Being on my best behaviour… Or… rewards for blogging

Sometimes it’s a weird universe, this blog universe. It’s like writing a diary and wishing someone would read it. In fact, it’s more like knowing people are reading it, but not knowing who they are (apart from people who accidentally do searches for ‘women farting in men’s faces’ who end up here by some random twist of boolean mathematics) and feeling strangely like I’m being the deliberate cause of voyeurism. I originally started blogging so friends and family could see what we’re up to without having to say ‘we’ve been to La Rochefoucauld today…’ and now it’s a bit more than that.

Yesterday, a site that I regularly post on, AngloINFO Poitou-Charente asked me to blog for them about life in the Poitou-Charentes. That’s pretty cool! The site has recently started running blogs (some back as far as August) and the P-C didn’t have one, so I’d offered my blogging services. I am nothing if not arrogant enough to assume my life is interesting to other people!

My new banner for AngloINFO

Well…. according to one of my old bosses, in all likelihood. She once put ‘be more humble’ as my perfomance target, since I’d just submitted a perfect threshold application. Threshold is what you (used to?) have to do in England to get onto the upper pay scale in teaching- or like an appraisal for pay. No-one I know ever failed it. It had 10 categories and I had worked extremely hard, having had a very average first couple of years teaching, to be ‘excellent’. I went from having ‘satisfactory’ lessons to having ‘excellent’ lesson observations. Anyone who believes this is a natural development is wrong. I know many ‘satisfactory’ teachers who are still just that. I’d started getting regional acknowledgement with my department (and VERY much with three of the department, who were brilliant – and even all the others who just turned up every day who were sound teachers, if a little dated) being awarded ‘Leading English Department’ for Lancashire. I was proud of that. Maybe that’s a sin, but hey-ho. I’d taken our results from mid-table to top-table. Out of 90-odd high schools, that’s pretty good going. We all worked hard.

And, as a reward for our hard work, I was told to be ‘more humble’ – obviously it’s okay to be good, just not tell everyone else about it!

My problem is, if I enjoy something – and that’s usually because I’m fairly successful at it! – I tend to want to share my enthusiasm. I could have handled it if she’s said ‘be less enthusiastic’ or ‘try to be mindful that not everyone is as excited about change as you are’ – but ‘be more humble’?!

How does one become more humble? Do you have to walk around rubbing your hands together like Uriah Heep, saying ‘I’m ever so ‘umble?’ Do you have to hide your light under a bushel, because that’s not okay either, according to Jebus. How would one know if one had become more humble? Is there a Hay-McBer assessment of humility? Can it be scientifically quantified?

I really don’t think I did myself ANY favours whatsoever by going and asking her how you become more humble and asking her when she’d know that I was more humble, and asking if my performance-related pay was related to my humility.

Yep. Humility is not on my list of qualities. Maybe that’s why I blog?

In all honesty, it’s as much about saying ‘this is a fabulous world’. I’m not so good at art. I’m good at photography (or, my camera is!) but I feel more comfortable with words. Words are my paint. And this is a lovely world I want to share with you!

Words, too, are my atoms. I can re-create in here a world for you that is my world here. That’s pretty cool. Words are better than atoms, for atoms must be finite. There are a limited number of atoms in this universe, surely. But new words come along every day. That’s pretty great. Mind you, on the science parallel, maybe the letters and punctuation are my elements, and I’m just putting them together into new compounds. And that’s pretty amazing.

So… blogging. Why do I do it? Not as a way to encourage voyeurism or through a lack of personal humility. Through a desire to share, to be connected, and also through a desire to create something that shows you my world. I like it here. It’s pretty. And we all need more pretty stuff in our life. It’s full of reality. A little bit of glamour never did anyone any harm. Neither did focusing on the positives. If it’s okay for Pollyanna, it’s okay for me. And if I’m a little bit like the ‘Brilliant’ character from The Fast Show, I make no apologies at all!

As Shirley Bassey says: “I am what I am, and what I am needs no excuses.”

I’m aware of the irony. This blog is an excuse for my blogging ; )

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2 thoughts on “Being on my best behaviour… Or… rewards for blogging

  1. Congrats on the new gig, Justine!

    I agreed with everything you said in this post…I also write because I’m good at it (and that’s not something I’m afraid to say). I don’t do fiction well, so I write about my life, and a few dozen people find that interesting enough to read about regularly. That’s good enough for me.

    As a former American living in Canada, I’ve noticed a subtle difference between the two countries: Americans often “toot their own horn” at every opportunity, but Canadians sometimes think of that behaviour as “bragging.” It can be quite frustrating!

    Wendy

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