Over the course of the last 3 years, life has most certainly changed for everybody in a lot of ways. The COVID-19 pandemic shifted how we work, how we interact in public spaces, how we educate students, how we participate in professional development, how we buy groceries and other things, and much, much more. My life has changed in many ways, so I am not exempt from the societal shift. I am more of a homebody, I prefer to order groceries from my phone and pick them up or have them delivered, and after years of struggling to get myself to a gym on a consistent basis, I have found a workout routine that includes daily walking (usually of at least 4 miles/day), riding programs on my Peloton bike, and semiregular yoga practice, as well as putting forth an effort to eat better. However, there are many other things I have been unable to embrace or have gotten away from over the past few years.
Writing is something that I have always loved. I started this blog in 2015 and throughout the life of the blog, I was relatively consistent in putting out a piece every couple of weeks at minimum. However, my writing has been more sporadic over the last couple of years. In fact, this piece is about 11 months after my last one, meaning that I have gone almost a year between posts. The reasoning behind it? Lots of things, including but not limited to not wanting to get onto a screen after spending most of my day at school on a screen, making an attempt to be more physically active, spending more time with family and shuttling them to various activities (dance and hockey mainly), and frankly, at times, feeling like I don't have anything to contribute of value.
My social media presence has dwindled significantly as well. A few years ago, I would participate in several Twitter chats during a typical week, at this point, I can't tell you the last time that I jumped into one (but in my opinion, the Twitter chat has slowly started to fade away and for me, has lost its value as a learning tool). Even though I have carefully curated who I follow, topics that I search for, etc., I find less on Twitter than I used to in years past.
Instagram and Facebook? I'm not much of a picture person so I don't post much anyway, but every 3-4 legitimate posts are ads and promotional materials and after scrolling for a couple of minutes, I get annoyed and I move on to something more productive.
TikTok? I never say never, but I don't foresee myself ever signing up for a TikTok account. The thought of spending 45 minutes to an hour mindlessly watching ridiculous videos does not appeal to me (don't fly off the handle, I know that there is a lot of meaningful, educational, and valuable stuff on TikTok, so I'm not lumping all TikTok videos together like that).
I tried the Hive and Mastodon apps, but I just didn't have the energy to start over with new social media apps. And overall, I find myself more productive and content with my life with less social media presence.
At the beginning of the pandemic when conferences and professional development went virtual, I was excited about a new way to learn and share my expertise, but that novelty wore off with me quickly. I crave human interaction, an interaction that was not possible through a computer screen. But as conferences have returned to an in-person format, I haven't gotten the bug to present again. As I mentioned previously, I feel that I don't have something of value to share at times. I know that I have a wealth of knowledge to share on a variety of topics, but I have been struggling to figure out what to share and how to share in a presentation format again. I am definitely working on motivating myself to present again, hopefully, sooner than later, especially after attending a few in-person conferences over the last year (more on my most recent event, TCEA, in San Antonio, in a future post).
If you've read my blog or have interacted with me on social media, you know that I have co-hosted two podcasts for the last few years, The BeerEDU Podcast starting in 2018 and The Podcast by Sons of Technology starting in 2019. Both shows were very consistent for a long time.
We published BeerEDU on a weekly basis for a while before shifting to a bi-weekly schedule, and Sons of Technology had been a bi-weekly drop until we shifted to once a month. However, both shows have been very sporadic, almost non-existent for several months now. With BeerEDU, Ben and I decided to go on a hiatus for a while, citing our busy schedules as the culprit. In my new position this year as a special education instructional facilitator (more on that in a future post) and Ben's role as a principal, finding mutual times to record along with a guest was becoming tougher.
As for Sons of Technology, Joe and I also find time to record elusive, but we also have always agreed that we didn't want to record episodes just to record; if we didn't have any ideas for topics, then we didn't force episodes out (Ben and I don't have that issues as much, as guests typically bring the topic to us and we talk based on their interests and passions). The shows aren't dead, but like your favorite band that goes a while between releases, we are still producing content, just not on the consistent basis we once did.
I know that I am not the only one that has been affected adversely as a professional. I encourage you to share your experiences. Perhaps by opening up dialogue, we can motivate one another and spark that flame again to do the things that we know we love but just need a little nudge. I already have several posts started to share some other things that I haven't gotten into in the last year. Without making promises, you should start seeing more blog posts from me.
Until next time...