No Blog Post Is an Island [en]

[fr] Une des grandes difficultés dans l'art de bloguer: intégrer des liens à son texte. D'une part parce que les liens rajoutent une dimension au texte, perçant en quelque sorte des trous dans celui-ci par lesquels le lecteur est libre de s'échapper, à la façon des "livres dont vous êtes le héros" de notre adolescence, et d'autre part parce que la nature hypertexte du web donne à l'intertextualité une place capitale. Un article de blog n'est pas une île isolée, mais un fragment textuel nageant au milieu d'un océan d'autres fragments similaires, avec lequel il a des liens plus ou moins proches, que la bonne maîtrise de l'hyperlien permet d'expliciter. Ceci nécessite, outre une habileté avec les mots (pour pouvoir retourner sa phrase dans le sens qui permet un bon ancrage du lien), une certaine culture des autres textes entourant le sien. Sinon, comment faire des liens qui feront sens?

Fellow blogger Adam Tinworth points to a leaked memo from The Guardian encouraging internal linking. He shares his astonishment on Facebook “that this still isn’t standard practice at most places”. I am not that astonished, I have to say.

During my many years as blog editor-in-chief and teaching blogging to students, I have seen again and again that from a technical point of view, aside from managing to write in your own personal voice, the most difficult aspect of blogging to master is integrating hyperlinks into your writing.

Autour du chalet, colliers de perles

I think this is because writing well with hyperlinks requires one to write differently. It is not just about “writing and then adding links”.

Adding meaningful hyperlinks to your sentences is going to have an impact on the way you construct them. You need to be comfortable shuffling the words around, or looking for others, so that you end up with a phrase that provides you with adequate anchor text for the link you want to insert.

Most people’s training in writing is probably in standalone texts. Offline writing, the type that worked well on paper. Your reader starts at the top, and finishes at the bottom. You may have footnotes and references, but nothing as dramatic as a hyperlink, which literally pokes a hole in your text.

I like to think of hyperlinks as adding an extra dimension to a text. Normal text is 1D. Just follow it through. Hypertext is 2D at least — remember those books we must all have read as teenagers? If you go right, head to page 16, but if turn left, run off to page 67?

So, the first challenge in writing with links is finding a gracious way to anchor all those links into your words.

The second challenge is less obvious, but even more important: intertextuality.

Intertextuality” is a rather vast topic, but it generally has to do with the fact that how you understand or read one text can be shaped by your knowledge of another. References or allusions, explicit or not, that connect different texts.

On the web, everything we write is swimming in a sea of other interconnected texts. It’s not called the World Wide Web for nothing, dammit. Everything that is published on the web is stitched together. The blog post you are writing now is not an island, it is swimming alongside all sorts of other pieces of writing. How you position your piece of writing amongst the others may be just as important as the writing itself.

Intertextuality in the world of hypertext is a crucial thing to be aware of.

What are you going to link to? What is there out there that complements your writing, or takes your reader further, or down a parallel path? What are the associations between parts of your writing and preexisting writing?

This requires, in addition to the will to connect one’s writing into this existing web, some degree of knowledge of what is out there. Culture. Or dexterity in the use of the search engine. Or both.

I agree with Adam: internal linking should be a no-brainer. I do it a lot on Climb to the Stars: whenever I’m writing a blog post, I’m wondering what else I have written in the past which is related to it. Am I building upon a previous post? Am I writing on a topic I’ve already touched upon? How can I work a link to this or that post into what I’m writing now?

I do it on Open Ears too. As editor-in-chief, I have read all the articles we publish. The difficulty is I often receive articles which are written as standalone pieces, so I have to either work with the blogger to incorporate a reference to another article, or do it myself as part of the editing process. But as I mentioned above, adding links changes the way you write and construct your text, so “adding a link” is rarely as straightforward as “just adding a link” — and in some cases can only difficultly be done if it wasn’t planned for from the start.

