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New Horizons Looming…Feedback Requested

918325_african_tree.jpgI will begin setting up and writing in a Music Education blog soon. The idea was to include Music Education content on this blog, but I think that might alienate a handful of the readers and that is the last thing I want to do. So when it gets up and running, I will link to there from here and link from here to there. It’s exciting! When that happens, the posting frequency over here may dip a little bit, but I will continue to add great content regularly.

I have noticed a change in my posting habits lately as well. It seems that I have begun to find myself on a mission to create more edubloggers. I love what this blog has done for me, I love the thought that other people are actually learning something from my miserable first couple of years of teaching, and I love the idea that writing this stuff has helped me cope with amazing circumstances that were thrown at me this year. I want to share that with others.
I’d like to hear your feedback on these two subjects. I want to continue posting classroom management and teaching ideas and all (and I assuredly will), but I want to hear your thoughts about:

  1. The more personal voice my writing has begun to use lately
  2. The idea of a MusEduBlog…would you even read it?
  3. My posting of blogging-related content
  4. Guest bloggers…do you like them or dislike them?
  5. The addition of unobtrusive advertisements below articles and the donation part of the sidebar (this thing is beginning to use quite a bit of bandwidth and it would be nice if it could pay for itself)

Finally, I have been considering switching to actually using my real name on my blog. I know that some bloggers do it and some don’t. Since edublogging is still rather new, what are the guidelines that districts, in your experience have established as far as it all goes? I’m not worried about offending anyone with the content of the site or anything. I’d love to hear reasonings from those who have chosen that path (Matthew Tabor, John Pearson, Joanne Jacobs, etc.) as well as from those who have not chosen to do so.

Lots of questions. Let’s see what your thoughts are!

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.

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Joel Wagner
Joel Wagner (<strong><a href="">@sywtt</a></strong>) 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. <strong><a href="">So You Want To Teach?</a></strong> is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

6 thoughts on “New Horizons Looming…Feedback Requested

  1. I think a music ed blog would draw more people interested in music ed. Since I’m not, I really like this general blog. I have 2 blogs: one personal and one about teaching because I connect with others who are not into teaching. As for real names, I go by loonyhiker because so many people actually know me as that for the past 30 years. It has always been my main email username and a nickname since then too. I see no reason not to use your real name since you pass on such wonderfully educational stuff.

  2. Personally, I like when people throw in bits about their niches or even just their hobbies. There are so many blogs out there that it can feel like one big mashup of the same stuff sometimes – I really enjoy reading things that are just plain interesting, even if they’re slightly off-topic from the blog’s normal discussion. Charles Johnson of LittleGreenFootballs comes to mind here – though LGF is a political blog, his interest in cycling shows up in photos, cycling news and pictures. I think it adds a nice touch to a blog.

    As for names, I’m not an employee of a school or similar institution, so I don’t have to worry about that particular problem. I find your blog informative and benevolent and can’t think of a reason why you’d need to be concerned if you did decide to use your real name. Even so, it’s nice to be anonymous sometimes, and I don’t think there’s any stigma with anonymous education bloggers – good content seems to be taken seriously no matter what. I guess it depends most on what direction you want to take your site/writing in and whether using your name will advance those goals. Pat’s right – wonderfully educational stuff.

  3. As my name implies, I am a preservice teacher and very new to the blogging world. I have to say that from what I have read from your blog so far (which has only been over the last couple of weeks), I have learned so much. At this point, I am trying to gather as much information and prepare myself for life in the classroom as much as I can and your blog has been extremely helpful in those respects.

    I think the personal touch is a good one. You are indeed an edublogger and an obvious reflective practitioner. I think that over time it would be very difficult to blog about one of the most interpersonal professions without becomming more personal with your reflections.

    Your idea for the music blog is great for those who teach music. I myself will probably not read it if it so customized to that particular content area. I myself am gearing up for math and science!

    Any blogging related content is very useful as it is a great way to get others on board so we can all help eachother and “pay it forward” as you are doing. That said, I think guest bloggers are great. It’s a way to keep the information streaming in from all directions and fuel blogging excitement for many to benefit from.

