I teach history and coach in an independent secondary school in the South, and although I have blogged before, this is my first foray into the education blogosphere. (As I side note, I hereby resolve to steadfastly avoid the word “blogosphere” henceforth.)

I envision this blog primarily as a place where I can a) reflect on history, on teaching, and on independent school education; and b) connect with other educators, thus informally advancing my own professional development.

I first considered starting this blog over the summer, while reading Parker J. Palmer’s The Courage to Teach. Palmer’s book had been assigned as “Faculty Summer Reading” by my school’s administration, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that although I didn’t necessarily agree with everything I read, it was full of ideas worth engaging. During our faculty orientation discussions, I realized just how much I’d missed the unfettered exchange of ideas that I enjoyed during college and graduate school. Too often, I think, this sort of communication is limited by institutional power dynamics, by the compartmentalized nature of secondary education, and (perhaps most often) by the sheer exhaustion that we teachers struggle with on a daily basis.

For me, this orientation discussion was refreshing. This sort of thing happens occasionally in passing conversations with colleagues, but there is rarely–at my school at least–any sustained dialogue about what it means to teach, why we do it, or how we can get better at it, especially while maintaining our collective sanity. (This is to say nothing of serious intellectual conversations about our respective disciplines.) Although I hope that I can help to change the “local culture” where I work, I also hope that this blog can become a place where teachers can swap their own ideas about such topics.

So, now that you know a bit about me and why I started this blog, you may be asking: why is it called Indie Teacher? Well, I can assure you it’s not because I’m always up-to-date on the indie rock scene. In fact, I tend to dismiss guys with asymmetrical hair and skinny jeans, regardless of what their music may sound like. (Yes, in fact, I do realize what I’m missing. I just don’t care that much.) Rather, I chose the name because I teach in independent schools and I tend to have a bit of an independent streak. I cherish the autonomy I’m given in the classroom, although sometimes I wonder if I’m a little too independent even for an independent school. More on this later.