20 Blogs I Wish Were Around When I Started Teaching Blogging & Technology by Joel Wagner - April 5, 2009June 30, 201040 When 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! 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. 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. 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. 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. 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! 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! 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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! 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. 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! 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. 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! 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. 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. Successful Teaching Tons of links and information that is directly applicable to use in the classroom. Pat is one of my blogging heros! 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! 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! 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.