    Your content is great and very helpful, I look forward to whatever you have coming next!

  4. Thanks for the responses. I have decided that I will start up a MusEduBlog soon. For the time being, I will occasionally post content that is specifically music-related, but as always, I will tie those comments into general education needs. I have created a MusEduBlogging tag. I then went back and tagged a few past articles to sort of give you an idea of the kinds of things to expect.

    Like I said, I am in the process of developing an entirely new MusEduBlog, which will be much more geared toward that end of the spectrum. I appreciate your comments and will definitely be aware of them in continuing to create content that is wildly useful to as broad of a range of my readers as possible. :)

  5. First, let’s just say I should have been in bed hours ago, but the internet is like a black hole, and good blogs are addictive ;-) So I’m going to try to be quick. Haha. So much for that!

    1) Uh-oh. Sorry to admit, I hadn’t picked up on any change in voice. Maybe I just haven’t been reading long enough to remember a not-so-personal voice. I guess voice doesn’t matter all that much to me if the content is good. However, there’s nothing wrong with being personal, IMO.

    2) Doubtful. I’m not really interested in music education. I might check it out b/c I like your blog, but probably wouldn’t read it regularly.

    3) Love it. I found the stuff about RSS really helpful and would love to read anything about the “mechanics” of setting up and maintaining a blog, since I don’t know the first thing about it.

    4) Like them. It’s also a nice way for me to discover new blogs. Only problem is, I keep discovering new blogs. Pretty soon, checking them all will be a full time job. Good thing I read your post about RSS :-) Well, I actually already had a My Yahoo page set up with RSS feeds from all my blogs, but the post was still nice to read.

    5) I didn’t notice the advertisements or donation bar until you pointed them out, so I’d say they’re pretty unobtrusive.

    6) Hmmm…the million dollar question. I’ve been thinking a lot about that myself. I’m a private person and I tend to want anonymity. However, there are certain times when I want my name attached to something. For instance, if I’m sharing something I’ve created so others can use it, but I want to reserve my rights for future purposes. The only problem is, that’s not compatible with staying anonymous, so I have to decide which is more important. I hate the idea of anyone (future employers, colleagues, parents, students) being able to Google me and find things I wrote that weren’t written with that particular audience in mind. It doesn’t necessarily matter that the content isn’t offensive, it just wasn’t meant for them, so I didn’t write it with that fliter in mind. As a quick example, if I’m writing with the audience of fellow teachers in mind, I might write a post about how I’m burnt out, maybe do some MILD venting, etc. However, this isn’t something I’d want a potential employer to read. Not that it would reflect really badly on me, I just don’t think it would paint me in the best light, and when you’re competing against 1000 other teachers for the same job, every little thing counts. (Yes, you read right…a thousand – just one teaching opening resulted in 1,200 applications around here.)

    I think I lean more toward being anonymous. You can always reveal your true identity to select people, but once you’ve revealed it to everyone publicly, there’s no backpedaling.

    Here’s one more example (albeit, kind of dumb) of the issue of writing with a filter / writing for a particular audience…Let’s say my blog audience is adults, so I mention something about the Santa myth. Obviously, it’s not something that I’m thinking students might one day be reading, but if my name is on it, they might. Now I know that’s kind of a stupid example, but I wouldn’t want one of my students reading about how my husband and I don’t do the Santa thing with our own children when I’ve assured my class that of course I believe in Santa. I just think it’s hard enough to concentrate on writing well, without having to run all your writing through the filter of: “Who else might read this some day? Is there anything in here I wouldn’t want to say in front of them?” etc.

  6. I like the idea of a specialized blog. I tend to discuss math and science education a bit too much on my own blog. I know that it turns people off.

    The only thing you might consider is that if you spread yourself too thin, you won’t do the kind of job you want to do and something will suffer. I have enough difficulty keeping one blog going, let alone two!

    The possibility of using your own name is up to personal preference. Most of what you say is unobjectionable. I would not be embarrassed by anything in my blog either. I’ve chosen to retain my anonymity because of the handful of scary people out on the internet.

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