When I was discovering the web, one of the first sites I spent a lot of time reading was The Psychology of Cyberspace. It’s still online, and I encourage you to visit it: as the author explains, it is an online book, that is, written with hypertext in mind.

There is a table of contents, but in addition to that, inside the chapters, there are links to other chapters whenever there is a mention or a passing reference to something covered elsewhere. This frees the reader to wander around in the order they wish, and avoids redundancy — if you need to explain X again, just link to it. I think this was a very good learning example for me of how to build text online.

So now. How would you teach people the skills to do this, when it doesn’t seem to come naturally to them?

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Invest in Social Media Training [en]

For all of you in companies around the world who are wondering what place to give social media — you’ve heard about it, you know there’s quite a bit of hype, but that you should be “doing it” — here’s a piece of free advice: invest in training your staff and providing them with the “social media” skillset.

The trend I see these days is companies and organizations hiring social media consultants, strategists, and community managers. They want somebody to “do their social media stuff”, and often this person is external to the company.

Take a few steps back and think about computing. Nobody today would even dream of hiring somebody into the company to deal with the “computer stuff”. Instead, employees simply know how to do things on a computer. Some more than others, I’ll grant you that, but “working on the computer” is usually so much part of the job description for any office position that it’s not even specified in the job description anymore.

A few years from now, it’ll be the same thing with social media. Knowledge workers will know how to write a blog post (or even open a blog and manage it to some extent), use a wiki, create an event on Facebook and use their network to promote it, set up a Twitter account and put a video on YouTube — just as your average knowledge worker today knows how to create a Word document, send an e-mail, search for something on the web.

You can wait until people naturally learn how to do these things, or the younger, more social-media-literate generation invades the workplace — but you can also speed things up by actively providing your employees with opportunities to acquire these skills.

And yes, shameless plug: if you’re looking for somebody to train your staff, this is clearly something I do (I’m working on preparing proper marketing material for my services these days, so in a few weeks I’ll hopefully have shiny handouts/PDFs describing all the things I do).

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Adapting to Budget: "on peut tout faire avec tout" [en]

[fr] "On peut tout faire avec tout", me dit une copine designer avec qui je parle d'un mandat pour ma conférence, Going Solo. Ce qu'elle veut dire, c'est qu'il y a généralement moyen de s'adapter au budget du client.

C'est vrai pour moi aussi -- du moins dans certaines choses que je fais, comme apprendre aux gens à bloguer. On peut mettre en place un blog pour une entreprise pour 2'000CHF, mais aussi pour 50'000. Dans les deux cas le client aura un blog, mais les choses seront tout de même assez différentes:

  • Dans le premier cas, le client sera livré à lui-même pour découvrir la culture de la blogosphère et la stratégie de communication qui lui est propre. Je lui en aurai parlé, bien entendu, mais cela restera inévitablement abstrait. Il va devoir apprendre en public, perdre la face peut-être. Il fera des erreurs. Si tout va bien, il s'en sortira, à long terme. Au bout d'un an, de deux ans, il finira par réellement comprendre ce que ce nouveau média a à offrir -- s'il n'a pas abandonné, découragé.
  • Dans l'autre cas, le client sera accompagné, suivi de près, conseillé, coaché pendant six mois. Il apprendra "juste". Il fera moins d'erreurs grossières. On ménagera sa susceptibilité en ne l'obligeant pas à apprendre sans filet sous les yeux du public. Il y aura des crises également, c'est sûr -- mais il ne sera pas seul pour y faire face.

Il n'y a pas une méthode plus juste que l'autre, c'est ce que je suis en train de comprendre. Ça dépend du client. Est-il prêt à être livré à lui-même, quitte à échouer misérablement ou à se décourager? A quel point tient-il à apprendre à maîtriser ce média? Son budget est-il limité? Je m'adapte.

Last week, I recontacted a girl I used to do judo with, who is now a designer (not a “graphic designer” per se — an object designer). We talked about her work and what she did, and ended up trying to see if there was anything we could do together for Going Solo.

