Mrs. DeRaps Guest Blog: Why blogging?

Mrs. DeRaps is an English teacher with really great taste in YA lit. She runs her own blog — DeRaps Reads — and is a regular visitor here at Novel Novice. And since she uses YA lit in the classroom, she’s got a really great perspective on the things we discuss here at Novel Novice. She’s kindly agreed to guest blog here occasionally about her adventures in YA lit, teaching & the blogging world. We’re really thrilled to have her contributions. You can find all of her posts compiled under the “Classroom” tab at the top of this page. In the meantime, enjoy:

Why blog? It must take so much time. There’s so much else that needs to be done. Does anyone even read it? It must be overwhelming. Where do you find the time? Why blog?

All of these questions (and more) have been asked of me, not by my students or friends, but by fellow teachers. I usually start to defend the reasons why I blog. Because students need models of good writing. Because I am now connected with other teachers, teenagers, and book enthusiasts from around the world. Because I learn about new books before they come out in stores. Because.

I hate how I feel when I am asked these questions. I don’t like having to defend a reading and writing platform that has become a passion for me. I feel like most of my colleagues would not question me with such skepticism if I were writing poems in my spare time. Or were writing a novel. Or conducting research.

I feel like some of these teachers don’t understand what’s happening in the online book blogging world. That there are thousands of readers, young and old, who are talking about books on a regular basis. Regular as in daily. Hourly. I know that they don’t understand this, because they are amazed whenever I show them a blog that’s maintained by a teen. They are incredulous. I am incredulous.

For all that we hear about teens who only know how to write text messages and send tweets, there are some amazing blogs that are created and updated by teenagers.  I feel that, as an English teacher, I need to keep up with what teenagers are actually reading and writing about. We have a whole generation who’s online and writing and reading and discussing and creating, and it’s not for credit. There’s no grade. It’s for fun.

And that’s where I want to be. I want to read and write in a world where teenagers and adults mingle and discuss books and authors for fun. Not for extra credit, but because they can’t help but be excited about the release of a Hunger Games book.  I want to show my students that there’s a type of reading and writing that they can engage in after high school. That most adults don’t sit down and write an analytical essay about symbolism in Hamlet, but plenty of grown ups are writing book reviews and waiting in long lines to meet authors at book stores.

I blog because it’s real. Yes, it’s online and that seems fake, but I have met some amazing readers and writers who blog about their thoughts and their reactions to books. It’s exciting.  It makes me a better teacher because I am tuned-in to the reading needs of my students.  It has made me an honest-to-goodness lifelong reader and writer. And that’s exactly what I want to be.

3 thoughts on “Mrs. DeRaps Guest Blog: Why blogging?

Add yours

  1. I really appreciate what is said about blogging vs. research and other endeavors envisioned to be more acceptable in nature. Thanks for helping me discover a new blog to subscribe to!

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