Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top 7 Newbie Teaching Blog Lessons


This blog is so tiny, humble and insignifcant in the scheme blogging world, but it has brought me some small measure of happiness in 2012.  Why?  New connections with some other inspirational bloggers, a much needed jumpstart, and a place to reflect that I hoped might inspire others in the way I had been newly inspired come to mind.  Today, as the New Year approaches, I thought I would share a few things I've learned so far as a very newbie teacher-blogger.  Here is my top 7 list, in no particular order:

1.   Find other bloggers who inspire you.
Like anything I've ever wanted to learn a lot about, finding experts/mentors has been so important.  In examining why a cadre of certain bloggers sparked an interest for me in this virtual world, I realized that what was most essential was the fact that I connected with their approach to teaching and learning.  Through the units and lessons they blogged about, to their comments about their kids/practice, something resonated for me consistently. I felt like, "Yup, I feel the same way," or "Cool, I want to try that out." These are the people that made me want to jump in, and hopefully you have those people out there as well.
2.   Invest the money in a custom blog design.
This one was simple for me.  I hate to admit it, but I judge a book by its cover.  The same is true of blogs for me, and I tend to find myself most attracted to ones that are well designed and easy to navigate. Since I had no idea how to make that happen, I hired an expert (Thanks, Megan!). Prices for this service can range from crazy expensive to quite reasonable.  Let your budget be your guide.
3.   Blog about teaching and education. That's it.
The occasional personal post is actually nice, because it brings a human face to the blog and I actually like that.  However, I tend to come back to the blogs whose content is consistently about teaching 90% of the time.
4.   Connect, comment and follow.
The teaching blogosphere is a community of virtual colleagues, and blogs are a social enterprise.  If you want to learn from others and share your own teaching experience, it makes sense to make your presence known, comment when you read something cool, thank others when something they post inspires or helps you, and so on.  We all like to know that at least somebody out there is reading, right? I've found that when I hit follow, say hello, and give kudos to others, my community of colleagues grows.
5.   Be yourself.
After a long day of teaching the little people, bless you if you have time to create an alternate personality--I sure don't.  As in real life, being a genuine person shows and is much more enjoyable than being inauthentic.
6.   Be nice.
Enough said.
7.   Don't be afraid.
You may think that you have nothing to share that a soul would be interested in, but you are probably wrong.  We do important jobs each day, and we can help each other. Don't let fear hold you back from sharing your thinking.

I'm sure that there are other lists of suggestions for getting started, and I'm guessing that those of you who are much more successful than I might even be able to things I haven't even considered.  If that's the case, please comment.  I'd love to know what you've learned!

Next time, I’ll be back to give a New Years shout out to those mentor blogs who sparked the inspiration for me (see #1).  In the meantime, I hope you're all enjoying your vacation--I know I am.

16 comments :

  1. You make some great points! Even though I follow many teaching blogs (over 100), I need to cut it down. I'll admit that I'm following many because of a giveaway or something, but I'm drawn to and closely follow those where I can relate to the author. Maybe they specifically teach fifth grade (which is a bonus if they offer freebies!), or they make cute things and share, or they are an organization freak like me, or they have a great sense of humor that shines through their posts. But there needs to be some sort of a connection. And as I look at my blog, I definitely need to keep some of your points in mind. Thanks for giving me something to think about!

    Diane
    Fifth in the Middle

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    1. I follow sooo many myself for similar reasons. I think I mean that within that, having a few that you hold close to your heart as the shining stars that guide you, kwim? And I love your blog, as is!

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    1. Aww---thank you! I'm heading over to visit you right now. And I do believe that if you are trying to accomplish them as I am, you should count your kind words among your random acts of kindness this season :)

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  3. Great points and so true! I will respond more often. I read always, but respond rarely... I will change that in the New Year beginning today!

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  4. Hey, mama! Hope your holiday was a good one. We're off to see my dad in NYC tomorrow, though I'm currently coughing up a lung. Let's make sure to get together in the New Year, and thank you for visiting me here. Promise: no department emails with links will be coming your way. I should have made #8 = humility...

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  5. I think that commenting is the hardest. I always read, but it is sometimes hard for me to think of a thoughtful comment. I so enjoy reading your blog. You were one of the first people I started following who actually commented back to me! It meant a lot for such a mega-newbie like me:)
    Brandi
    My Teacher Friend

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    1. Brandi--how is it that I wasn't following your blog?! Is it super new? You were one of the first people to follow mine and actually comment--here I am giving my tips, and I went over to your blog and realized I wasn't following!? I am so in love with your button--seriously cool. I know just what you mean about commenting. I usually had something to say, but thought people would think my comments were dorky. I decided that even if it was just to say thank you, I was going to try to do it more often.

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    2. I took your advice and got a design! Megan did it and I am so pleased. I mentioned you:) Here is the post:

      Staryy-eyed over blog design

      Thanks for the support!! You inspire me {see #1!}


      Brandi
      My Teacher Friend

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    3. I love it! Isn't it nice to have your blog look more pulled together? Megan is awesome.

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  6. As I new blogger myself, I totally agree with you. Thanks for sharing this post! It is sometimes nice to see that new bloggers have things in common. I apsire to be one of those bloggers that has thousands of followers, I just cannot seem to find the time to keep up with it. But, that is going to be my new years resolution!!

    jules416.blogspot.com

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    1. I know--so many resolutions are brewing up right now!

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  7. I totally agree with #3- content. It's easy to stray from it (guilty!), but it is first and foremost why people come to teaching blogs. It's nice to see the personal side mixed in, but content is king. Thanks for the design cudos, too!

    Megan
    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

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  8. Hi,
    Thanks for this post- just found it on 5 on the 5th! I just started blogging and this is great advice, especially #7. I can overthink things and want everything to be just perfect, but I'm just starting out, so I've decided to take the plunge and learn as I go! Again, thanks for spreadin' the love!
    Karli
    Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

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