I met her to discuss this — it was a very strange experience for me to be “the client” and to feel totally lost about what she was going to do for me. And also, to be wondering how much this kind of thing would cost me. I had more than a few thoughts for my clients, who sometimes turn green when I tell them the price tag for what we’ve discussed.

What I’d like to talk about here is something she said: “on peut tout faire avec tout”, meaning “you can get anything for anything”. Not very clear out of context, I’ll admit. We were talking about budget. Basically, what she meant is **”tell me how much you have for this, and I’ll figure out a way to give you something for that price”**.

As the client in this story, I personally found that much more comfortable than to have to wait for her to come up with a quote (which would probably make my heart sink) and then get into painful discussions to see how we could reduce the cost.

My needs here aren’t very specific. I want a logo, a “look”, banners, some printed material, etc. And it makes sense: I can probably get that for 2000 CHF, and I could also get it for 8000. What I’d get would be different, of course — but basically, it would fulfill the basic need.

I liked what she said, because it resonated with some background thought process of mine which never quite made it to the surface. In my “industry” (let’s think of social media here, like corporate blogging), you can also “get anything for anything”. **Want a corporate blog? Well, we can do it for 2000, but also for 20’000** — or even more.

Let me explain a little. This is something that’s been bothering me for a few months, and I’m glad I’ve finally figured it out.

When I quit my day job (or was about to do so), I set up blogs for some clients. It was very **lightweight**: evangelize, install WordPress, show somebody how it worked, adapt a design to a WordPress theme, give some strategic advice (not always received) — and there we go. Sometimes, I didn’t even go through all that. It was “talk a couple of hours, open a [WordPress.com](http://wordpress.com) account, done”.

*But I wasn’t that happy with the results.* People often didn’t really “get” it. I felt they were under-using their blogs, that they could be doing so much more with them. Sometimes, people “didn’t get it” to the point that they actually didn’t really use the blog we’d set up.

So, I changed my way of working. Over the weeks and months, I came to understand just how vital training was when it came to understanding social media. Not just the technical aspects, but as I’ve written [again](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/09/24/how-blogging-brings-dialogue-to-corporate-communications/) and [again](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/07/blogs-en-entreprise-un-peu-en-vrac/) (and probably elsewhere), the cultural and strategic aspects of it. So, I started to include that in my discussions with clients.

“Setting up a blog and learning how to publish a post is just the beginning. The big job is understanding the blogging culture, and figuring out how blogging fits into or changes (in most cases!) your communication strategy.”

*I didn’t want my clients to be disappointed in their blogs, or to “fail”, or to mess up too much.* It brought me to quoting healthy 5-figure prices for “we’d like a corporate blog” type of requests.

Not surprisingly, they thought it was a tad expensive. “Isn’t the whole point of this social media stuff the fact that it’s supposed to be *cheap*?” So, I didn’t get the gigs in question, and I wasn’t very happy either. The corporations I’ve been in touch with seem quite ready to be evangelized about social media, but not really ready to bet money on it.

(I know a lot of what I’m saying is old news, so forgive me if I seem to be stating the obvious to some of you.)

About a week ago I had a chat with one of my old clients, who told me that after about a year of having a rather non-bloggy blog things were slowly starting to change. Nothing very notable, but **they were loosening up**. They brought in somebody to help for the website who was more of a “web” person, and that had a positive influence on how lively the publication was becoming.

This seemed to bring me an answer to something I’d been uneasy about: lately, I’d caught myself explaining how blogging, as a tool, creates a certain kind of culture and communication strategy — but in the same breath, kind of negating that by insisting that throwing blogs at people doesn’t make bloggers out of them. I still think I’m correct about this, but it’s more complex than I make it sound. If you give somebody a blog, and they use it long enough, sooner or later they’ll start to “get it”. The catch is that there are high chances they will give up before they get there. And also, there is no knowing how long they’ll take to “get it”.

