Monday, May 9, 2016

That Cheating X and a Bunch of Yahoos



This was my fourth year doing the A to Z Challenge. Like every prior year, my "theme" was business as usual, just fitting what I'd normally write to the letter of the day. 

I made two modifications for the A to Z, though. I add a picture on Saturdays (I don't normally post on Saturdays), and I plan out my Tuesday what ifs early on. (This year I was late and I didn't have them figured out until mid March.) Because Z fell on a Saturday, I knew I'd work in a picture of my business, Zizi Rho Designs, somehow. 

So, besides those two exceptions, my plan for A to Z was to go to work and wait for something interesting to happen. (Considering this has worked out for me in the past, I wasn't too worried that it would work for me this year.) 

Then I just had to figure out how to make that "interesting thing" fit the letter of the day. Since I write my posts for the week over the previous weekend, I had a few days to ponder how to get things to work. 

It's a magical moment when I finish my last post for April. Although, by "finish", I mean the moment when I know what that last post is going to be. (Sitting down and writing it is kind of an afterthought.) 

It was the penultimate Friday of April. I had Mr. C's English classes, and things were going well. Which did not bode well for a sub looking for blog fodder. 

I had lucked out the previous day. I had to cheat a bit to get an X title, but as the incident involved cheating, I was stoked. I love it when things work on multiple levels. 

But Friday was going smoothly. And then 4th period walked in. There were three boys... 

After the conversation that formed the post, I sat back down at the teacher's desk. I looked back over at the boys, still not working, and I thought, "What a bunch of yahoos..." 

And I quickly clamped my hands over my mouth as the laughter burst from me. Because kiddos already think I'm strange (I'm a sub, after all), and bursting into laughter when nothing was happening is a little disturbing. 

Yahoos... starts with Y... 

It was in that moment that I knew. I was done! All that remained was in typing it up. 

So, now I wonder if I'll attempt it next year. Keeping up with comments is time consuming. I debate. 

By the end of the Challenge, I was number 165 on the list. I got to blog #350. I did skip some (those that had stopped doing the challenge, those that I had nothing to say to, those that I was already following, and a couple others that irked me for some undefinable reason). Of those I visited, 103 never once commented back. (I followed every blog I left a comment on. It made it easier to find them again when they would comment back.) 

I know it's difficult to keep up. And my blog is not for everyone. So, I understand. But I wasn't going to worry about keeping up with blogs that didn't reciprocate. 

However, of the bunch that I did comment on, 75-ish responded back. Only a couple of those visited me first. Mostly, every repeat commenter I gained was someone I visited first. This is my observation for the month. 

In the back of my mind, though, I'm wondering about X. How might I deal with X if I do the Challenge next year? 

Which leads to a question for the organizers of this thing. April 2017 has 5 Sundays. Which gives us 25 non-Sunday days. One less than the letters of the alphabet. How fix? Skip X? Or which Sunday gets pulled in for the Challenge? (The first Sunday is the 2nd, the last Sunday is the 30th.)

45 comments:

  1. Yahoo! That's funny. Hey, it helped you finish.
    A lot of the ones I visited didn't return comments, so you had a good average.

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  2. Wow! You actually kept track of numbers! I guess that's a great way to know what was/n't working for you. Congrats on making it through 350 blogs and receiving approximately 75ish responders. Those are some good HIGH numbers! At 10 comments a day for 5 days a week, I was just under you at 210 total comments given for the month. You make me feel like I should up my game next year! ;)

    And speaking of next year, I hope you participate. I enjoyed reading all of your posts and learning about what life as a sub entails. It's certainly never a perspective I had considered before having only ever been in the student position. :)

    Interesting problem you've brought up for 2017. Can't wait to see what A-Z organizers do to fix that! :)

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    1. I didn't actually "keep track". I just haven't started deleting the blogs I followed for the challenge. (They each got their own "group" so I could keep up.) I just took advantage of that for my tallies.

      I only hit five blogs a day for six days a week. So, I was way under you. I started at 165, so 350 - 165 = 185.

