My first episode was broadcast on www.voiced.ca February 5th, 2018. So - I've also hit my 1st Podcast-aversary. A year and 50 episodes into my podcasting journey seems like a good time to reflect on some of my learning.
The ask is the hardest part.
Deciding to do a podcast, to make that leap and try something new is always challenging. I'll admit to having some butterflies in my stomach as I got my head around what my format would be and the logistics of getting started. When the time came to ask a guest to join me it was like a plague of locusts had taken up residence in my gut. My first episode guest, TVDSB administrator, Heather Jakobi, was so great about just making the leap with me. When I listen to this episode now, I cringe at my tech errors and I can hear my own nervousness come through, but the sharing and learning is just as great in that recording as in my most recent one. "The ask" continues to be the toughest aspect of podcasting for me. Those locusts are still jumping around as I hit send on a request. Why would these intelligent, busy, and amazing Educators want to give up their time to talk to me? And let me record it. And then let me broadcast it. I'm still not sure why they do, but I am so grateful to them for saying yes. I've had a few turn me down, most often because they are uncomfortable with the medium, but so many more have been quick to respond and jump in. And I love the guests who have told me "I've never done this before, but it sounds fun - let's do it." To all of my first 50 guests, my heartfelt thanks for joining me on the journey.
Being organised is helpful
I've tried to release one episode a week. To do that, work full time and still spend time with my family can get a bit frantic. Folks who know me will likely agree when I say I'm pretty organised. This has helped. When I know things are going to be hectic, like September and June, I record a few episodes in advance and then hold back releasing them in those hectic times. It's certainly a lot easier to record a few extra episodes in August (and easier to book times to record with guests) when I'm not working every day. Having a PLN that is always willing to help is a great asset too. I've had times when a guest has had to cancel or reschedule and my PLN has always been great about responding to a request for a guest with very little notice. Those have been some of the best and most enjoyable episodes to do. It's like chatting with a friend.
Yep, things are going to go wrong. And they did. They continue to do so. Don't panic. Just breathe.. and if you can't figure it out yourself, ask for help! Stephen Hurley (the godfather of voicEdRadio) was and continues to be my best resource for tech issues. Mind you, he did give me the push to get into this. I think the first time I experienced audio drift I started to hyperventilate. Then there was the time I thought I lost the feed from my guest in Australia. Imagine my horror! This guest, across the world, has just spent an hour recording with me - across busy schedules and a pile of time zones, and I've lost the audio! No matter what the problem, Stephen was very patient and helped fix my tech issues while I was learning how to fix them myself. In times of trouble, I've reached out to other podcasters for help and they have never let me down. Noa Daniel, your Google Hangout with me to show me a few Garage Band tricks made a profound impact on my editing skills! So many people I have never even met before, have answered my questions. Those of you who've helped me over this first year... a thousand times, Thank you!
Can I keep up the pace?
When I started last February, I set myself a goal of one Episode a week. If you count the live episodes, which I didn't include in my tally, I'm over 50 for the year. So, goal met. Can I keep up the pace going forward? I've had discussions with guests and other podcasters about the work that goes into a 30 minute to an hour podcast. There's the time spent asking and connecting with guests. I always like to do a little research. My episodes last about 30-45 minutes or longer, so there is that recording time. As I just mentioned, something often goes wrong and the episode needs some editing. I don't do a lot of post production work and I try only to edit for tech issues. I want the authentic voice of my guest to be heard, and I don't want to edit that voice out because of a time issue. Once the issue drops, I promote it via Social Media. My guests have given so generously of their time, I feel I owe it to them to promote the Episode and get their voice heard. So yes, podcasting has been a fairly large time commitment. It has certainly reduced the amount of blogging I am able to do. It's also a heck of a lot more interesting and fun than housework! At this point, I'd like to try to keep close to the one a week goal. But, I may be a bit easier on myself than I was in the first year.
The www.voiced.ca Community
Being a part of this community of EDU-podcasters has been - I don't even know how to put it into words - Supercalifragilisticexpealidoucius? The support, the sharing, the live broadcasts, guesting on each others shows, the goofy gifs and the 'all in good fun' teasing on Twitter have been a unexpected but wonderful gift. These are great Educators and great people. I'm honoured to be amongst them.
In the 50th Episode, Sarah and I talk about our listening skills. I think that's one of the intangible benefits of podcasting. I'm a much better listener than I was a year ago and not just when I'm podcasting. As the year has progressed, I find myself really listening deeply to what my guests are saying. I'm not so worried about the next question, or getting to a certain topic before the time is up. I'm really processing what they are saying and reflecting on it, even after our recording time is up. I'm finding myself listening better to my Students and Colleagues as well. And that is a good thing.
From the very impetus of the idea of this podcast, my goal has been to highlight and share the great things Teachers have been doing and learning. I also wanted to share those things we don't learn in our Teacher Training - but sometimes learn the hard way as we navigate our educational careers. By sharing these things we all learn and maybe save someone from making some of our own mistakes. The show is not about me (OK, maybe episode 50 is), it's about all my wonderful guests. I thank you for joining me as a guest, and I thank everyone who has listened this year.
I think I'll end this post like I end each episode, by saying that I really do hope to be talking to you soon on I Wish I Knew EDU, where we are looking back, and learning forward.