So, what do I do with this? **On the one hand, it is possible to keep blogging “cheap”. On the other hand, I do believe it makes sense (particularly for corporations) to invest a hefty chunk of time and money in learning to get it right.** (Corporations don’t hesitate much about spending lots of $$ — or even €€ or ££! — on software solutions… put that money you’ll save on the software in training and strategic consulting when it comes to social media.)

I realised that the key was *compromise*.

**Say your budget for opening a corporate blog is 2K.** We’ll open a WordPress.com account or install WordPress on a server somewhere, get you a domain name, maybe a cheaply customised theme with your logo in it. I’ll show you how to use the tool’s basic functions. I’ll give you some advice (blogger’s survival kit), recommend some other tools to try, and that’s about it. You’re on your own.

You’ll scrape your knees. It might take you a year or more to figure out for yourself that blogging isn’t about reproducing your “print” or “old marketing” content in a light CMS called a blogging tool. You might give up, or decide that this blogging thing is not all it’s hyped to be — it’s too hard, it doesn’t work, it’s just a fad. On the other hand, if you do hang on in there, feel your way through the crises, engage with your readers, learn to be part of the community, mess up and apologize… There is a lot of value in there for you.

**If your budget is 50K, we’ll do things differently.** I’ll follow and train your team over 6 months. I’ll walk you through the crises. I’ll help you prevent some. I’ll hold your hand while you learn. Talk with you when your communication strategy feels rattled by this alien blogging thing you’re doing. Help you see clearly so you understand what’s at stake more clearly when you have decisions to make. Spend time convincing the sceptics that what you’re doing really has value. Teach you to write better, as a blogger. Show you how blogging is part of this Bigger Thing that’s been happening online over the last years. When we’re done, I’ll have taught you almost as much as I know, and you’ll be autonomous.

In both cases, I’m compromising. The client is compromising. Blogging *is* about learning in the open, messing up in public, and getting scalded by the heat of real relationships and real people and real conversations. It’s about being human.

**Where exactly is the compromise?**

In the first scenario (the “cheap” one), the client isn’t really ready to invest much time and money in understanding blogging, or doesn’t have the means to do so. If he’s not committed or not passionate enough, the whole thing will **fail**. Remember that **many people start blogging, and then stop**. They’re just not around to tell us about it. All we see are the *natural bloggers*, those who have it in their blood, so to speak. Those who have a personality that fits well with the medium. On the flip side, the client gets the “real deal” right away. No training wheels.

In the second scenario (the “expensive” one), the compromise is in **saving the client’s face**. It spares the client the indignity of learning through making lots of mistakes, and in public. By investing time and money, and hiring competent people, you can avoid making gross mistakes, and appear to “get it” faster than if you jump in and half drown before you figure out how to float. We’re compromising here by preventing the client from looking too bad while he gets to grip with the new medium. Ultimately, the client will have to learn to lose face every now and again — nobody can prevent the business from messing up now and again. But it won’t be due to being uncomfortable with an unfamiliar medium.

**I don’t think there is *one right way* to get into blogging. Just like there is not a “best” way to learn, between taking classes and learning all by yourself. Both of these scenarios are good — and all those in between. It will depend on the client:**

– is the client ready to scrape his knees in public, a lot — or is he still happy with a rather controlled communication strategy, which he wants to ease out of gently?
– is the client willing to see his attempt to get into blogging fail (for a variety of reasons) — or does he want to put all the chances on his side to make sure he sticks with it?
– is the client on a budget — or is money not an issue?

Which brings me back to where I started. Translating what my friend says to my own business: if you want to get into blogging and your budget is set, it’s possible (within reason, of course). In all cases, you’ll get “blogging”, but you’ll get different flavours and intensities of it.

You *just* have to trust the professional you hire for this to be giving you your money’s worth.

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"Learning Blogs": GWNG Meeting Presentation [en]

[fr] Présentation donnée vendredi passé au GWNG à UNAIDS.

