Cut the Cord Personal by Joel Wagner - February 27, 2010June 30, 20100 For the first time since started my blog three years ago, I am going to be taking a break for at least a month. No writing, no checking stats, no emails, no nothing. In fact, I’m pulling the plug on my cable modem as soon as I finish writing this. This is not just a blog issue, but I am going to be away from Facebook almost entirely for a month. In fact, I deleted Facebook from my phone a couple of weeks ago and noticed a substantial improvement to my productivity at work. My free time isn’t spent checking to see who else is slacking off at work, but rather in avoiding the temptation to slack myself. I’ve been visiting some of the 6th grade band classes, making copies of sight-reading music, listening to recordings, studying my scores for contest and planning sectionals in addition to cleaning up the band hall and getting much more organized. Little things slip through the cracks and it’s easy to overlook so many of them or just put things off till later. My time at home will be much more useful as well. I’m excited that I am going to get my house cleaned up, continue running, begin working on a push-up program to do some cross-training along with the running, read like crazy, and spend a lot more time reflecting on things rather than having noise and information thrown at me. Oh yeah, my DVR is going to be saving up some shows and I’ll catch them all later. More noise gone. More focus gained. Will you do anything online then? I am going to continue checking my personal Twitter account through my iPhone. I can send updates to my personal Facebook account that way. I also will continue reading some blogs and other stuff online and sharing it on Twitter. Aside from the fact that I won’t update my blog, you probably won’t notice the absence. Oh yeah, I will also pay a few bills (electricity and water) online. But I will notice it. And I need it. Already, I have a sense of liberation as I realize that I’m actually doing this. The liberation will give way to desperation and regret soon, I’m sure. But the end result will be amazing. Why would you do something like this anyway? I am a fairly impulsive person, and I often need extremes to shock me back into reality. Over the last few years, I have allowed more and more online activity to creep in that really just keeps me in front of the computer so much of the time. It drives me crazy. So over the past few months, I have been implementing things to allow myself to be able to take a few weeks (or more) off with minimal damage being done when I return. I use Instapaper to read articles that might be interesting. If I find that it is, I star it. When I star it, it gets sent over to HootSuite, which then occasionally posts those interesting articles to my Twitter account. If it’s not what I thought it was, I delete it. The beauty is that all of this can be done from my iPhone without even logging into Twitter. Most of my bills are automated. I have shifted most of my document-making from home over to Google Docs, so I can access my personal budget from home or work or anywhere else I might be. Or my iPhone. All of my emails end up at one single Gmail address, and I strive to keep my inbox completely clear. If it requires follow-up action or is something I want to read later, I’ll star it. I can’t access Gmail on the school computers, but the webapp for the iPhone is pretty sweet. I also removed commenting from my blog, which substantially lowers the amount of time needed to moderate those. I miss the conversations, but do enjoy the reduction in spam. All this sounds like I’m going to be glued to my iPhone the entire time I’m home, but I assure you this is not the case. I have a lot of running to do, and have quite a few great books that I got last time I was in San Antonio. Maybe I’ll write a few articles to post on the blog when I start logging on…nah, that would defeat the purpose entirely! And yes, I am continuing working my way through Tom Anselm’s novel You’re Never Too Old For Space Camp. I do enjoy his writing and now I have time to actually read it. Good-bye, my blogging friends. I shall see you again soon… Oh yeah, if you get bored this month check out these articles from March in years past. 2007 6 Motivation Techniques How Not To Waste Spring Break (or Summer Vacation, or Christmas Break, or Saturday, or Tonight!) Do You Run The Risk of Becoming Successful? 2008 TAKS Day Not The Best Day Ever Revisited Catching Up Entering the Twittersphere Around The Blogosphere: No Child Left Behind An “Online Magazine Rack” Whitespace The Deep-Seated Problems With Public Education You’ve Been Teaching HOW LONG??? Video: You Think You Pay Attention? What Else Are You Missing Out On? Carnival of Education #163: Spring Break 2008 Edition Parents, Students, And Teachers…Whose Right Is It Anyway? Principals Gone Wild The State of the Blog 03/30/08 Audio: 03/28/08 Do I Really Want To Teach? UIL Sight Reading Success 2009 50 Online Reference Sites for Teachers The Hunt For The Missing Carnival Standardized Reading Testing Information Overloaded? 10 Quick Tips To Tame The Tide Spring Break Is Here…What to Do, What to Do… When Is It Time To Relocate? Seven Years Later: 7 Things I Would Do Before My First Year As A Teacher If I Knew Then What I Know Now Student Teaching 2009 Update Recession 2009 And Its Impact On Teaching Last Minute UIL Concert & Sight Reading Preparations: 10 Things I Am Doing To Try To Get Sweepstakes Welcome to Education: Now Change Your Plans To Fit OUR Schedule 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.