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  3. Huh I'll be interested in seeing what they do next year :)

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  4. WTG on the stats you kept! I would say I visited 500 blogs during the challenge, but I varied them; I would do blocks at a time from the middle, the beginning, the end, etc. On average I got back about 20% to 30% of visitors after I commented on their's. I was following blocks of blogs as part of my minion duties and would comment on some blogs for days in a row with no return visit. I found that interesting.

    I wonder too why some people sign up; is it to discipline themselves to write every day or to try to build blog readership? I do it because I end up finding lots new blogs out there that I would never have found if it wasn't for the challenge.

    That is an interesting thing to address for next year with 5 Sundays.......

    betty

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    1. I wouldn't say I "kept" stats. Just happened to have numbers from my Feedly.

      Very interesting that you got so few responses. I know there were a few of my regulars who weren't doing much commenting due to life issues, so maybe some of them were having that issue as well.

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  5. I really appreciated your visits and enjoyed my visits to your blog. I did not keep track of how many I visited or how many visited me but it certainly inspired me to be a more dedicated blogger. Thanks for all your great posts.

    @Kathleen01930
    Blog

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    1. I didn't keep track so much as I followed everyone I visited for ease of finding them again if they did comment. In prior years, I found that the hardest--refinding blogs I had visited once but didn't follow. This way, if someone responded (like you did), all I had to do was move the feed to a different group so I could easily visit again.

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  6. This was awesome! Yahoos, indeed. And, what a source for A to Z. I love this.

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  7. It can be frustrating when you visit a lot of bloggers during the challenge, and very few visit you. In the years I did it, I was fortunate to pick up quite a few new followers.

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    1. I did pick up quite a few new followers. I'm glad not all of those I commented on responded back. I would never have been able to keep up with every single one. Those who did respond back were a very manageable number.

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  8. A great reflections post! I plan to solve the X problem by just writing X things you might like to know about me/or not! I saw that on another blog and I like the idea! X is the hardest of all the letters in my opionion. Especially if you don't want to repeat words you have used before. I am proud of how many blogs your made it to. And, like you, I was disappointed that so many people don't even bother to come see who you are when you comment on their blog. I wonder why they do the challenge??

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    1. I guess for some just writing every day is the challenge. Since that's my normal, I find the challenge in the blog hop portion.

      As for X, if it's on the right day of the week, I'll just knit something...

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  9. Last year, I noticed the same thing: that out of the new people who came to visit, it was because I visited them first. And not half the people I left a comment for actually returned the favor. It's a bit of a bummer. You expect to meet new bloggers, but they don't seem to want to do a thing to build a connection.

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    1. That really seems to be the way it works. I've found that it does build my audience, though, so that's why I continue to do it. And I wouldn't want everyone to return comments. I'd never be able to keep up. Which frees me to comment on just about everybody in the list the follows me, because I'm not worried about return comments.

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  10. I have to admit that I fell down on the job and had to work hard to get back...and I am still visiting because I want to. I love the yahoo's...almost sounds like a 1960's band like the Flintstone's Way-Outs. In the end I wanted it to still be fun and not feel stressed so I had to do things at my pace. As for people who don't comment....I follow some who never comment on my blog and don't even respond to what I write but I still look because I like what they talk about. It's my choice and I also choose not to be angry at their non response as I think...their loss:)

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    1. There are a couple blogs I may continue to follow because I find them interesting. I just didn't have time to follow them and those that were commenting during the Challenge. It's whatever works for you, really. And non-response is truly their loss.

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  11. One thing I try to do during the challenge is visit back to those who comment on mine. If I can't get to new blogs that day, I at least aim for that.

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    1. That's a good goal. It is hard to keep up.

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  12. It was a huge list. I'm impressed at you getting all the way up to 350. And that's a really good point about next year's calendar. I'm sure there would be a lot of people out there in favor of dropping X!

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  13. Great reflection! And I hadn't even looked at a calendar for next year. X is my favorite so I hope they don't skip it. Maybe combine X/Y?

    I love your fun approach to posts. :)

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  14. I like your approach to the A to Z because students of all ages are usually doing something noteworthy or funny. I did not do very well on visiting this year, but I did find new blogs to follow from those who visited me (yours included).

    I have had moments like that before where I nearly start laughing at thoughts in my head and appear to be going crazy to the outside world :)

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    1. My blog got its focus from my brother who liked the subbing stories but wondered at the other things I was posting.

