Sunday, November 2, 2008

30 Days to Being a Better Blogger - Day 1

Based on Teach42's suggestions for taking a month to improve your blogging I am starting off the 30 Days to Being a Better Blogger challenge.

Day 1, Question 1 - Who am I?
Well, my name is Kate Ahern. I am a veteran teacher of learners with significant special needs. I live in New England and how a M.S. in intensive special education. I started this blog without putting my name or anything else about me on it (I was a bit gun shy from some negative blogging experience before this). Eventually I added my first name, later my picture and still later my last name. My address is only listed as New England. My place of employment is not listed anywhere (as this site is not sponsored, endorsed or in other way involved with my employers). I do have a list of my web 2.0 contacts from instant message and email addresses to microblogging and photosites. However, contrary to Teach42 suggestions I do not have a link to my "About Me" Blogger page and I don't plan to add one (one last shred of privacy, I guess.) Teach42 suggests a paragraph about yourself and perhaps you resume, but I will decline on that, two years of posting and I am fairly certain that it is obvious I am a special needs teacher.

Day 1, Question 2 - What is your blog about?
Suggested things to think about one this on include what are you trying to accomplish with your blog? Who are you writing it for? What kinds of articles do you try to post about and how is your perspective different than everybody else’s? Also suggested is looking back on your first dozen or so posts. I started this blog while out on worker's comp for a leg injury, at the time I was feeling very much disliked by most of my colleagues. It might have been some minor paranoia and it might have been true, but I think it is a little bit of both. My perception was that folks thought I was a nerd and know-it-all (a reputation I have had my entire life) so I decided if I blogged about what I knew it would let people come to me to find out what I know instead of me pushing it on people. Overall I think the blog as a way for me to "nerd-out" about intensive special education without being annoying has worked well, especially since some 9,000 people a month seem to come find out about something I know. So on a personal level this blog was for me to share what I know about teaching learners with intensive special needs.

First and foremost, I write this blog for other special education teachers, but I know I have all sorts of general and ESOL teachers who follow along, in addition to parents of learners with disabilities, those in teacher education and those in assisitive technology. I am thrilled that all these people find value in what I write, but my goal is always to help teachers of students with low incidence disabilities better do their jobs. People who know me well would say that, on occassion, I also use this blog to vent, but I hope even when I do that I back up my arguement with research and critical thinking so that it is benefical to others!

I post about everything that comes into play in a teacher of learners with multiple special needs day, from curriculum to scheduling to assisitive technology and more. I hope that my perspectives are different from others in that I research what I write in order to ensure that what I put out their is indeed best practice and that I focus on what is best for students, not what is cool, popular or new out there in the world.

So that is day one, look forward to 29 more days.

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