If we were in high school voting in the yearbook polls I probably would be voted “School Spirit Spaz.” I love my teacher friends, I love my students, and I love my school. My favorite “hobby” is searching for ideas. Ideas for how to teach a lesson better, new strategies, new books, new educators to connect with. With that I say Thank God for #Twitter. Twitter is probably one of the best professional development tools I have found and at this very moment I’m still a newbie.
I never intended to join Twitter. I had no interest in reading tweets from celebrities. After all, those are the only people who tweeted I thought. Tweeted? Twote? Tweetered? But was I ever mistaken! My school district recently began holding weekly Twitter chats on various educational topics. Due to the illness I suffer from known as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) I absolutely needed to find out what was happening during these chats. I created an account, picked my handle, figured out the whole hashtag shenanigans and began my journey. I am so grateful I did. After one week on Twitter I received a book I was interested in reading from a principal at another school as well as a writing curriculum that was just laying around someone’s office. All because I “tweeted” about it. In those moments of receiving those materials I realized I’d been missing out on tons of professional development and networking. Through Twitter I have been able to connect with my favorite educational gurus and authors, other teachers, education specialists, and my favorite teacher bloggers.
Recently I began using a discussion format in my classroom inspired by educator Dave Stuart, Jr. (davestuartjr.com) called Pop Up Debates. I wasn’t quite sure if I was implementing it correctly. If only I had a way to call him. After all he is an ed celeb in my eyes. Through Twitter, I was able to search for him, “follow” him, and ask him my questions. And he responded! It was like the time I was in junior high and sent fan mail to the New Kids on The Block, only they didn’t respond. Dave Stuart Jr, DID respond! I’ve spent years reading books and articles about literacy instruction and classroom management only to now have access to communicating with their authors directly. This has completely changed my professional world. I now consider these people friends who live in my computer.
I’ve been criticized a little by fellow teachers for this new found love of Twitter and my constant searching for better lesson plans. “I don’t have time for that,” people have said. My response to them is that we don’t have time to become irrelevant to our students. Our time with our students is short and if we are to make an impact we must continue to develop ourselves professionally. We need to take the time to understand what they are into and not allow ourselves to drift so far away from those things that we can no longer teach to their interests. One way is via the TWEET!
The magic of Twitter is that it is a tool for communication, idea sharing, and networking. So if you haven’t created a Twitter account I highly encourage you to do so. Follow me at @Ms_Woz.