20 Blogs I Wish Were Around When I Started Teaching

663075_20_yard_lineWhen I first started out, I was living by myself far away from home. I didn’t have any friends in the community outside of the school. And those were either other band directors or band parents. I didn’t do anything to really try to keep in contact with college friends, I sort of had the Lone Ranger type approach.

That was way back in 2002. My how things have changed! †Now, education prep programs all over seem to be requiring students to read and comment on blogs as part of their education. With that being said, I have seen quite a rise in the number of educational blogs out there since I started blogging two years ago.

I have seen a handful of blogs come and go. At one point, some of us (at times, even I did) thought this one was going to disappear. As I explore edublogs, I realize that some of them are terribly helpful, some of them are quite critical, and some of them are just downright emotionally draining; each one has its own special flavor, and there’s really nothing wrong with that. I thought I would go through my Google Reader tonight and find a handful of blogs that I think are really helpful to new teachers. I’m simply going to list these alphabetically to try to circumvent any bickering about favorites or whatever!

  1. Angela Maiers
    One of the most useful blogs around, Angela presents tons of information that can literally be taken into the classroom the very next day. It’s almost like having a professional education colsultant just sitting in the next room. I cannot recommend her blog highly enough.
  2. Betty’s Blog – Timely Teacher Talk
    Betty is retired and she is now a substitute teacher. Plus she lives in Texas. I think every young teacher needs some more experienced teachers we can look up to and learn from. Betty sort of helps fill this role (at least in the blogging world) for me. She seems to be extremely patient (can you imagine teaching 6th graders for 20 years???). I almost think that this is what my mother would be doing if she had taught school.
  3. Close Enough for Jazz
    If you’re not into the whole music scene, this one may not interest you. But this is a list of blogs that I wish were around when I started teaching, and I’m a band director. It’s fun for me to get a perspective of a choir teacher, and I enjoy the way he writes.†The Pickle Maestro actually began blogging around the same time that I did, so that’s kinda fun too.
  4. Dangerously Irrelevant
    One of the more prolific blogs in the edublogging circles, Scott McLeod manages to present material that at least makes you think. It’s not always practical for a classroom, but he manages to avoid dwelling on educational policy all of the time and his posts always come with a great presentation.
  5. The Doc Is In
    Dr. Pezz†presents a sort of smorgasbord of thoughts and ideas. Some can be taken and used by teachers, others just makes you laugh. He even wrote a guest post: Are Classroom Rules Needed? on my blog. What a great guy!
  6. Docere Est Discere
    This guy has been struggling through student teaching and has shown a great deal of resiliance through the process. What new teacher wouldn’t be inspired by that? He’s almost done!
  7. dy/dan
    Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a†huge nerd. I love logic problems, sudoku, crosswords, and Scrabble. Dan Meyer has a solid blog that appeals to both my inner nerd as well as the greedy little kid who wants something he can take and apply.
  8. Dynamite Lesson Plan
    I recently discovered this blog and it looks to be a real solid find! †One of the cool things he has is a list of his†top 50 posts. This helps new visitors kind of get a feel for his writing and see if it looks like they’ll enjoy reading the blog. Damien has at least one other blog (Postcards from the Funny Farm), but this one seems to be more directly related to teaching.
  9. I Want To Teach Forever
    Mr. D has been teaching a little less time than I have. He is in Boston now, after having left the beautiful Rio Grande Valley (still not quite sure why anyone would leave Texas to go to New England). He definitely has a heart for helping other teachers not struggle as they learn the ropes.
  10. Infinite Teaching Machine
    ITM is a blog aimed at helping teachers and students thrive in the 21st century. What this means is that the blog often offers helpful tips that can realistically be applied in the real world. I smiled this morning when I came across yesterday’s post about Tools for Teachers, especially in light of my recent post about Information Overload.
  11. It’s Not All Flowers and Sausages