Here are the slides I used as a backbone to my presentation of blogs as educational tools during the Global Net Manager Networking Group last Friday at UNAIDS. You can download them in three formats. As specified on the presentation, they are licensed [CC by-nc-nd](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.5/).

– [20061215-gwng-learning-blogs.odp](/files/20061215-gwng-learning-blogs.odp) (OpenOffice Impress)
– [20061215-gwng-learning-blogs.pdf](/files/20061215-gwng-learning-blogs.pdf) (PDF)
– [20061215-gwng-learning-blogs.ppt](/files/20061215-gwng-learning-blogs.ppt) (Microsoft Powerpoint)

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Group or Author Blogs? [en]

[fr] Conversation hier avec Suw au sujet de la meilleure approche pour initier les gens au blog dans un cadre professionnel. Contrairement à mon intuition, elle recommande d'éviter les blogs "communautaires" à moins que le thème en soit très clairement défini. Il vaudrait mieux donner à chacun son blog, si possible avec une période d'essai sur l'intranet pour repérer qui "capte" et qui ne "capte pas", afin d'encourager les futurs blogueurs à se sentir responsables du blog. A plusieurs, on tend à rencontrer le syndrome "les autres blogueront". Et vous? Qu'en pensez-vous? Des expériences à partager dans le domaine?

Interesting and thought-provoking conversation yesterday with [Suw](http://chocnvodka.blogware.com/), about group blogs vs. author blogs to get people to start blogging. Group blog can work with newbie bloggers if they have clear focus (ie, we are going to get together to blog about [things we’ve come upon in Lausanne](http://www.superlocal.ch/lausanne/enville/)).

If there is no clearly-defined topic, then it is better to get people started on their own blogs, so that they take responsability for it. Otherwise you get the “somebody else will post” syndrome that I’ve noticed on a couple of multi-author blogs I participate in (or try to direct). If necessary, make them start blogging on the intranet before going “public”.

Your experiences with newbie bloggers in more-or-less corporate environments? Tried group blogs? Prefer author blogs? Got theories?

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Harvard Law in Second Life [en]

[fr] Un cours de la prestigieuse Harvard Law School est en train d'avoir lieu en partie à l'intérieur de Second Life. Quand je parle de Second Life comme outil/média éducatif, c'est à des choses comme ça que je pensais. Je suis allé y faire un tour, j'ai parlé avec une des instigatrices du projet, et je compte bien essayer de suivre en tous cas une partie de ce cours, qui a lieu les lundis et mardis.

By chance, I picked up [a link to today’s RocketBoom](http://www.rocketboom.com/vlog/archives/2006/09/rb_06_sep_12.html) in the #wordpress IRC channel (thanks, [twidget](http://charlesstricklin.com/)). I don’t often watch [RocketBoom](http://rocketboom.com “Popular internet video show. Pretty geeky. Funny.”), but the new presentator (en?) had a nice British accent, so I watched the whole thing.

A [Harvard Law course in Second Life](http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cyberone/) caught my attention. I watched the trailer, and decided to [hop in and see for myself](http://slurl.com/secondlife/Berkman/123/219/24/?x=400&y=400&img=http%3A//www.law.harvard.edu/programs/center_law/berkman_logo.gif&title=Welcome%20to%20Berkman%20Center%20for%20Internet%20and%20Society%20at%20Harvard%20Law%20School&msg=Berkman%20Island%20is%20the%20product%20of%20a%20collaboration%20between%20individuals%20associated%20with%20the%20real-life%20Berkman%20Center%20and%20Second%20Life%20citizens.%20Members%20of%20the%20community%20have%20helped%20landscape%2C%20enrich%2C%20and%20create%20unique%20content.%20For%20the%20purpose%20of%20the%20Beyond%20Broadcast%20conference%20%28http%3A//beyondbroadcast.net/blog/%29%2C%20we%20have%20built%20an%20inworld%20broadcasting%20center%20and%20a%203D%20replica%20of%20the%20Ames%20Courtroom%20at%20the%20Harvard%20Law%20School.). I’ve been telling people around me that [Second Life](http://secondlife.com) provides opportunities for education that we can barely yet imagine. I’m glad to see that it’s starting to happen. [Watch the trailer for yourself](http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/cyberone/videos/CyberOne.mp4) [10.5Mb].

