What a difference a few months makes. Heck, what a difference a few weeks makes. I am proud and excited to announce the launch of a brand new adventure for myself, my family, and the TeacherCast Educational Network.
This past summer, while living in North Jersey, I accepted a new position teaching middle school in Norwalk Public Schools. For the first 3 marking periods, I woke up bright and early and made the 80+ mile drive to Norwalk CT to have the opportunity to work with an awesome group of staff and students teaching Broadcast Journalism and Technology Education. I can honestly say it's the best educational experience I have ever had in almost 20 years of teaching public education, the drive, 3-hour afternoon commute time, and the more than $500 a month transportation bill (gas/tolls) really took a chunk out of me each day.
Last January, after a conversation with my principal, I was encouraged to start making plans to transition to bring my family a little closer to Norwalk. My wife and I had conversations about moving several times throughout the year, however, with the complex medical needs of 6-year-old special needs triplets in Kindergarten, it just didn't seem feasible. With the desire of keeping our triplet's care consistent, I made the decision to drive to CT every day to support our ability to stay close to the team of educators, therapists, and medical staff who care for them.
– Enter COVID-19 –
It was around the time when the country got its first taste of the words, Corona Virus when we decided to put our home on the market and look towards our future possibilities. The house went up just after the Super Bowl ended and quickly had a buyer within 3 weeks. It was now our time to start searching for our next adventure. Our goals were simple … find a home close to Norwalk that not only fit the needs of a growing family but also provide a space for the growth of my audio/video needs that will allow me to continue working on TeacherCast.
With this blog post, I am thrilled to share that my family and I are now officially residents of Connecticut and that TeacherCast has an amazing future ahead.
Building A New Future for TeacherCast
In looking at the needs of TeacherCast, I came up with three goals as well as areas in need of improvement to be featured on the network.
- TeacherCast needs to be producing more video content at a higher quality, quickly, and with more consistency
- Communication with teachers and educational companies needs to be streamlined
- The creation and future of TeacherCast needs to include my family
In order to meet all of these needs took a little bit of planning, and some hard work, but in the end, I am extremely proud to share with you the future of the TeacherCast Educational Network.
Introducing the New TeacherCast Broadcasting Studio
The new broadcasting studio was build from one of the larger rooms in our new home. It consists of four distinct stations from which I will be creating and building out TeacherCast content.
Station 1: Audio/Video Production & Web Development
The main area of the studio is where I plan on spending the majority of my time in the studio. At the current moment, it is powered by my 2013 Mac Pro and features two widescreen monitors perfect for editing video or working on the TeacherCast website. I designed this space in a way that has very minimal sightlines so I can stay focused on my various media projects and with a ton of luck, it should be paper free and clutter-free. (Fingers Crossed)
In my previous studio, this computer had a third monitor attached to it but I decided not to attach the third monitor at this point in time (continue reading below). Instead, I added a Google Nest Hub Max providing me not only a voice assistant to help me keep track of my calendar and also provide an amazing 10-inch photo collage of the family, but it actually replaces the original third monitor by being a video speaker for my YouTube viewing and Amazon Music / Spotify listening.
My microphone of choice for this station is my Blue Yetti. I installed this microphone for a few reasons, but mostly to remind me of my past. This microphone was the first one that I ever bought for TeacherCast and it still sounds great. The microphone actually symbolizes to me to never forget where you came from and always remember what brought you to the dance.
Station 2: Audio Recording
My next station is a single-function audio recording station. This is powered by my 2014 Macbook Air. I added the Air to this station because my podcast recordings are now recorded exclusively on cloud-based systems and the only thing that I need this computer to do is open the websites and be able to accept the audio from the RodeCaster Pro sitting next to it. I connected all of these devices to the Macbook Air through a Thunderbolt 2 hub that also provides an HDMI port to an external 16:9 monitor.
Nothing is new in this section. It not only will function as my broadcasting station but also was created with a second microphone on a boom arm so that I can record with the kids and any random friends who might show up. The fact that this station is facing away from my production station also helps me to stay focused on my recordings and not get distracted during my conversations with guests.
