Posted in Edublogs

My Blog Story

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Every year I want to blog a bit more as an educator. This year I am really going to try to make that happen as I have joined Edublogs weekly #edublogsclub. I am pretty sure I have joined other blogging challenges and failed to participate fully, but I am not going to allow that to happen again!

In order to satisfy the first blogging prompt this post can contain any of the following:

  • Your experience blogging – is this your first post? Are you an experienced veteran? Somewhere in between?
  • Do you read other blogs? What are some of your favorites? How do you keep up with them?
  • What are your goals for the #EdublogsClub?
  • If you are new to blogging, do you have any questions you want answered or fears you wish to share?
  • If you are more experienced at blogging, do you have any advice for newbies?
  • Anything else you wish to share!

This is not my first post, but I don’t really consider myself a veteran. I have had my own website/domain for a while, but I have not really been an avid blogger. I have had my own domain so long I had to go look up exactly when I acquired it – June 2008. I had been teaching only 8 years and at my third elementary school, Dorothy Grant Elementary. It was at this school where I finally found a group of tech-minded educators that I could confidently move forward with and develop my passion for educational technology. I remained at this school up until December 2015, when I went on to be a Teacher on Assignment in my district.

My blog really wasn’t a blog at first, it was a class website…a tool I used to communicate with tech savvy families and guide my students to the links I wanted them to use when they had lab time or had time in class to use one of our few computers. I used to publish it with Tech4Learning‘s Web Blender program.  It wasn’t until 4 years ago that my class website became a blog when I transitioned it to WordPress, and even then I continued to use it as a tool to communicate with parents, publicize events going on at my school or in my classroom, and a place to house links for my students and families.

Now that I am out of the classroom and at the district office I have struggled with what to with my website. I always knew who my audience was, but who would it be now? I have no students and no families to communicate with. I have my work as a Teacher on Assignment and a teacher website among a sea of teacher websites. The transition from a classroom teacher to a teacher on assignment has not been an easy one, and the transition in the purpose and audience of my website has been almost as challenging. I find blogging to be a very useful outlet, but I wrestle with what I have to offer the broader teaching community with my blog given that there are so many excellent teacher blogs already in existence. Addressing this issue is actually my main goal in participating in the weekly prompts  of the Edublogs Club. I am hoping through participating I will be able to clarify the new purpose and audience of my site.

As for other blogs, I read so many its hard to recommend just one. I have recently started using Bloglovin’ to keep track of blogs I am interested in, but for the most part many blogs are delivered right to my inbox via various subscriptions I have. Many of the blogs I read are quite “newsy” and I feel like it might be nice to connect to other blogging educators. I guess that would be another goal of mine in participating with these weekly blogging prompts.

In the end I want my blog to evolve, be robust and have a distinct purpose, while helping me to connect to other blogging educators and building a whole new sort of professional learning community (PLC).

Author:

Wife, mother, K-8 National Board Certified Teacher, doctoral student and dog lover. Passionate about educational technology, academic innovation, and redesigning the American educational system.

22 thoughts on “My Blog Story

  1. Hi Melanie

    Welcome to the Edublogs Club!

    I’ve participated in a range of different challenges and projects over the years. Each has helped me clarify purpose and what I want to be doing in differing ways. I’m sure you’ll find the same participating in this community.

    @suewaters

  2. We seem to have similar paths with our blogs. I used it originally as a form of communication w/ parents which was student driven. When I left the classroom it shifted to more of a reflection or recommendation platform as well as a retelling of technology experiences/tools for other educators. I look forward to following along reading this journey!

    1. I thought the same thing when I read your blog! Sounds like I have the same sort of idea of how I want to use my blog since becoming a Teacher on Assignment/Instructional Coach, but I have yet to make that happen. I have a feeling this blogging challenge is going to help me do that!

  3. Hi Melanie,
    I love this post for its honesty and reflection. I’m in a very similar boat–I’ve been out of the classroom (though still in an elementary school) for the past 5 1/2 years and I sometimes wonder who might want to read what I have to say. But then I read the blogs of other remarkable educators, people like you, and I learn so much! Good luck on this blogging journey–I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    1. Thank you so much for such a kind comment!

      A lot of times I feel like I have to be all smiles on my site, but that feels insincere. The transition out of the classroom has felt much like my first year of teaching – sink or swim. No mentors, no support. I know I will survive the transition and rise to the occasion just like I did almost 17 years ago when I was hired on an emergency permit and was given a 2nd grade classroom and TEs and little else. What’s different this time is that I know I can seek and create my own supports and I am much more confident about doing so.

      You flatter me by including me with “remarkable” educator bloggers. I can only hope to achieve anything near that classification, but thank you for thinking of me like that.

      I have visited your blog and think your writing and observations are lovely. I made sure to follow you so I could read more when you are ready to post.

      I look forward to sharing this blogging journey with you!

  4. G’day Melanie,
    That changing from a classroom teacher to more of a mentor to teachers can be difficult with your blog. I found that I started a new blog for the new role and left the class website as an example to use when mentioning class blogging to teachers I spoke to or worked with in the new role.

