8 Ways Blogging Makes Me A Better Teacher General by Joel Wagner - January 14, 2008July 2, 20109 I have found this year that I have been making a lot of progress on my own personal teaching style. It’s my 6th year to teach, and I begin what could be seen as the downhill slope of teaching. Now that I am pretty adequate at getting children to be and stay quiet throughout class so that I can teach them, I run the risk of slacking off and stagnating in my teaching technique. The whole if it’s not broke, don’t fix it mentality could very easily take over. But that’s not the case with me. Why not? I believe that a lot of it has to do with my own personality of one who pursues excellence. But I think that blogging also plays a key role in it. So I have put together a list of 8 ways that I think blogging make me a better teacher. Self-Reflection If it weren’t for blogging, I would honestly get home and focus on my personal life. Visions of cafeteria duty sure wouldn’t dance in my head until I rolled into the parking lot the next morning. As an edublogger, I find that I am having to continually come up with new content to write about. Storytelling Dan wrote an awesome article entitled Design + Storytelling where he discusses the corolation between storytelling and teaching skills. Awesome stuff. He writes: Storytelling is a skill that lends itself so well to the classroom, regardless of your formal training. He goes on to write: I’m just going to add here that the person who can manipulate those small structural cues will not merely tell a better story but succeed in every field for which controlling someone’s emotional response is a priority. And I can’t name any career outside the hard sciences for which it isn’t a priority. Presentation I am a natural nerd. I am an auditory learner. I hate group work. I hate worksheets. I don’t really care for videos or games. My favorite method of learning is lectures. I don’t know how to take notes, because I hear things and absorb the information. That makes me a lousy teacher, because not everyone else in the world learns that way. In the blogging world, I don’t care if I put pictures in the posts. Even so, a number of people have told me that they really enjoy when I do put them there. So I do it. The same goes for when I differentiate my teaching and try to help people of many different learning styles. Marketing You don’t get 146 blog subscribers without at least a little bit of shameless self-promotion. As an elective teacher, marketing is vital to the success of my program, and it is important in keeping people enrolled in my class. Problem-Solving As I said before, blogging forces me to come up with stuff to write about. As I do that, I am forced to analyze some of the situations in my life and try to find out why the work or why they don’t work. I like to think of this blog as a resource rather than simply an online venting platform. Effective resources have answers to their questions. Networking If I don’t have the answers, someone else does. I read other blogs and do research online. Often, that simple effort will lead me in the direction of an answer. Reading other blogs also helps me to gain new perspectives. These are perspectives that I wouldn’t have without blogging. Even if I were to talk with every teacher in my school on a regular basis, they often don’t open up as much as many bloggers seem to online. Entertainment I like reading blogs. It fills up my free time. Some of you people are great writers. Comments Some of the most learning I do is when I read comments that people post on my blog and even on other blogs. The depth of information that the readers have is great. I have found that those people who leave comments despite not having a blog really add a lot to the conversation as well. I really wish I could encourage more of you to get a blog. If you don’t have one and at least want to try your hand at writing a little something for a blog, mine is always available for guest bloggers. Click here to find out more. Joel WagnerJoel 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.