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  15. I didn't get around to nearly as many as I hoped but I did find some fun and interesting blogs. I like how you came up with Y, lol.

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  16. There should be some kind of blogger's etiquette. Well, I guess there is, it's just there are also lots of rude people, on and offline.

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    1. I wasn't terribly upset about those that didn't reciprocate. I never would have been able to keep up if everyone did.

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  17. Hey Liz. You sound like me:)
    It was fun visiting you and I especially liked your 'X' and 'T'.
    Congratulations and hope to keep keep in touch (virtually) till we meet again --maybe here!

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    1. Thanks. I'll be around, posting almost daily. And you're in my Feedly, so I'll be able to find you again.

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  18. It was surprising that, even though I didn't write anything new, April was consumed with keeping up with comments. I'll do it next year, of course (unless I die), but almost a year before then will be nice. It will take a few more days until I'm fully back, though. I leave in a few minutes for the airport and won't be back from Florida until the weekend. Just wanted to "visit" first.

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  19. As a former substitute teacher, I enjoyed your posts. Have a lovely May. :-)

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    1. Then you've got some stories, too...

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    2. Usually, we substitutes have some real corkers, huh?

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  20. X and Y and sometimes Z are killers. I think cheating is rampant--or maybe it's just me. Congrats and WOW on the stats. I've been a sub and I've been a fulltime teacher--English, by the way, and loved the Yahoo inspiration. My advice to subs--revel in your weirdness. Own it and build it. It's fun for you and keeps the kids guessing. Who knows when a sub might go Ted Bundy on them :)( put the smiley face because I taught long enough be anal :) about references to sex :) or violence:) or threats to children :) which, of course, are jokes :)

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    1. Of course. Teachers say all sorts of things like that and only mean them as jokes. (Those that don't... Well, you can usually tell who they are. And stay far away from them.)

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  21. I always find a lot don't comment back, but then again if someone comments on mine I don't always rush to comment back, I figure I'll get to them all eventually as I make my way through the list so maybe more will comment in time. I do find I comment on a lot more than I get, but I just sit thinking to myself "think of the backlinks!". I did have a bunch of regular commenters this year and that fab group (yourself being one of them) made it all worth while!
    Debbie

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    1. Thanks.

      I don't so much mind the ones who don't comment back. I just wanted to make note of them. If they did, I'd never have been able to keep up. It was a close thing as is.

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  22. Liz, I found myself cringing when it came to those last alphabet prompts and like magic inspiration fell in my lap with the right subtopic to my All Things Vintage theme. I think your approach of fitting the alphabet with your daily blogging to be an outstanding way of doing things, if one is well organized. I am not such a person, so I need to stick with a clear theme and schedule posts. Next year I hope I can reach my goal of having all posts done before April 1st. *cross fingers* ;)

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  23. I suppose they could give everyone a "wild card day next year. So if life gets unbearable you could skip one day and still be good Challenge wise. Or they could extend it to May 1st. I hate to think of not having a Sunday off!

    So many, I think, get overwhelmed by the Challenge and therefore don't reciprocate like you'd expect. Also, there are those that are just in it for themselves and they haven't figured out yet that doesn't really work. I'm considering stating up front that I will not answer comments unless they have a question, but will reciprocate the visit.
    Barbara, blogging at Life & Faith in Caneyhead

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  24. Liz, if it makes you feel any better, I left comments on a good number of blogs and the visits were never reciprocated.

    I just want to say I enjoyed your posts from April. As a former teacher, I connected to some of the stuff you were sharing.

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    1. But just think about how many blogs we'd be following if everyone did respond.

      Thanks.

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  25. Even if I was responding back to a visit someone gave me, I made it a point to try and go back to their blog as often as I could. I had similar reactions. A few people I visited, never once visited me back. And if they did, it was a one and done deal. Even if I visited them several times (or all month in one case). I commented on someone else's reflections post that you could tell the people who never visited other people, because by Z they still had one to two comments. That would NEVER happen if you replied back to people or visited others before they visit you. Anyway, sorry for the long comment. I tend to go on and on.

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    1. That is so true. I could kind of tell who would respond back and who wouldn't by how many comments they had.

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