Not About My Salary, But More About My Reality

Jose Vilson Jose

Thinking Man

Am I sure I want to make this kind of leap?
Why leave the confined of a blog where I amassed what feels like thousands of comments (100+ comments in my “Fuck Bush” post alone)?
300+ subscribers?
almost 5 years of blogging?
Tons of forwards, friends, and acquaintances
And I was able to start some shit at will?

Good question …

A year ago, I started this humble blog in the hopes of upgrading from an energetic and random blog to a more personal and grown-up vision for how I wanted to represent myself, not just on the Internet, but in real life. While my site, The Jose Vilson, is really my home, the blog under that name is really the mouthpiece, analogous to rap’s role in the hip-hop culture. While there the other elements of hip-hop like breakdancing, turntablism, graffiti, and knowledge make their presence felt, rap is the centerpiece now for the rest of the culture.

In February, I was just trying to find my way around this vast blogosphere, hoping I could take some of my Xanga brethren along with me for the ride. That worked only within my inner circle (you know who you are). Thus, unlike Xanga where it’s much easier to reach out to others, join communities, and subscribe to other blogs, and have all these activities neatly centralized, I had to go and reach out to the blogosphere is much more messy, hoping my Google results let me run into someone who shared a similar interest in topics I held most vital in my mind. By May, I had already settled on writing about teaching, because I didn’t find very interesting educational bloggers through any of the search engines at first.

I would be the first Black-Latino NYC / LES educator / poet / blogger, and that’s my niche, and I wouldn’t compromise my message for fear of retribution from any school district, board, administration, or any other person who even remotely knew me. No pseudonyms. Just me.

But of course, I couldn’t arrive at this by myself. Despite my independent nature, I have a great understanding that, like the blog carnivals and Technorati authority numbers we see around the blogosphere, I couldn’t have arrived at the place I’m at without a little help from some awesome bloggers. Naturally, I’m inclined to thank NYC Educator for his awesome advice regarding my classroom situations. His was the first blog I read dealing specifically with NYC education, and he pulls no punches. I also thank him for linking me and one of my first popular blogs (“16 Things I Learned This Year“).

NYC Ed led to me meeting many of the blogs I link to or have in my Google Reader or blogroll. Miss Profe, who introduced me to other underrepresented bloggers like The Field Negro, a man so popular now, I can hardly get to the bottom of his box comment to write to him. Just his link to me in his “Blogs I Am Feeling” section led a lot of traffic this way, and I couldn’t be more grateful. From Miss Profe, I also found thefreeslave, who in turn put me on to the Afrospear. Of course, that group helped me find other random blogs like The Unapologetic Mexican, and the slew of Latino blogs I needed to balance the other parts of my identity. Of course, the Carnival of Education helped me find teachers like Repairman, dy/dan, Frumteacher, and Ms. Whatsit.

And before I knew it (July 2K7 or so), I stopped blogging over there and focused on blogging here. Finito …

But even after 4 layout changes, 84 readers, a Weblog Award finalist award, and 874 comments later, I’m still humbled by the love shown to my blog. Granted, it takes a while for me to write these essays after my long day at work, and it’s more about staying reflective in my teaching and life in general, but I also see the importance of sharing those experiences with people around the world. As cheesy as it sounds, I would prefer that I stay at the level I’m at if it means I can keep inspiring others at the rate I’m at than becoming more popular and not inspiring anyone at all.

Because of this blogoversary, I present my top 5 lists …

My Favorite 5 Blog Posts:

1. L’Chayim: I Wish For You 100 Years of Success But It’s My Time
2. Walk On Water
3. A Synopsis of the Road Less Wanted
4. Having Your Cake and Eating It Too, Workshop Model Style
5. 16 Things I Learned This School Year

My Posts I Wish More People Read:

1. Actions Affirmative
2. It Doesn’t Feel Right
3. Follow The Leader
4. Love, Reign O’er Me
5. I Remember When … (School Edition)

Top 5 Post Topics That Didn’t Quite Make It Out Of Draft Mode

1. The day I found staplers in my pastelito (I still get queasy thinking about it), then had a roach slip out of my piece of cheesecake, and when I went to shower, there was no hot water … all in a matter of 4 hours ….
2. My dedication to Joe Budden (cool dude, but Mood Musik 3 wasn’t better than MM2)
3. Why I can’t stand those kids who still wear 80s gear like Reagan’s still alive
4. My workout plan (because I stopped doing it for a good 3-4 months and only recently resumed)
5. A flashback to my days in Catholic private school (it’s not ready yet)

Top 5 Reasons Why I Really Moved to My Own Site

1. If you’re a writer that has the means to host your own site, have control of its content, and use whatever editing software you want, then you should have your own blog site. Ownership of your own material is important.
2. It’s rare to find Black- and Latino-owned blog sites in general, so here’s +1.
3. I hate having to Google my full name and find everyone else but me.
4. As previously mentioned, there aren’t many (any) bloggers who write about my experience at all.
5. A deep-seated necessity for needing to change my space.

Top Five Tag Lines I Might Use Again in 2008

1. jose, your favorite math’s teacher’s favorite math teacher …
2. jose, who laughs at sites like Boycott Chuck Norris
3. jose, who wishes he could thank every single blogger, new and old, that shows him love, which he might have just done …
4. jose, who has constant cravings for some …
5. jose, who stands by his contradictions :-) …

jose, who must do this again next year …