! You just said what I have been feeling about my classroom, about my TpT Store, about my blog and everything else. What can I say but thank you. Today for the first time, I pinned a blog post with a question attached and actually had six responders. I never get responders to my blog... I am a newbie and just learning and It was a LEARNING experience. With all the rules of etiquette in pinning and posting, and the fear of p---ing someone off just scares me to death. So sometimes I just avoid making a post about any particular questions about education at all. Thanks again Heather for the great post.

The Convenient Teacher

Rebby said...

Heather,
I think this post was beautifully done! I was just talking to my husband the other day about this very same thing. It's easy for me to get frustrated when I compare my little blog to others or my TPT sales to others. I'll get down on myself because my blog doesn't appear to be as successful as those who started around the same time as me. It's good to have posts like this that remind me why I started doing this in the first place: because I <3 teaching and want to connect to others out there like me. That's it. Thanks so much for your heartfelt post! I really enjoyed it.
Rebecca
Classroom Compulsion

Rebecca H. said...

Heather,

Thank you so much for becoming the 30th follower on my blog...I've been waiting to reach that nice even number haha! I enjoyed your post; it is a good reminder to be ourselves and do what is comfortable for us. I love the teachers I have learned about through TPT and blogging. Every teacher who goes to the trouble to do those things is so dedicated to their profession, which can be unlike some of the coworkers you have in the "real world." Have a great 3 day weekend!

Rebecca
Ladybugs Lounge

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Haley said...

Hey Heather! I was just thinking about you today and hoping you are doing well! :) Can't wait to see your next post!

Melissa Machan said...

Heather - you were one of the first people I found when I started blogging and I am so thankful for your kind words along the way (even if it was in a post like this that wasn't necessarily directed at me). I so agree with the uncertainty of blogging and putting yourself out there. I tend to read into things too often (if people don't reply to comments - on my blog and on TpT - did I do something wrong?) Silly I know - but I do feel like we put ourselves out there and I am always so thankful when people take the time to let me know they stopped by and appreciated what I said.

So I wanted to let you know that I am very happy to be a follower! This post was just what I needed to read right now :)

Thank you!
Melissa
First Grade Smiles

kinder-gardener said...

Boy, did I need to see this post! I am new to blogging and yes, I run home just to see if anyone has visited. No one has! But after reading your post, along with Deedee Wills and Erica Bohrer's posts, I have a whole new attitude! Blog for yourself! Best advice ever. My blog has a hand drawn picture instead of graphics and clip art. It is totally amatureish and not professional-looking at all. I was feeling really bad about it but now I am fine. THANK YOU!

Emma Eckert said...

Heather- What a great post! I am truly honored that you were my first follower. I could totally relate as I begin this journey, I feel completely overwhelmed at times and wonder what I might possible have to share... this post really hit home! Thanks

Emma
Ms. Emma's Edventure

Q Harris said...

Wow! Those words really spoke to me! I am new to blogging myself, and YES, it is SCARY! But as educators, we have so much talent and so much to share and I just love hearing new ideas and different approaches to things. Butterflies are one of my most favorite things in the world. I love the reference to your students. So you had me at your "about me" section!

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