Teachers are learners

This was My First Tweet. It has been five years.

Sadly, it still is so true. Who wouldn’t want a perpetual weekend? I have spent 5 years on twitter (kind of, more on that later) and I have learned so much to the point that I’m a different person than the one that wrote that grammatically incorrect tweet 5 years ago. Just like any new learner, I was doing it wrong at first. My account was locked, and I was only following famous people and my not so famous friends. My only followers were my friends, and when I needed to talk to them, I texted them instead of using twitter. After awhile, I felt that twitter wasn’t all it was hyped up to be. I didn’t care what the celebrities were eating and I definitely didn’t care to see what my friends were eating, unless they were going to bring it to me (they didn’t).

I stopped using twitter for a couple of years after that. Looking back, I didn’t have anyone to teach me, and I couldn’t see the value in it. I locked my account and worried about being followed by students (I was denying any student requests to follow me). I don’t remember what prompted me to start using twitter for school. When I did, I went through the learning process, but I got to learn it with my students. I made mistakes, learned from it, and it has been transformational experience for me. I try to follow(back) students who choose to follow me on twitter, and I have been following my students for 2 years now. I was nervous about doing it at first, and I learned even more lessons along the way. I had to un-follow a few students that were posting things I did not wish to see on my timeline, but it gave me an opportunity to talk to them about it in school. There are many positives to following students, mostly it’s the enhanced connection I have with them. It’s tough to get to know the quiet students in class sometimes, and I was surprised by how different they were online. Students have approached me in the hall to tell me that it’s a good thing that I’m on twitter. They told me it “actually made me look more human”. Well then.

Someone once told me that it’s more important to teach the student first, curriculum second. Somewhere along the way, we forgot about the relationship aspect of teaching and learning. I have noticed a change in the relationship I now have with my students. I know a lot more students at my school, including students that I haven’t taught, and they know me better as well.

The best part of my learning in the past two years was that there are many educators on twitter! I have made new connections and have seen different perspectives about education from all around the world. These teachers also share! It’s great to see that there are so many dedicated and innovative teachers out there. Having these connections has made me a better teacher. There are so many great educators in the twitterverse. I can’t wait to meet more and learn more from them. (This will definitely be another post later)

Here are some anecdotes from my time on twitter:

Students are a great resource, and they tell me what they’re interested in learning about.

I got some positive reinforcement from a student when I had the privilege of introducing our valedictorian this past year.

We don’t give our students enough credit because they appreciate our work. Eventually.

Recently, I had a task that I needed help with. So I asked for help on twitter. The response was awesome. It turned into quite a funny story!

My personal favorite:

I once helped a student who was stuck in her bathroom via twitter.

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