Frustrations…and my Classroom Blog

I feel like an should apologize for this post…the past week has been hard and I just need to let it out so I can regroup and move on. I don’t like to complain, but sometimes things just need to be said. Please forgive me.

Last year when the teachers were in job action and were not completing report cards I tried to figure out a way to communicate with my students’ parents. I wanted and needed them to know what and how their children we doing. My answer? I started a class blog. This offered a window into our classroom and showed all of the learning that was going on.

My blog is a labour of love. When I started, it didn’t come easy. Everything about it took so LONG! I spent an entire day figuring out what theme was best for me…the colour scheme…the cover photo…this was a public declaration of who I was as a teacher and what my classroom was all about. I “broke” things and had to fix them…learn, make mistakes and re-learn how to create my class’ online identity. These were IMPORTANT lessons for me. Starting a website makes you vulnerable…people get a glimpse of who you are by what you post on the net and I always want to leave the best impression possible.

My blog has gone through many revisions. I started off just wanting to post photos and descriptions of class activities, but I became inspired to have my website as a hub of learning in my classroom. I searched out great music videos to use as big body breaks…I added great links like Wonderopolis.org…I embedded the fantastic Symbaloo mixes created by my friend, Matt Gomez…I added a link to our public library and their subscription to Tumblebooks…I added a widget so that visitors could see the tweets we sent to our Kindergarten friends around the world…and I added a link to Kidblog.org so that my students could share their blogs with their families and even blog from home. I added all of my class routines, policies and information for parents so they could get to know me and my class and have that information at the ready any time they needed it. My website became a defining piece of my classroom routine. The parents loved seeing all that their children were doing and liked being able to be involved with that learning at home.

Always trying to refine and improve how my class blog functions as a part of my classroom, I decided to purchase my own domain name. My site address went from start.sd34.bc.ca/kinderpals (which no one could remember) to simply kinderpals.ca. I was absolutely giddy with joy when my kindies started chanting the web address because they were so excited to REMEMBER their place on the web! I did another major overhaul of the site and have arrived at its’ present incarnation you see today. It will likely change as I figure out better ways to present things, but I am extremely happy with its’ functionality right now, and I have had nothing but positive feedback from parents and colleagues alike.

So what am I complaining about, you ask?

After all that work…hours upon hours of revisions, redesigns, mistakes and relearning, I can’t use my blog in my own classroom. The site loads so slowly that I can’t bring up the photos of the students to show them. It takes 30 minutes to load a 2 minute video and by that time the need for the video has passed because at have had to find another way to get the big body break or teach what I want to teach. I am frustrated beyond words (or maybe not, since you’re still reading…)!

However, I do know that my blog is being used. There were 281 views yesterday…and 158 views today…NONE of them by my class! I couldn’t even load the front page of my blog today, things were so bogged down.

Why is this? I am not exactly sure yet. The systems administrator for the government PLNet that provides our tech infrastructure is looking into the problem. The first answer I got said that there was too much traffic on the server. I was told they did not know when this would be fixed.

So, in the meantime, my frustration grows as I wait for an answer and watch the site stats for other users visiting my blog. I hope that very soon my students will once again be able to access our class home on the ‘net. At least I know they can access from home…I’ve taught them how to spell kinderpals.ca. 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Frustrations…and my Classroom Blog

  1. I can understand how you feel about your class blog -it’s such a great teaching and learning resource. It must be very frustrating not to be able to use it in class. But as you mentioned, at least your students can acces it from home. It is a powerful way of sharing students’ learning with parents and of scaffolding student reflections. And it’s inspiring teachers and students in other classes around the world. (We, in Japan are regularly inspired!) Hopefully the glitches will get sorted out. Meanwhile, celebrate your own learning journey. The blog looks great!

  2. We have all been there. Our school server was not built for the kind of traffic it is getting. Now that precious bandwidth is being shared by every laptop, smartphone, iP*d, and pc that walks into the building. My own refurbished classroom laptop is unbelievably slow as well, never mind the laptops the kids use on Wednesday mornings.
    You have done a great job setting up a system of home school communication. Now it’s time to take a breath, take a break from it all until the IT dept. gets things up to snuff. The reality for some of us is that it can take a very long time, even years before your thinking matches the reality. Do you know that every time we log in we have to make sure the correct network is recognized on each laptop as it resets to the guy across the street? That’s the kind of thing that burns a teacher out.
    Hang in there and know that parents are better able to access your work from home than you can from school.

    • Thank you for the encouragement, Gail. I think blogging about the issue helped me release some of the frustration and know that what I have created is a good thing. Hopefully one day soon I will be able to use it at school again.

  3. Your website truly is a labour of love. It is a shame that you can’t use it in the classroom. I hope that the problem is solved soon. It is great that students and parents (and all of us) can still access it but the scope is so much more with all your teaching set up to be there at your fingertips.

    • Thanks Melva…this whole journey is taking baby steps and hoping that the outcome is better than what we anticipate. For now I will be happy knowing that the site is still accessible from home and that all my work is not for naught.

  4. Hang in their friend. You are doing amazing things. Remember some of us are just hoping to hear that we can start a blog one day. Thanks for showing the world how awesome a class blog can be for the kids, parents and teachers.

  5. You don’t have to apologize for the occasional venting on your own blog. The internet seems to convince us (especially women) that if we’re not always-super-bright-sunny-and-smiling, nobody will read our content. I’ve found this exceptionally untrue. When properly utilized, a complaint post can inform readers of potential issues, make them laugh, and provide catharsis for all. You’ve done great work with all of that here. 🙂

    Anyway, I wish you the best of luck with your other blog and I am sorry to hear of your technological complications. However, it is nice that people out there in the global ether are finding it to be a helpful resource!

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