This post is tangentially connected to one I wrote earlier this week. It is about how my increasing involvement in social media as an educator nourishes and sustains me in my daily practice. Even though my presence on social media sites is increasing, I still have time for my teaching, my doctoral studies, my family and myself. Overall, what is overwhelming, in a good way, is the wide variety of professional learning opportunities available on Twitter and other social media sites, and the ever-growing PLN from whom I draw sustenance.
If I’m honest with myself, I may be a bit crazy and I don’t expect others to have the same level of commitment to this kind of thing. However, the beauty of social media is that it helps me take charge of my own learning, 24/7. Here are three of my go-to places for professional nourishment and ideas for the classroom. There are others, but they will have to wait for another post. Here’s a shout out to #HackLearning, #sbl, and #bfc530, to name three more.
#LeadUpChat happens every Saturday morning at 9:30 EST. I’m not always able to participate, but when I do it is awesome. As its name implies, the focus is on leadership – what it means, how it happens, obstacles and challenges. This morning’s chat was about how to maintain focus, how to juggle plates and how to develop leadership capacity in others. I think many of the participants are building level leaders; I am a classroom teacher. However, leadership is not a title bestowed upon a worthy few. We are all capable of being leaders in our work places. We just have to take the initiative to do it. Although it’s as simple as that, it also requires commitment, a certain level of self-confidence and an environment where leaders are able to flourish. Sometimes, we can only get that outside of our school buildings and that’s OK. So, if you’re game to discover how to lead as a teacher or an administrator, then join this chat on Saturday mornings for an inspiring conversation.
I love the #EdBeat chat! It is one of the most positive Twitter chats around. If truth be told, though, all of the Twitter chats I’ve participated in are oceans of positivity that come in waves and never let up. However, part of the mission of #EdBeat is to stay focused on the positive, both in our lives and in our schools. #EdBeat is also about sharing music and how it connects to our lives. Lots of songs get shared all the time. This chat happens every two weeks on Wednesday nights, 8:00 EST. I credit #EdBeat with a shift in my attitude about typical school issues and challenges. I now go into school with a smile on my face and maintain my focus on my students. It has changed everything! And, this new mindset has permeated into my personal life as well. I know this sounds a bit corny, but it’s authentic. We all know that sometimes toxic relationships and environments thrive on negative behaviors and the power of complainers. We know who they are. They are in every school and we may have participated in gripe sessions with these colleagues more times than we’d care to admit. The positivity and generousness of my #EdBeat band is contagious. And, that’s why I keep going back. This week’s chat on Wednesday, March 9th, is about leadership. Just right up my alley!
The #whatisschool Twitter chat happens every Thursday evening at 6:00 pm EST. While maintaining a positive outlook on everything, we have incredible discussions about all kinds of important school-related topics. The last chat I participated in was about how to integrate arts into every aspect of the school day. This was a bit of a challenging chat for me because I don’t consider myself an artist in any shape or form. However, it was really inspiring and thought provoking to read the passion expressed by other educators about the emotional, not merely intellectual, importance of arts integration in schools. Every week we discuss a different topic. Come join us, soon!
So, there you have it! Yes, these chats take up time, but the payoff in terms of energy, ideas and connections that are generated, is worth the time they take. If you haven’t already, take the plunge. You won’t regret it!