HI! Welcome to my first post on this new adventure my friends and I are setting off on! The spirit of this site is all about trying something new and what a better first Try than setting off on this idea of a website, blog, and podcast that shows what we do, what we think, and what we find through research.
This idea all started while I was driving and listening to Don Wettrick's podcast StartEdUp with Dave Burgess. In their conversation they said, specifically Dave, that Teachers have a "...moral imperative to share..." regarding what is happening in their classroom that can support other Teachers and Students that may be "suffocating" them in other classrooms. This got me thinking (which that podcast is great at doing, please check it out!) am I doing enough to share out what I'm doing? I share out daily on Twitter. I try my best to engage with other educators, especially in Twitter chats. But, was I doing enough? Was I meeting that moral imperative?
I had already been having an internal conversation about starting a blog. My main concern was would it just be an extension of what I say on Twitter. I wanted to do more. The idea flowed in my head on that drive of starting a website with a blog and maybe a podcast. I'm known in the mean halls of my district for not having fear of trying something new. The reality is I always have a fear of trying something new but I have a deeper fear of not providing the best opportunities to learn for my students - so we learn together and I love to model my own failures to my students and what I learn from them. There was the idea for the blog - here is my journey of trying something new and sharing that out because I know other educators are curious but need some encouragement in knowing it's okay to fail. I also wanted to give them some evidence on top of my own anecdotal post so the idea of doing Action Research came into play. I could show them my successes and failures, my story, and some data. Eliminate all the potential answers to "Why not?" I wanted reflection to be integral to this idea but the best reflection for me comes to talking with someone - so the podcast, and friends, comes into play.
All of that rushed through my head in a matter of seconds. The spark from Dave and Don (I use their first names like we're homies but we're not - I just feel like I know them from reading their books, listening to them, and occasionally interacting on Twitter) led to a rush. I immediately contacted my friends and ran this idea by them because our best work comes out of collaboration. They started going bananas. Literally bananas. Someone may have been eating a bananas. I just remember bananas. The team was on board. Some of the others couldn't commit to being active but wanted to be a part so we look forward to having guests to highlight as they try something in their area and share it. We met and hashed out the idea, ran ideas by each other, kept each other grounded, and broke each others hearts. What are friends for right?
I'm lucky enough to work with some of my best friends. I met Marc while taking my first class at IU East. I had recently left the United States Army and I was feeling real uneasy about college but here was a guy that embraced me as a long time friend would and we became friends and now I consider him a brother. He may not even realize it but he was essential to me surviving my first year of college. Later, he was a Champion in pushing me into education because he knew I would connect with kids. He's now a great educator and leader within his school. He also sparked my interest in Soccer and I hate him for it. I met Bill while at IU East as well. Here was a guy that always challenged people around him. I don't think I even liked him at first but we were in the same circles. After being around him for a bit I realized this guy challenged those around him because he expected those around him to be at their best. As a person and an Educator, Bill has pushed and inspired me to be the best person and educator I can. The first time I saw Jay was during my student Teaching. The entire staff was in a first work day meeting and they introduced this guy and said they hired him the day before and it was his first year of teaching and I just thought to myself "If this dude survives the week, he's a a badass and I need to connect with him." I'm so glad I did so we could share the journey of starting a new and challenging career together. Brian was a guy that had taught a few years and started at the district I teach at the same time I did. He was irritating, stand offish, and arrogant - and I was totally wrong to judge him that way (Totally wrong to judge someone at all). He is literally one of the sharpest and most compassionate people I've met and is a great friend that helps maintain my sanity. Jeremy is my mentor, my school leader, and friend. I couldn't have made it through my first year of teaching without him to keep me up at times and grounded at times. Jeremy in his pure existence is a man that makes you want to challenge yourself to be a better educator that thinks before they act. I hope you can tell - I am extremely lucky to have these guys. This idea had a great cast to do something with it.
The idea was in place - now we needed to actually do it. I've never set up a website, blog, or podcast. I have a business but I primarily use social media for it. I had to buy a domain, find a site that could host multiple blogs and allow multiple contributors, get a logo, get images, and start looking at the long term goals. Oh, and frickin' pay for it all. I settled on squarespace because it offered everything I needed it to do as well as look good doing it. Exploring how to use it and unleash what it can do has been a blast - trying new tools is our thing right? The domain was available, easy. I already had a graphic designer that I use for my business and the logo was created by her. Images are slowly coming into place as I post the worst of each of us until I get the exact one that fits the look I desire. Social Media was easy. I've never done a podcast but I have the tools I need and look forward to trying the first one next week and on the topic I'm currently making this probably too long of a post on. Paying for it is shared which takes some of the sting away #BrokeTeacherLife. The big one we're still digging in our heads about is the long term goals.
We've talked about looking into conferences we could present at, companies we could potentially work on this with, people we could work with, etc. The big one that still eats at me is how do we know this is having an impact? How do we know if this will be something that people were needing? How are people using the information we're trying? We want to build a community around us and hopefully get them to share their tries. My hope is this is something people need, want, and use.
If you made it this far on this guys first long post, thank you! I spoke of fear earlier and I'm absolutely scared to death of EduTryGuys. We're not diving in feet first - we're going in head first and hoping the bottom isn't concrete. Are we Baby Groots maybe pushing the wrong button and blowing ourselves apart? Maybe, but, I know with these hooligans if we fail and blow ourselves a part - we'll just learn and try again. It's what we do.
P.S. I don't teach English. I always forget the little things in English. Example, in the last few years I've finally nailed down "Your and You're." So, I don't know if the title should be "A inspired idea" or "An Inspired Idea." I'm nothing if I'm not honest with myself so feel free to educate/remind me in the comments!