Twitter and Blog
Signing up for a Twitter account has been the easiest part of being a part of any of the available social media outlets. Even though I had already signed up for an account for a previous class, I was not sure how to connect with other people with a common interest or with educators. Using Twitter is like acquiring any new technology, it takes a few trials and many errors for the technology to sink in and transform my brain to function and to express my thoughts succinctly. So far, I have learned to use it wisely, to connect with educators around the world and to share my mind. I am aware that I still need to find out how to exploit the maximum capabilities of Twitter for the benefit of expanding my network. The final purpose is not for me to have many followers of to follow many people but that I learn to be discerning on who, how and why I decide to follow certain educators or professionals. Twitter is a two-way street where those who are in the field of education expect to give, but also it is anticipated that teachers also will receive knowledge that at the end will benefit our students’ learning. Blogging is a more difficult trade to learn because it takes hours to think through all the thoughts that I want to express. When writing a blog, you need to be careful to share only the necessary information in order to draw the reader to engage in the dialogue. Not all of us have the gift or writing, and in my case, it takes dozens of minutes to put my thoughts together on paper or a screen. Besides adapting my mind to blogging, I also need to start reading other educator’s blogs to learn from them. “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” (Harry Truman)
Connected Educator Growth
Six weeks ago, my only network was the teachers at my school and teacher friends from previous employment, but now my growth as a connected educator has been escalating steadily and I hope to keep growing in the areas of connectivity. There are certain areas of my professional life that I believe I have seen growth because I am getting out of my comfort zone and I am interacting with people through social media. The two major areas that have been affected positively in my life during the past six weeks are: Investing with a purpose and Communicating with passion.
Investing with a purpose
“Connected educators do not invest in others with the goal of getting something in return” (Whitaker, 2015). Since my early days of teaching, I vividly remember how I learned to be a giving teacher. When you are a new teacher, you need all the help that you can get from colleagues, next door neighbor teachers or friends. Most teachers are considered to be selfless individuals, and many of them go out of their way to help others. Using social media makes it even easier for people to support your needs and direct you on the right path, to the right website or to an innovative tech tool. I notice a common trend among connected educators. The trend is to help those teachers that are stranded or those who are looking for support.
Communicating with a passion
“No amount of online connectivity can completely replace the power of meeting in person, but it can certainly play a vital role in building relationships with others around the world” (Whitaker, 2015). We all attend department, staff and collaboration meeting where there is an atmosphere of negativity. Those meetings tend to move only in one direction and usually, the meetings end up with a horrible taste in your mouth and nothing gets accomplished. Twitter chats are the opposite because there is a sense of caring and people don’t complain about behavior, but we look for ways to adapt and make our jobs more enjoyable. The idea of I, MINE, ME, MYSELF, MY NEEDS is not even mention on the group chats nor expressed for connected educators. It is about being supportive, and redirecting our attention to OUR STUDENTS, STUDENT’S LEARNING AND STUDENT’S ACHIEVEMENT. “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man.” (Matthew 15:18).
There are a few challenges that might hinder my growth as a connected educator. Striving to be tomorrow today, attempt to make a greater impact, expect the best and respond in kind, and multitask or focus?. I believe that my areas of weaknesses focus on making time to maintain connectivity with a group of educators. Tweet what your heart desires but always promote the good and beneficial. We all make time to play, to eat, to sleep now we need to take a moment to reflect. Reflect on those things that added value to your professional life, ponder and meditate on the details of your success and then when you are ready to share 140 characters motivate your mind to be the source of light that darkness needs.
Follow 5, find and take 5 is an excellent way to start expanding my network but it does not stop there. Quality over quantity that is what it will make a greater impact on the number of reliable resources that I can gain and that I will be able to spread through the collaboration network. The factors that will make a difference in achieving the growth goals are: Building meaningful relationships, trusting others, strive to make a greater impact and bringing my personal best every day.
“The importance of intentionally building and maintaining positive relationships with our colleagues simply cannot be overstated”(Whitaker, 2015). Our first audience is mainly our students, and we focus our attention to build a professional relationship with our students. We build trust, care for their well-being and encourage them to learn. Our second group of people that we build relationships is the teachers at our school site. The relationships that we nurture are the ones with our neighbor teacher. The third relationship is our department but one hour a week it does not allow anyone to build good relationships. The last relationship is with the parents. Seldom, we seek to build relationships outside the school however technology has made it easier to seek those positive relationships that will nurture, make you grow and share their knowledge. The goal is to build as many branches of relationships that will create a give and take ideas to collaborate together.
Ideas from PLN
The ideas that have been helpful for my teaching area have been writing prompts for science middle school classes that I plan to adapt to my classroom next school year. Another great resource has been the vast amount of blog resources available.
There is so much information that I need to be careful that I don’t get lost trying to follow everyone and just focus my highway of ideas on the short term goals of my teaching career.