    Sue @tasteach

    1. Thanks for your comment Sue. Previous versions of my website would be more of a relic than a reference. Since I moved to WordPress 4 years ago I at least have those posts as examples of how I used my site before leaving the classroom. Many of my original pages for students and parents are still a part of my site as students would continue to use my site even after moving on to the next grade. Your comment about previous versions of my site got me thinking about another site that allows you to see how sites were in the past, even sites that no longer exist: The Wayback Machine – http://www.archive.org. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly suggest it. I never got to use it in the classroom since I left before I knew about it, but I see it as a very valuable resource to use with students.

  5. Thanks for sharing. I love that you have been “blogging’ for so long. I always struggle with what to do, I like keeping the older stuff its helpful to look back on, but it can be overwhelming to know how to start fresh when you have the old info hanging around.

    1. Thanks for commenting Tara. I have enjoyed having my own site for so long before most teachers would even consider it. I know I haven’t done with it all that I could have, limiting its use as I did. Now that I am out of the classroom I have more time to give to alternate uses of it that could still be of service to students, parents, other educators as well as myself. With the challenges my new position presents, I think blogging about what I love about teaching and being a teacher will be very therapeutic. As for the “old info” I have gradually removed old pages and added new ones, but I have never even thought to remove old posts and I doubt I would.

  6. Hey Melanie –
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am intrigued to learn more about your role as a teacher mentor – I think you’ll have a unique take on our prompts!
    Rachel

    1. Thank you Rachel! I am most certainly looking forward to the weekly prompts. With the way my position has taken shape I feel like I am in an odd teacher limbo – I am no longer a classroom teacher and not quite an instructional coach, even though that is part of my title. I know this is in part because the department I am a part of is new and coaching/mentoring opportunities are currently limited. I would be curious to hear from other teacher mentors about how they transitioned. I know I can do it and am doing it, I just didn’t think it would be as challenging as it has for me. I hope my responses to the prompts will be of value and interest to others who either are in the same position as myself or who are classroom teachers who would like to become teacher mentors/instructional coaches one day.

  7. Love your writing style. What do you have to offer? Lots! I think the most wasted resource is all of the great knowledge educators have in their heads that they don’t think is worthy of sharing. Keep it coming!

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting Nancy! I would agree with you about educators sharing, especially after reading the blogs of the others participating in this challenge. I think we all have a great deal to share, we just have to find out voices and package what we have to share in such a way that others will find value in it.

  8. Hello! Thanks for sharing your story and your thoughts about how your blog has evolved since your positions changed. I, too, had a firmer handle on what I wanted my blog to be when I was in the principal’s chair. I very clearly saw a need to write about leadership topics. When I became a technology coach I didn’t really want to blog about tools or techniques on my main blog because I created a coaching-specific space using my district blog. My main blog became quite neglected during that time! I’m happy too for the chance to jumpstart my blog using the ideas from the Edublogs Club challenges. It’s great to connect with you!

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting Lyn! I enjoy reading your posts and comments. I have started up one or two other blogs over the years, and I really don’t want to start anymore, so my goal is for this blog to serve any educational role I end up in. I do aspire to become an administrator in the near future so I will be re-evaluating my blog again when that time comes.

  9. Hi Melanie,
    Like you, I am hoping the #edublogsclub will get me blogging more regularly. I usually have trouble following through on my New Years resolutions, but I’m having a good feeling about this year. I’m hoping to blog every week and I think the #edublogsclub will help to hold me accountable. I look forward to reading more!

    1. Thank you for visiting and commenting Sheila! I am not one for resolutions as I never really stick with them, but a new year is very much about new beginnings. I am glad I am able to participate in the challenges this year and look forward to working through the prompts, reading the posts of fellow challenge bloggers, and developing this fun new VPLN/VPLC!

  10. Hi Melanie, thanks for sharing your story (and visiting/commenting to my blog too)! I also need to determine a focus for my blog, particularly audience. Am I writing to other parents, other teachers or students? What do I want to talk about and share? Do I need/want more than one blog? How much time do I want to spend on all of this? Like…do I actually want to blog as much as I think I want to blog? Glad to be in this edublogs challenge with like-minded teachers! It’s my first “blog challenge” and the first time that I feel as though I have a support network for this topic.

    1. Hi David! Thanks for returning the favor! I know I don’t want to start more blogs, so this blog is going to be what I use in any educational role I end up in. Posting once a week seems to work for me for now, though I am always very eager for the next prompt! My goal is to stay ahead of them at least because I hate feeling behind. I did prompt 1 pretty quick then waiting for Tuesday felt like an eternity, so I am savoring prompt 2…not to mention that real life has been really busy so I haven’t had time to make a quality post anyway. I agree with you about being in a group with like-minded teachers. I am enjoying this quite a bit. Edubloggers are my people! 😉

  11. HI Melanie, adding my reply to your comment on cranmercandor as I’m not sure if you had selected notify me of follow up comments on her post. Feel free to delete comment if you have.

    The Follow you see on WordPress.com is designed to be used for sites hosted on WordPress.com

    We have Follow but it is specific to Edublogs users as it uses the Edublogs Reader. Users can set up Subscribe by email and add an email subscription widget.

    The most efficient way to keep up with reading your favorite blogs is to subscribe to them in a feed reader like Feedly. Feedly uses their RSS feed so isn’t platform specific so it would enable you to subscribe to posts from blogger, WordPress, Edublogs etc. You can read more here – http://help.edublogs.org/introduction-to-rss-and-subscribing-using-rss/

    Sue

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