Inside the Second Life lecture hall (a replica of the real Harvard one, from what I understood) I chatted a while with [Rebecca](http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cyberone/2006/09/11/day-one-comes-to-a-close/) (one of the instigators!) and a student, LZ.

I learnt that the class was open to “public” ([“at large”](http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cyberone/audiences/at-large/), they call it), and I’m very tempted to participate. I missed the first classes though, yesterday and today, but the [wiki](http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cyberone/administration/syllabus#9_11) contains a lot of information and is supposed to give links to the lecture videos (haven’t found those, I’d be glad if somebody can point me to them). A lot of [reading material](http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/cyberone/course-materials/readings/) is online. They also have a [20-minute introduction to Second Life](http://cm.dce.harvard.edu/2006/01/82002/P11/index.html) but [Flock](http://flock.com) can’t find the missing plugins I need to view it. Damn!

So, anyway, had to let you know about this. I think it’s exciting!

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Etre malade quand on enseigne [fr]

Avant d’être enseignante, j’ai travaillé dans le secteur privé. J’avais un joli salaire, je bossais 4 jours par semaine (80%), je sortais régulièrement en semaine. Arriver au boulot un peu fatigué quand on travaille dans un bureau, c’est pas top, mais au pire on n’est pas très productif. Idem lorsqu’on est malade: soit on reste à  la maison et le travail n’avance pas, soit on va quand même travailler et on fait de son mieux.

Quand on enseigne, tout ça devient très différent. Pour commencer, on travaille plus et on est payé moins (eh oui!) Je sais, on a plein de vacances, mais on en a besoin (j’vous jure!) et on choisit pas quand on les prend. Manque de pot, elles tombent toujours durant les vacances scolaires…

Ensuite, je crois qu’on n’imagine pas, si on ne l’a jamais fait, à  quel point il faut être en forme pour enseigner valablement. On peut plus ou moins faire le zombie au bureau si on n’est pas dans son assiette, mais essayez seulement de faire le zombie devant une classe d’ados! Donc, si on est en train de couver quelque chose, pas question de se laisser aller. Il faut faire tourner le moteur à  plein régime et assurer.

On n’est vraiment pas bien? On songe à  se faire porter pâle? On hésite… Oui, on hésite, parce que d’une part il faut préparer le travail que feront les élèves pendant qu’on se bourre de PrétuvalC ou de NéoCitran, et d’autre part, on sait que les choses seront toujours plus mal faites par le remplaçant que soi-même (malgré toute la bonne volonté de ce premier). Il faut souvent reprendre une bonne partie de la matière quand on revient. L’équation commence à  prendre forme? Arrêt maladie = plus de travail. Ce n’est pas parce qu’on est malade que l’école s’arrête de tourner et que les élèves rentrent chez eux (quoique parfois, devant la pénurie de remplaçants…)

On attend donc en général que notre état soit bien avancé pour en arriver à  cette solution de dernier recours: se faire remplacer. (En plus, parfois c’est un collègue avec des heures de blanc qui s’y colle, et on sait tous à  quel point c’est désagréable…) Mais une fois qu’on est vraiment bien assez malade pour se faire remplacer — c’est-à -dire qu’on n’est plus capable de grand-chose — il faut encore préparer le remplacement! Eh oui!

C’est trop cool, prof, comme métier. Tant qu’on ne tombe pas malade.

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Idée de nouveau blog [fr]

J’envisage d’ouvrir un second blog qui serait mon “blog de prof”.

[en] I'm thinking about setting up a second blog for teaching-related stuff (for students and collegues).

