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What’s in a Name?

March 23, 2013

This is my 42nd new blog, give or take a few. The last few have been connected to my real name, which I have discovered to be a problem. You see, I am a middle school teacher, and inevitably, some of my students found my blog. My principal read, or at least heard about, my blog during my first year teaching; that led to a mild rebuke that I should be careful what I write there for public consumption. In subsequent years, students talked me into adding them onto Myspace and then facebook, although not that many. I’ve had no major disasters as a result, and I suspect the students in question right now are innocent in their curiosity. That being said, I think I’ve played with fire for too long.

There’s a couple of major issues at play. One is that some of my content, while certainly less than R-rated, is really only appropriate for adult readers. The other is that, as for so many others, writing is cathartic for me, and at times I use my blog space to vent about my professional life; sometimes about incidents with specific students, colleagues, and administrators, and sometimes about American public education in general. I have alwaysΒ strivenΒ to be not-too-specific and never use real names, but still– those who know, if they read it, would realize I am writing about them.

So, in what I have to admit is a reactionary move to the discovery of my other blog by students this past week, I now begin anew, again. I hardly expect complete anonymity– those I initially invite to read this will know exactly who I am– but, for now, my only goal is to prevent anyone who types my real name into Google from finding the old blog. Even if they do, it’s now set to private.

Next is the matter of picking a new name. Giving oneself a “screen name” is no easy task. If you’re committed, this name is going to be with you for years. It’s your Internet identity– maybe not your only one, but if you’re attaching it to your blog, and you want your blog to succeed, it’s a significant investment. So I agonized for a few days over a new name, one that did not in any way feature my real name, as my last blog name did.

The other part of my old blog name was “writes,” and I wanted to include some form of the word in this name as well, as that is the whole point: I’m here to write, moreover, toΒ motivate myself to write. A big part of why I “get in my own way” when it comes to motivating myself to write is my ADD. I simply don’t do well on concentrating on any one thing for a long time and I am easily distracted; in fact, I probably distract myself more than any external impetus does. That has led some friends to apply the name “squirrel” to me, not really equating me so much to the squirrel itself, as to how an attention-deficient individual is so easily distracted by something like a squirrel…

They meant it as a term of endearment, and I take it as one. But I’ve always kind of admired squirrels themselves. Sure they’re rodents, and some may see them as pests, but I, for one, think they’re cute, and admire their food-gathering skills and awesome jumping ability. In any case, this is me, Squirrelly Writer, for the forseeable future, and I hope you’ll jump along with my mind from time to time.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2013 11:05 am

    Welcome back. Great first post! Great name. I can’t wait until Julie sees it!


  2. March 23, 2013 4:32 pm

    Sorry to hear about your blog controversy, but hopefully your 42nd blog will be a success. Are you getting a new name on LadyOrNot as well? I’m sure it’s hard to find that balance between the need for privacy and the desire to have people read your writing.


    • March 26, 2013 10:50 am

      It is a difficult balance to find. I have never done well with complete anonymity because, I hate to admit, I like credit for my work. That’s also why I want to blog, and not just write in a private journal. I enjoy the interaction.


  3. March 24, 2013 4:19 am

    I am so pleased you have done this. You can have so much more fun now that you are anonymous. The mask provides freedom. Enjoy it my friend!


  4. March 24, 2013 5:43 am

    Glad to read to back from you.
    I also get distracted with a passing bee or mosquito, I know the feeling.
    Great come back post.


  5. March 24, 2013 9:16 am

    I dig the new name. And I love squirrels. I know they’re rodents, but I pretend they’re not. We used to have some squirrels come to our house and we’d feed them peanuts by hand. πŸ™‚ But anyway… Sorry about the blog controversary. I worry about that sometimes but meh. I’m glad you decided to create a new blog rather than just leaving forever. πŸ™‚


    • March 26, 2013 10:56 am

      Glad you like the name πŸ™‚ I have tried to feel meh most of the time. But truth be told, this profession makes you more liable to public judgment. Teachers are already fighting negative stereotypes. I’d prefer to get up on my First Amendment soapbox, but I’m about to move to another state and try to find a new job there, so it’s likely best to lay low. But don’t worry, I’ll never leave forever. I love writing (and, sad to say, attention) too much. Also, cute as my squirrel is, I don’t think anything can ever out-cute your puppy πŸ˜€


  6. March 25, 2013 2:24 am

    Welcome back. I love the new name πŸ™‚


  7. March 25, 2013 6:21 pm

    I am glad to have found your blog, I am going to enjoy checking you out in my “new” eyes! And hopefully add some good comments from time to time! I was a teacher “once upon a time,” too! I would probably have to be careful if I still were because I spill a lot of my guts on my posts!


    • March 26, 2013 10:59 am

      Thank you! I’m sorry you missed out on my old blog. I’ll re-blog some of the best posts there I am sure. To be fair, I need to visit yours! I really appreciate you making the jump over from Becca’s place. You could probably teach me a lot about patience in this education profession!


  8. March 31, 2013 2:48 pm

    I hope you can find the right balance of candor and exposure here; I, of course, understand your predicament all too well. As for squirrels: I love ’em. There are a pair that live in the trees outside my classroom, and they often entertain and delight me.


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I teach, drink coffee, and occasionally write stuff.

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