I’m really enjoying writing reviews for my blog, although I must admit, it’s taking me a LOT longer than I thought it would to write each one – and I don’t really understand why! I make pages and pages of notes as I read. I think I need them as a kind of security blanket whilst I get more confident in my ability to write reviews! The funny thing is that, although I write copious notes, I hardly look at them when actually writing my review. I don’t yet find it easy to write reviews (not sure I ever will), but I do find it enjoyable and personally rewarding.
For most of my life, I have been an avid reader and, before I became a teacher, I was easily able to devour a book in one sitting, and would frequently be reading a book I couldn’t put down at 3am! My nine to five job enabled me to come home from work, switch off – and read!
This is something that virtually stopped overnight when I started my PGCE and teaching life, as teaching simply took over my life! At a time when reading books would have helped me and my class, I just stopped as the endless cycle of marking, planning and assessment took up the majority of my time. Holidays were spent preparing for the next term and recuperating from physical and mental exhaustion!
This is something I now regret, and I am determined to redress the balance. During Christmas this year, I made a conscious decision that I was going to actively engage with reading again, and it really has been the most rewarding experience. Over the Christmas period, I read 10 books – and took a break from school work for most of that time.
I started reading middle grade books which has completely rekindled my love of reading. Reading these has reminded me of why I loved reading in the first place: the sense of escapism; the freedom to wander in new worlds; the complete suspension of disbelief and pure joy of the fantastical; and, the emotional connection with characters.
Just before Easter, I thought I’d have a go at blogging as I’d been admiring some great bloggers via Twitter. I didn’t have a clue – except that maybe WordPress was a good platform to use! It took me a while to get my head around using it – and I’m definitely still not confident with most of the features – but I learned enough to let me post my first book review!
I thought no-one would ever read my posts, or engage with me but, to be honest, I started blogging as a personal challenge to myself – to give myself something to write other than comments in children’s books and modelled texts for writing in class! It was an added bonus when some people liked, and commented, on my posts.
Coming back to reading, and discovering blogging and some of the wonderful people in the book blogging community (both via WordPress and Twitter) really has been a cathartic release which has helped me in balancing my home/work life, and has made me feel so much more relaxed and content in my life.
Picking up a book now helps me to de-stress and relax after work, but it also benefits the children in my class who love having a ‘bookish’ teacher who chats to them about books, reads to them every day and gives them free range of an ever-growing class library of fantastic fiction. Not to mention having a relaxed, happy teacher – most of the time!