    Rarely practical, but often snarky. Mimi seems to have an interestingly cynical, yet astute way of observing problems around her. Not enough complaining to turn me off of her blog entirely, I think it is healthy to have some outlet for the furstrations that can happen in education. Plus, right when you think your life is bad, you read her blog and see how she puts a humorous twist on her situation, and things begin to cheer up…at least for a while.
  12. JD2718
    Besides appealing to the math nerd part of me, some of the coolest stuff this blog offers are his cool teacher pay comparisons. If you’re looking for a job in New England (especially in NYC), be sure to check out his blog. If you’re interested in Teaching Union information, this is also the place to go. I’m not interested in either, but the math nerd in me still wins when I subscribe!
  13. Joanne Jacobs
    Not a teacher, but Joanne is a journalist. She has now turned her energy toward education. This is a great combination, and she frequently brings up stories that are relevant to all people involved in education. While she doesn’t usually post stuff that can be helpful in a classroom, she usually has enough links to where practical information is only a few clicks away.
  14. Learn Me Good
    Mr. Teacher and I both†teach in Texas and are around the same age. Since discovering his blog, we have forged a friendship and I can definitely recommend his blog to anyone involved in education. His humor is similar to Mimi’s of†It’s Not All Flowers and Sausages, but his posts tend to be a bit more light-hearted than hers. Definitely a fun blog!
  15. Miss Cal.Q.L8
    A brand new teacher (and a brand new blogger), Miss Cal.Q.L8 is learning how to do the whole education thing. Her blog is a reflection of that, and it’s going to be fun to watch her grow through the next few years. As a first year teacher, this would have been exactly what I needed.
  16. Music Matters Blog
    Natalie is††a young music teacher. She’s a Christian, and from what I can tell about her from her blog and Twitter, she seems like a just all around great woman. Again, if you don’t teach music, you probably don’t need to go to her blog, but it won’t hurt you to visit anyway! There are quite a few links that she shares that are really helpful, especially to someone who is teaching private lessons. I wish I would have had access to a blog like this when I was teaching lessons full time!
  17. MusTech.Net
    The mastermind behind the 100 Music Education Bloggers project, and the co-creator of the Music Education Blog Carnival with me, Dr. Joseph Pisano is inspiring. I really enjoy reading his blog from time to time, and also reading him as he inspires other music educators to blog about their experiences.
  18. Seuss ex Machina
    This is another student teacher blog. John here has been blogging since before he began his final year of college, and he has now blogged almost through an entire semester of student teaching band. I have really enjoyed reading of his experiences, and I can relate. I will be interested to see how things change as he begins teaching for real next year. Again, this would be really inspiring for me when I first began teaching.
  19. Successful Teaching
    Tons of links and information that is directly applicable to use in the classroom. Pat is one of my blogging heros!
  20. Teacher Magazine Blogboard
    The Blogboard is almost like a sports highlight real. Some of the posts are useful, some are entertaining, and others is merely informational. What this does, though, is give you a sort of pulse on the edublogging community. If you subscribe to this blog alone, you’ll end up being exposed to a handful of different blogs every week.

Please check these blogs out! I have no doubt that you can find some great new material and inspiration here. If you know of other blogs that would be great for first year teachers, please feel more than welcome to share them in the comments!

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Thanks for checking out this list! Please share it with the rest of the world by submitting it to social media sites (such as del.icio.us or StumbleUpon), linking to it from your blog, or tweeting about it on Twitter. Of course, you are highly encouraged to subscribe to my blog as well!

About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

38 Comments on 20 Blogs I Wish Were Around When I Started Teaching

  1. Thanks so much for including me! I’m truly honored! Glad to see that I recognized some of the blogs that I also read on a daily basis plus some new ones I need to check out. So glad your blog is on my daily read list too!

  2. Great, bookmarking this since I’m too sleepy now. Have you ever read California Teacher Guy? He went private but will add people if asked. His old school banned him from blogging and he never mentioned names or anything. CRAZY but he’s a great blogger!

