...Um, because Ms. Smith made me?
Lol, jk. (That’s, “laughing out loud, just kidding” in teenspeak, that fictional language adults seem scared of...?)
I’m Sarah Almeda, a sophomore at New Milford High School. Somehow, I can have twitter conversations with my teachers and my principal. Somehow, they led to Mr. Sheninger giving me the opportunity to write a guest post on the importance of student blogging. I’m a blogger at heart, as I have been since 4th grade. That’s probably why I was actually excited when my chemistry teacher, Ms. Smith, opened the year by telling us that part of our assessment in the course would be the regular maintenance of a blog. This included posts twice a week that connect chemistry to our world.
Image credit: http://gregmillerprincipal.com/tag/blogging/
Now, I’ve posted almost daily to a personal blog for years and I’m grateful for the decision. I’m told I’m a very good writer. I’m not trying to boast; my writing visibly improved when I started blogging and I can tell you why. Teens turn to the internet for validation, myself included. Why? When I post to my blog, I don’t write to impress a teacher. My audience is the World Wide Web, which is literally worldwide. I attract viewers from all around the globe. When a post gets attention, some views, likes, comments, or even subscriptions, I look at the post and think, Wow; I had some valid ideas that a complete stranger could relate with. What did they like? How do I turn these visitors into regular readers? When a post gets no attention, I then think, What would be more interesting? What will lead viewers to my blog? How do I get a response?
Rather than having a teacher hammer the importance of good writing into my head, I get to feel it in a very real world situation with immediate feedback. I don’t just learn about writing, either. Yesterday, my friends were genuinely interested to hear me talk about how one day our phones may literally be coated with nanodiamonds. I learned that from an article I blogged about. Now I’m always learning a great deal about topics that I decide are interesting to blog about, like the chemistry behind a bad hair day. Not to mention that my chemistry blog is a blessing for someone whose homework always seems to disappear rather inopportunely. I can put an assignment on my blog in the “Homework" category, protect it from copycat classmates, and email the password to Ms. Smith so she can view it whenever she needs to. Not convinced yet? I learned HTML coding when finding ways to better format blog posts, and it’s become a very useful skill.
A personal blog’s also the perfect place to vent my feelings. After articulating my emotions to an Internet audience, I realize I’m better understanding myself. In an Internet world where that wretched teenspeak is the preferred language on nearly all social media platforms (bc my insta captions/ tumblr posts r like so articulate lol jk idec) blogging is a practice that expands learning way beyond the walls of the classroom. It encourages self-improvement and dedication in a way that I don’t believe can be taught as well as it can be experienced. And it's addictively fun!
So, pull a Ms. Smith move! Teach kids to blog! Start one yourself! Trust me, you’ll find the time, you’ll find the passion, you’ll find out a lot about the world, and you might even find out more about yourself. And watch out for me! You can find my chemistry blog by clicking HERE, and I’m even building my own website with the awesome tools I learned in business class at NMHS.
-Sarah “Shmarah” Almeda
Please take a moment and leave a comment for Sarah. Not only is she a talented blogger, but an artist as well (see her self portrait below). She, like many of her NMHS classmates, fully take advantage of everything that NMHS has to offer to advance their learning and follow their passions.
Image credit: Sarah Almeda