Plusieurs personnes m’ont fait remarquer que mes billets s’étaient faits rares ces derniers mois. C’est vrai, et je ne sais pas exactement pourquoi. Moins de choses à  écrire, moins besoin d’écrire, une petite rechute de TMS, la vie qui va bien… Ce blog n’est pas abandonné pour autant. Disons simplement que c’est une période creuse.

Depuis quelques jours, je cogite l’ouverture d’un second blog, en parallèle de celui-ci, centré sur mon travail d’enseignante. L’autre jour, je donnais à  mes élèves une adresse internet que j’utilise pour préparer des exercices d’entraînement de vocabulaire. Ce serait tellement plus simple de mettre ça sur mon “blog de prof” dont ils auraient l’adresse! Je pourrais également l’utiliser pour d’autres communications officieuses. Le site pour les exercices de vocabulaire, ça intéresse également mes collègues. Ce serait sympa d’avoir un endroit où centraliser tout ça! Si des collègues me lisent… qu’en pensez-vous?

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Stress [en]

A few lines on the stressful life of an apprentice-teacher. Don’t tell me we don’t deserve our holidays. Ever. Again.

[fr] Un petit aperçu du stress de l'enseignant. Et qu'on ne vienne pas me dire qu'on se la coule douce, qu'on est trop payés, et qu'on ne mérite pas nos vacances.

I’ve been thinking a lot about stress this week. I’m pretty stressed these days. I didn’t feel the stress much before the autumn holidays. I just felt very tired. Now I’m much less tired, and much more stressed.

Even though my sources of stress are multiple (private and professional, emotional and simply the sheer amount of work to do) it translates into a permanent background of “thinking of my pupils.” I just can’t get them out of my head. I go to sleep thinking of them, I wake up in the morning dreaming of them, I worry about them during the day, and even when I try to relax, they just won’t leave me alone. I’m usually pretty good at “blanking out” and thinking of “nothing”, but it just doesn’t work anymore nowadays.

It doesn’t help that I don’t have much time to do non-school things. Most of the time I have out of school is spent correcting and marking tests, preparing tests and classes, or discussing various school issues (relational or directly educational) with various people (some of whom must really be sick of hearing about all this stuff by now). Oh, and sleeping. Did I meantion dreaming about school? To put it shortly, I’m finding it hard to unwind.

However, even though I’m having a hard (sometimes rough) time, I’m confident that I’m doing what is necessary to improve the situation, and that I’m handling it as best I can. I am surrounded by competent and helpful people, and that helps a lot. It won’t last forever, and things are under control.

Just don’t tell me that teachers do nothing but sit on their arse all day waiting for their undeservedly long holidays, and go on “strike” because they think they’re not being paid enough. It pisses me off ever so slightly.

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Holidays! [en]

Tired and looking forward to holidays. Doing good apart from that and the messy flat.

[fr] A la veille des vacances, je ne peux que confirmer que ce n'est pas pour rien que les enseignants ont tant de vacances. On en a besoin! Je suis fatiguée mais je vais bien, et je me réjouis d'avoir un semblant de vie sociale durant les deux semaines qui viennent. Ah oui, et aussi de ranger l'appartement et de préparer les cours jusqu'à  Noël. Peu de chances que je m'ennuie!

Tomorrow is the last day before the holidays. I can tell you it’s high time! I’m tired, a bit stressed out, and my flat looks like a dump (no trespassing). Some people wonder why teachers have “so many” holidays — I tell you, it’s simply because this job couldn’t be done with only 4 weeks off in a year!

Having seen the office world and the classroom world, I can say two things: I like the classroom better, but it’s much more tiring.

Holidays will be devoted to sleeping, reconstructing my social life, catching up on cinema, and preparing classes, tests, and course material until Christmas. Oh, I almost forgot: I also intend to turn my flat back into a place I can invite people into.

Aside from being tired and worn out, I’m doing pretty good. The feeling of these last months that my life is finally heading somewhere and that I know where I am seems to be there for good.

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