Station 3: Video Recording
My third station, and probably what will become my favorite place to create in the entire house is my video recording station. This one is special. The room that the studio was created in came complete with a wood panel wall. At first, I wasn't sure why it was here or what it would be used for, however during my final walkthrough and home inspection, it hit me that this wasn't just a wood-panel wall, it was actually a pretty awesome YouTube background. It was then that I decided that I need to point a camera at it and turn it into a focal point for upcoming videos and tech demonstrations.
Powering this station is my trusty 2014 MacBook Pro. I built in a second monitor because from time to time, this might also serve as a video editing station or even a place where the kids can plug their Chromebooks into and “work with daddy.”
One neat thing about this station is that it looks out into our Kitchen and Living room where I can get inspiration from the family while I'm working on my videos.
I love this wood background wall! Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to see what it looks like on camera.
Station 4: Inspirational Writing
The last station is one that I have yet to really develop, but I'm excited to start putting together this summer. The new house has an amazing back yard and where at first I looked at it as a large forest with a HUGE drop-off, I am now starting to look at it as an inspirational area where I can hopefully get some meaningful blogging and writing done away from the distractions of the studio. Looking out on this beautiful forest (that happens to also be the home to an army of pollen) is an amazing deck that was built just before we purchased the property. I am very much looking forward to spending time with the family and also spending some needed personal time outside getting back into nature.
Looking Back and Looking Ahead
Sitting here at 5 AM reflecting on the last few weeks since we moved into this home and started putting a new future together for ourselves has been surreal. I'm also looking through pictures on the Nest Hub for the last few years. My family and I have been through so much together. Seven years ago, we found out that we would become parents. We then found out that it wasn't one baby but three. Those babies decided to come out very tiny at only 25 weeks. It would take the next three years for us to have a complete family with all children finally living under the same roof without any need for medical equipment to help them stay alive. We went through a difficult transition to move to North Jersey for me to become a Tech Coach at school district only to have that job push me aside for the cheaper alternative because, in their words, it was too expensive to carry my health insurance. Oh yeah, in the middle of all that my wife also kicked the crap out of Breast Cancer.
So now we look ahead at what I hope to be a bright future for myself, my wife, and my children. I still can't believe that we are living in Connecticut.
What Can You Expect From TeacherCast?
I believe it was Spiderman's audio engineer who once said “With a Great Studio … Comes Great Podcasts”
As the dust settles and the house becomes more of a home to us, I plan on taking TeacherCast to that next level. My goal is to create original content each week on Tech Coaching, Podcasting (How-To's), and also reinvent my YouTube channel with new live and pre-recorded weekly content.
One of my goals is to reconnect with friends, past, present, and future, on social media. I feel like I have been off the grid for more than 6 years and it's time to stick my head up from under the water and see what everyone is chatting about. The two Facebook groups that I run will also be getting a slight facelift this summer as we prepare for the next school year.
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What Can You Expect From Jeff Bradbury?
This is the big question … isn't it?
In 2011, I created the TeacherCast Educational Network as “A Place for Teachers to Help other Teachers” and I plan on keeping it that way. I love working with others to help them achieve their goals.
I am looking forward to meeting new friends, making connections with old ones, and building new ways to connect everyone together as I have done so for many years on the podcast.
Future goes of mine are to write a book (looking for help with this one) and also continue to create conference workshops and presentations that will be shared at both a local and national level.
Next year, I look forward to returning to Norwalk Public Schools in the same capacity, but with many additional responsibilities. The district has asked me to help them transition into a new website, create a series of internally linking websites for each of the school buildings, and spearhead a new professional learning program for all staff and students. In addition, I will be teaching my Technology Education Classes and Broadcast Journalism classes on a broader level as we split one curriculum into individual 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade sections. Needless to say, I'm excited and I'm looking forward to getting back into the classroom in whatever capacity it might look like.
One of my passions is working with individuals and companies to help them achieve their goals. I currently have a number of clients who, over this summer, will be launching new podcasts, websites, and online careers. If you are interested in working with me on your next digital project, please reach out and say hello.
My family goals are simple right now. The triplets are moving into 1st-Grade. Who can believe that … right?
Thank You For Joining Me On My Journey!
For the last 9 years, you, my readers, listeners, and viewers have allowed me to create TeacherCast to serve your needs as educators and content creators. THANK YOU! If there is anything about TeacherCast or my work that you have enjoyed or has helped you and your students, please let me know by leaving a comment below.
Have a great summer everyone!