This week my subscriber list broke through the one thousand mark, which made me sit back and reflect for a moment.
That’s an awful lot of people!
When subscribers sign up, I send them an email, just asking for their most pressing issues and finding out a bit about their concerns and achievements. I will admit at this point that I was a bit dubious about this bit (my husband talked me round though).
What if I was deluged with comments? What if no-one at all replied? What about questions I couldn’t answer?
How much time was this going to take? As a free subscription service, I was concerned that it would have an impact on my paid work.
However, what I have found is that hearing from other people is an exciting and delightful part of my day. I never know what will be in my inbox in the morning, or from where in the world. I never know what will be today’s discussion point.
Very often, practitioners have just achieved a new job role (typically manager, room manager, EYP or Early Years Teacher) and their question is usually linked to some aspect of this – from revamping the home corner to having to be ‘the boss’ for the first time. These are very exciting emails and it is always wonderful to be able to celebrate practitioner’s successes as well as sharing in their reflective practice.
Sometimes the emails are from practitioners who may need a bit of support, because they have no network or are new to the Early Years Sector. These are very special emails because they demonstrate the power of the internet to connect people and help them to stay in contact. I also enjoy the bit of detective work that usually follows to find someone else in their geographical area/specialism/interests.
Keeping up to date and current with legislation, good practice, current theories, best websites etc. is a full time job and the majority of subscribers also mention this as a day to day challenge. I absolutely share these challenges! There are some great sites out there, depending on your particular interest, that do summarise a lot of this work – and I’m a big Twitter user (@kathybrodie) for just this reason!
And, of course, I get regular emails from settings and people who have trained with me. They usually start “I don’t know if you remember, but…. we played in the mud/made a tent outdoors/made Christmas cards/shared postcard stories…” It always gives me a smile in my heart when I think about that day’s training and how much fun we’d had, and it’s always brilliant to hear what the next stage in their development is.
The range and variety of emails, the locations around the world and the sheer enthusiasm for good early years practice never fails to delight and encourage me.
Do I regret anything about asking for subscribers comments?
I do get a lot of emails, all of which I reply to, and it does take a bit of time – but no regrets.
Honestly, it is the most enjoyable and interesting part of the day.
Updated 15th February 2016: Since writing this post, I’ve had more subscribers than ever, and the list is almost 3,000. The questions and comments are still a great way to start the day and I feel extremely honoured to have such an amazing community of people learning and sharing with me. Thank you every one!