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.
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.