Top 3 Things I Have Learned About Podcasting
How do you share your voice? As teachers we often talk about student voice and empowering students. However, we rarely turn that around and focus on how we as teachers are empowered and how we share our voice. Sharing your voice as an educator does two things. It connects and it motivates. When you share your voice it connects you with other educators around the world that are interested in what you have to share, and we all could use more connection right now. It also motivates us to find and share more. Why? Because as people, we love that connection. We love that feedback.
In the past, I have shared about teacher burnout and provided ways in which you can stay motivated as a teacher. (You can read that article here) Preventing teacher burnout is important. According to the Georgia Department of Education, 47% of new teachers in Georgia leave the profession within the first five years. That is a problem. In that article, I talk about starting a website and twitter account to share about all the amazing things you are doing as an educator. I still think that is a great place to start; however, after starting two Podcasts...I have a third to add to that list.
I believe Podcasting is that third ingredient that can help keep you motivated and excited as a teacher
According to Podcast Insights, 50% of households in the US are listening to Podcasts. You probably have a favorite Podcast you listen to already, but have you thought about starting your own? As I said before, I have started two Podcasts in the past year. One was started with my brother-in-law and a friend and focused on Atlanta Sports, called The Atlanta Sports Podcast. We got started right before every sport stopped due to the pandemic, but we had a lot of fun making the show. It also taught me a lot about Podcasting, and helped prepare me for the new Podcast that launched a couple of months ago The Teach and Coach GA Podcast. Why am I telling you all this, because I believe Podcasting is that third ingredient that can help keep you motivated and excited as a teacher...or if you are already burned out, can reignite that flame and excitement for education. So, let's check out the top three things I have learned about Podcasting.
Your recording platform matters. In the sports podcast we launched, we learned very quickly that recording with three people, in three different houses, and in two different states was a bit of a problem. We tried using FaceTime to see each other and use a separate tool to record audio. That didn't really work. We tried a service called Ringr, but the audio often didn't match up following post production. The final version often made it sound like we were talking over each other. For example, I would ask a question and long before I was done, someone would be answering it. It just wasn't good. This might have been a WiFi issue on our end. I don't know, but with other providers it didn't seem to be an issue. We finally landed on a company called Zencastr. In the beginning, Zencastr was simply an audio recording tool. We liked it because it was easy and it did what it was supposed to do. Simply put...it worked. Then Zencastr started adding better features. Towards the end of our show, we were able to not only record audio, but the video as well. Being able to see each other as we recorded, made the recording process so much better. Plus, we were able to post those videos to YouTube and get additional listeners. Hopefully, that background helps you find your recording platform quickly. Zencastr really is awesome. If you plan to record solo every time, you really don't need a recording service. Just use Garage Band on Mac or Audacity on a PC...or just use Anchor. (More on that below) However, I will say that recording solo is extremely difficult, and having guests helps broaden the appeal of your show and connects you with others.
Anchor.fm is awesome! I discovered Anchor when I was creating content at Forsyth Virtual Academy. It is an amazing tool that allows you to record audio, edit audio, include sound effects and music, and most importantly it distributes your Podcast to all the major Podcasting platforms for FREE!!! If you are going to record a Podcast and share your voice, Anchor is a must! Another thing that I love about Anchor is that you can use it as a teacher (Spoiler alert. It may require you to have students sign a waiver. However, your school probably already has one. I am not a fan of the whole "protect" kids from the internet thing...but that is a whole different post). My students have really enjoyed creating Podcasts for assignments. I think mostly because it is different and something most of them have never done or even thought about doing before. I have had several students reach out on other assignments and ask if they can do a Podcast instead...that is pretty awesome! Even better, I have had a few continue making their own show, because they enjoyed it so much. Be sure to check out Anchor.fm.
Keep it simple. When we first started the sports Podcast, I wrote a script for the intro and texted the guys to discuss what we wanted to talk about. It caused the show to come of scripted and robotic. We had a lot more fun when we just sat down and recorded about what had happened in Atlanta Sports that week. I took the same approach with The Teach and Coach GA Podcast. I have three questions that I prepare in advance and that is it. I want it to be a conversation, and I want to be able to go where the conversation leads...not necessarily simply to the next question.
BONUS! Need help finding the right microphone, arm, or pop filter, check out the video here from Pat Flynn. He does a great job breaking it all down, and providing the best value for your money. This is the video I watched to get started and the equipment that I purchased.
We all have a story and a voice. I encourage you to share your story through a website, Twitter account, or Podcast. You will be motivated and make connections to other teachers that may open doors or point you in a direction that you never dreamed of going. I still have to pinch myself when I think about the journey that I started after beginning my website and Twitter account. I can't wait to see what connections I make and what doors are opened by this new Podcast. If you have started a website, social media account, or Podcast and want to share your positive experiences, please reach out and let me know. I would love to have you on the show!
If you haven't check out The Teach and Coach GA Podcast, you can find it on any of your favorite Podcasting platforms. You can also listen to episodes on the website here. If you are interested in coming on the show to share about the amazing things you do every day, please reach out to me on Twitter or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, that you all for taking the time to read my post.
I hope you have an awesome day!