Year one of teaching is scary enough on its own; but when you add in the prospect of thousands of people watching you go on that journey publicly, intimidation doesn't even come close to describing it.
Before I started teaching, I decided I needed to write about my first year of teaching, that was settled. Journaling had helped me sort out issues and frustrations in student teaching and I wanted to recreate that experience again for Year One.
I finished student teaching in December of 2008 and started subbing full-time in the same district the following Spring. I felt very fortunate to have a job after graduating, but I still felt the need to do more (and defer my loans just a bit longer) so I started a master's degree right away.
Starting a graduate program while subbing did two things for me: it exposed me to a massive amount of educational and professional literature which needed to be processed, and it gave me the time, attention, and desire to write about it. Since I was subbing mostly in a computer lab and playing the role of a writing tutor I was allowed ample opportunity to do my graduate work while observing students. This was helpful; I wasn't just reading theory and considering it in an academic vacuum, I was actively working with students and other teachers (those who came to the lab) and writing about it.
My connection to social media, as you might be predicting, sprang from this experience. Sure, it wasn't a 10,000 hour, Outlier-birthing semester a la Malcolm Gladwell, but it certainly was transformational. Whenever I read a journal article, an excerpt from a professional publication on teaching, or a discussion board post from my fellow graduate students in education, I was itching to share and hear more. While it was nice to hear from my professor and our class about a topic, and equally nice to talk with educators the school where I worked, I felt I needed to triangulate.
Social media made it possible for me to connect with educators around the country (around the world really). Not only could I find other new teachers trying to figure it all out, but I could talk to teaching veterans, authors, and people shaping the landscape of the profession. This access took the shape of many different kinds of interactions. I asked questions, read blog posts, left comments, and even gave some advice on things I felt comfortable with.
Social media helped to facilitate a "flow" experience for me during my first year of teaching. I had encountered that feeling a few times before while working in some classes in college and during extracurricular activities in high school, but never within the act of teaching or considering the work of teaching.
What this resource is designed to do is first provide a glimpse into my life as a new teacher in 2009-2010. Its goal is also to model what participation in digital writing and social media looks like, feels like, and sounds like in the scopes of an entire day, week, month, and ultimately my whole first year.