Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Blog Awards!

Welcome to the TES Blog Awards! I was going to book Russell Brand and organise a night of drink-fuelled excess in a classy hotel. Sadly, the budget has severely constrained any such notion.

Why blog? Our detractors on the TES Staffroom accuse of being self-opinionated, deluded, obsessives – well guilty as charged.

Of course it’s common knowledge that the average blog only lasts six months, is read by no one apart from the author and is of such poor quality that the blogger has a snowball in hell’s chance of ever cutting a book deal.

Against that there is the democracy of the Internet, your brilliant manuscript, instead of gathering dust in a musty old drawer has a potential audience of millions… if they can but find it amidst all the ephemera, junk and downright weird stuff that clutters cyberspace.

I can exclusively reveal that a new agency has been established to rigorously monitor and audit the effectiveness of teaching blogs – Ofblog. Due to my limited technical ability and low level of computer competence, I decided to appoint myself as Chief Inspector. In the best traditions of Ofsted I volunteered to stay in a five star hotel for a week whilst I was undertaking the blog inspection – sadly, the TES declined my generous offer and I’ve had to fit the inspection around writing the end of year reports, looking after my sick cat and moaning about the weather.

There are plenty of secondary teacher blogs – the infamous
‘Frank Chalk’, the slightly misnamed ‘Ranting Teacher’, the excellent ‘Life and Other Prime Numbers’ (who proves it is possible to be a young teacher and have a life, ‘Last half term I danced until I dropped’) and the slightly more political ‘Some Random Thoughts’.

Despite trawling through ‘Britblog’, ‘Sites for Teachers’ and Googling away, it’s hard to find many primary teacher blogs. There are plenty of excellent resources – Primary Teacher, Primary Resources, Primary Classroom Resources, Sparklebox, Classroom Displays, etc. But once you get beyond next week’s lesson there’s not much personal gossip or social commentary (when Unicef says we have the unhappiest children in the world some of us want to go beyond the cheapest laminates and day-glo stickers).

In the best traditions of Ofsted (once again) I’ll start by highlighting failure. Regrettably, I’ll have to single out the TES’s own
Henry Walpole (last posting 17/11/06) for one of Ofblog’s infamous ‘notices to improve’. Henry, I know you’re busy writing your book and TES column but please write out 100 times, ‘I must not neglect my blog’.

‘Little Miss Teacher’ is a Year 1 teacher exiled in Bangkok, after the blog stopped in March I was going to send an e-mail, ‘please get in touch’, but thankfully she’s reappeared.

‘101 Things To Do While Teaching’ promised the ‘Definitive guide to the best things to do while teaching, if you are not so tired you could collapse in a heap in front of the whiteboard’. After seven posts (last one 12/1/07) it seems she’s done just that.

‘PGCE Blog’ again showed early promise but there was a sign of things to come in his last post (19/11/06) ‘to be honest there is just so much work to do for school I've just not got the energy in the evening!’ With all those assessments, evaluations and planning sheets I’m not surprised.

Stumbling into the limelight are this year’s survivors (a good metaphor for teaching?) and in the spirit of ‘deferred success’ I’ll leave nominating an overall winner-

‘Smoke and Mirrors’ – a.ka. ‘Aspiring Head’ is from the independent sector, but in the spirit of inclusiveness I won’t exclude him from the competition

‘Year 6 Teacher’ – plenty of advice on how to pass SATs (OK someone has to do the job, just include me out of this one)

Tim Rylands – the mystical adventures of a west country primary teacher and muscian’ - has some really snazzy photographs, plus he gets to visit all kinds of exotic places, the lucky so-and-so!

Tales from the Plain - The ramblings of a teacher living in the Cheshire Plain, hanging in there and wondering what it's all about. Frequently out of step with the rest of the world (or so it seems) I just muddle through as best I can...’ - is one of my favourites although I’m not so keen on the knitting patterns…

and… er, that’s about it. Modesty forbids me to mention too much about ‘How Not To Teach’ suffice it say that it not just the TES blogs but jokes, film reviews, walking, news and the predictable rants against Ofsted.

If there are any more primary blogs out there let me know and I’ll link to them on my blog, remembering that essential piece of blogging etiquette, ‘If I link to yours, you’ll link to mine.’

Keep on blogging!


Thanks for the mention!
I find that teachers have a very unique way of writing and looking at the world, especially the world of teaching. I should know, I am married to a middle school teacher in CA, USA.

I also am finding that teachers like what I have to say on my site. Please take a look.

If you come by please leave a comment so that I know you were there.

If you are interested, after you view my site, I would like to offer a link swap with you. If you agree, let me know.

All the best.
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