    • But you come from a totally different perspective. What you have to say is inspirational to someone who is in the trenches suffering through a miserable first year (or student teaching semester). Hang in there and keep doing what you’re doing!

  3. Joel- We started in this space almost around the same time, and I feel like we have taken this journey together! I am so honored to be on this list of amazing bloggers that I were models for both of us! What a model you have become. You continually inspire, share graciously, and encourage newbies like us that this process is so worth the time and effort. Keep it up, friend!

    • Outstanding! Thanks. While we may both be learning the blogging ropes together, I think you have a bit of a head start on me as far as education goes. :)

  4. Thanks for making this list…..there really needs to be a more comprehensive list or database of edu bloggers so we can readily support one another. I love reading what other people are going through and exploring their joys. I find that sharing my ideas, is what really brings more together…..

    Looking forward to reading more from you…..

  5. Wow, what a surprise to see my blog listed in your top 20! Thanks for your kind words. I’m excited to check out the other blogs you have listed now, too. Thanks for providing such a great site for teachers!

  6. I think this is a really neat site. Its interesting to compare/contrast the different teaching techniques from when we were kids to the current generations. Social Networking/Blogging/interactive media, etc have all become such high demand and almost essential to teach children these days. So many things are based around the internet that the typical style of teaching is out dated. Thanks for the list– they will be exciting to check out!

  7. Just dropped by after your post caught my eye on the 31 day challenge. Like the list ;) Nice job. I’m a full time mum now, but in a past life I was a primary and music teacher. Wish I’d known about these blogs then too…!

  8. I’ll echo others and say ‘thank you’ for including me on your list. I appreciate the kind words. As you note, I’m blogging about leadership issues, not teaching issues. Hopefully I’ll get some more school administrators on board so they can support innovative teaching!

  9. This is one blog I wish I would have discovered months ago – I will pass this on to my staff.
    Thanks for putting this together
    Garry

  10. Following you here from Pro-blogger’s challenge. Great list! I started my blog a couple of years ago for my college writing students, so they could stay connected to the writing process and make a difference with their words. That blog has now evolved, but as an educator first and foremost, I appreciate the quality of the list you have here. Great blog too.

    Maria

  11. Thank you for including me in the list. Being in this company challenges me to make even more relevant and helpful content. I’ll be putting all these blogs on my Google Reader. A great resource, thanks for making it.

    • Good point, Matthias. The thing is, Larry’s blog doesn’t really apply to my field of teaching music. Definitely a good blog if you are in the language arts field, though.

  12. Oh, GREAT! MORE blogs to add to my reader! Gah!

    I’m only going on what I hear from others (never having been to Texas myself), but I can probably come up with a BUNCH of reasons why someone would want to leave Texas for New England – or were you being facetious?

    • No way. I love the music education system that is set up in Texas. And the San Antonio Spurs. And real Mexican food. Too many disadvantages to leaving here. :)

  13. I am not the author of this blog but do follow it and recommend it often. I have read Angela for the past couple of years and the ideas she has in her cornerstone pages as well as her blog are fantastic. She is so full of behavior managment ideas and curriculum ideas that she put it into a book as well as on her website. Going into a classroom (from title 1) for the first time this year- I can’t tell you how many ideas I snarfed from her. She makes my life easier with her ideas, and makes me laugh or think when I read her blog!

  14. Hi! I found you via Problogger. I taught from 97 – 2005, so just a few years after you started, I stopped. :D My main site I lived on as a teacher from 2002 and on, was teachersnet.com. It would’ve been great if I’d had an inkling about any teacher blogs!

    Great list of teaching related blogs!

  15. Some of these I know, others I will check out.

    Student teaching is a hard thing to do, and finding a job in this economy is even tougher. I admire those of you who are going into the profession because we are going to need really good teachers, especially for the inner cities, to replace those of us who are moving on.

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