Twitter Chats Can Build Collaboration for Systemic Change
When I was in the classroom, I went into the school year not knowing what to expect. And since one year was so drastically different, it seemed foolish to let old situations ground me in expectations.
Rather than let fear consume me (there have been moments throughout the summer that it has), I choose to stay centered on what I know and can do. Because I know that when I keep myself open to the miraculous occurrences in this world, many opportunities show themselves in the most unlikely places.
I also know that I always have support on social media if I need it.
When we share our fears and expectations with others, we have a great opportunity to grow together. Twitter chats are a great way to connect to do this, especially if we aren't getting collegiality or collaboration inside our schools.
During a past #sunchat, many folks shared openly about their experiences - I noticed that most of our chatters are mid-career to later career educators. It was extremely heartening as it is where I'd situate myself on the continuum.
Some common themes that emerged that I took note of were:
Integration of technology, not just for the sake of adding it but understanding the purpose behind it and using it as a tool
An acceptance that we aren't perfect and can never be
We won't always know everything, and that is okay. Teachers are role models whether they like it or not, so we need to decide what kind we will be.
Many of us fear change, although we acknowledge its necessity.
Being vulnerable and honest is hard but rewarding.
Keeping an open mind helps us all learn better.
Working together creates more learning than isolation
Blogging is a great way to reflect on our experiences - sharing what we write helps others as much as it helps us.
Sometimes in chats, I hear myself saying the same things, and I question the redundancy -
Are new people hearing me? Do I grow tired of the same ideas? Aren't enough people listening and changing yet? I'm consistent, if nothing else.
Others have said that Twitter is a bunch of us preaching to the choir, but maybe it's time to take that show on the road. How can we take what we discuss on these chats and make the knowledge a part of the change?
First, we bring it into our classrooms, then engage our colleagues and communities, and now it's time to start changing education nationally.
The time is NOW -
What will you do to help us change the current policy for the benefit of all kids, not just the ones in your own space? Please share
This post originally ran on my Education Week Teacher blog in September 2016