Based in Long Beach, California, "Teach Me Mr. West" is a blog by Jason West. His posts explore the rewards and challenges of being a highly effective 21st century educator.

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

30 weeks. Well, 31, if you count this week. I have posted 30—I mean 31—blog entries over the last 31 weeks. The TMMW blog has grown faster—and the reach has spread wider—than I could have imagined. Truly: In just six months, I’ve garnered a few thousand readers from all across the globe, spanning every continent but Antarctica (MY WHITE WHALE!). I’ve also had dozens of readers submit both teacherbag questions and guest blog posts, and (more impressively, one could argue), I’ve even had handfuls of teachers at my school site tell me that a post or two of mine has changed how they view education.

It’s been amazing.

No, this is not a goodbye letter. I’m not done with this platform (or y’all) just yet. This is an upgrade…and a bit of a hiatus. I’m taking a few weeks off from the blog to prepare for a major transformation. No, I am not going to finally have species-corrective surgery turning me into what should have been my true form as a tortoise. Rude. The transformation I’m speaking of is my site going from merely being a blog to becoming a blog and a podcast.

But the blog isn’t going away. It’s important that you know I will still be creating written content for you to read during your potty time (I would never abandon our special time like that). Right about now, you’re probably feeling pretty dubious that my weekly blog posts will continue once I start making my podcast. Well, that’s true. The output will have to change a bit. TMMW is a one-man show, so while I won’t drop weekly blog posts going forward, I will drop new posts at least once a month for you to read while you drop something of your own into a porcelain bowl.

Monthly blogs, weekly podcasts. That’s the goal, anyway.

You might be wondering: Why make a podcast? Aren’t there already enough podcasts in the world? Certainly, you’re not going to be the first education podcast on the market…what’s wrong with just being a teacher? Or why couldn’t you have been a lawyer or a doctor like Mrs. Rabinowitz’s son, Albert? He makes a good living! Are you hungry? You look too thin! Eat something!

All fair points, imaginary reader who, for whatever reason, turned into my overbearing Jewish grandmother (definitely gonna have to talk to a therapist about that one). So let’s talk about what will make this podcast so unique, and, in my opinion, necessary.

People listen to podcasts covering all sorts of topics—sports, politics, food, etc. Yet, a very small percentage of these listeners are athletes, politicians, or chefs. I mean, we can’t all be 3-time NBA Slam Dunk Champion and US Senator Ina Garten—hell, I’d settle for being just plain ol’ Ina-loving Jeffrey! So why do people listen to these podcasts? Because they are made to be accessible and relatable to the public!

Do education podcasts already exist (meaning, podcasts about education, not podcasts where you learn something new)? Sure they do. But if you were to ask someone who wasn’t in education if they listened to an education podcast, they’d probably respond, “No, I’m not a teacher.

And yet, what does everyone who listens to podcasts have in common? WE ALL WENT TO SCHOOL AT SOME POINT IN OUR LIVES!! A conversation about issues in education shouldn’t be less accessible to the general population than a conversation about the Bachelor finale. But seriously, I’m STILL not over what Arie did to poor Becca and Lauren! You used them like pawns in twisted game of emotional chess, you heartless bastard! Shame on you, Arie! Shame on you!

Or something like that—I’ve never actually seen the show and I refuse to watch it on the basis of how stupid it is. It’s a stupid show about stupid people and you should feel bad for watching it. #TheBachelorIsStupid. Don’t @ me.

Anyway, there are currently two predominant forms of podcasts on education:

  • The Way Too Inside Baseball Education Podcast –Today we are going to talk about how to prepare for an IEP for your SpEd EL student. After that, we will have a brief discussion on how to help your students prepare for this year’s SBAC while still aligning your curriculum with CCSS and NGSS.”
  • The Overly-Earnest Motivational Poster Education Podcast –Today we are going to talk about how amaaaazing being a teacher is! You guys!!! We can reach every student! There are kids in the world who have nobody to help them and we get, no…we are PRIVILEGED to have the honor of filling that role for these children!

Enter the TMMW podcast.

As noted in my very first post, teaching is my second career. My first career was in comedy. By now, you’ve probably noticed that this blog is a 50/50 split between relevant discussions on education and poor attempts at comedy. The podcast will continue in that tradition (especially the poor attempts in comedy). It is my hope that not only will my readers become listeners, but people who don’t know about TMMW will become people who DO know about TMMW.

I’m really excited about the tone and format of this podcast and I can’t wait to get started on production. I truly believe this podcast is going to be great, and I’m so excited to share it with you in June. See you in a few weeks!

Excited about the podcast? Have any questions or suggestions? Want to leave spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War? Leave it all in the comments section below!

Teacherbag: Teacher Appreciation Week Edition

Teacherbag: Teacher Appreciation Week Edition