How many of you are on Twitter? 🙋🏻♀️ How many of you begrudgingly created your account because your district “recommended” it? 🙋🏻♀️ How many of you now find yourself checking it an embarrassing amount during the day?……🙋🏻♀️
I’ve had my Twitter account now for about 6ish years and I remember exactly where I was when I created it. My district actually had an outside tech consultant come in for some different things and one of them was to show us the power that Twitter could have for us. I happened to be sitting in the last row, in our lounge, for this Twitter training. I remember it so vividly because I thought “why on earth would anyone need a Twitter account and how am I actually going to use this?” I was a naysayer for sure…but I’m also a rule follower. So I created an account, came up with my username (which I then learned was called a “handle”), and sent out my first tweet.
My account sat untouched for a couple years. To be honest, I forgot I even had it. But…the conversations about how we should use Twitter to tell our district’s story never stopped. I listened to them, but never actually tweeted.
I don’t know what it was exactly that got me so excited that I just had to share it out, but it happened and I tweeted. As a reading specialist I probably only tweeted like twice, and I never just scrolled through my feed. I definitely never understood the power that Twitter had and what it could offer.
The big shift happened for me when I became an instructional coach in my building. I was now getting the opportunity to be a part of every classroom and work alongside of all of the amazing teachers in my building. After witnessing the incredible things that these teachers do every single day, I finally understood why our superintendent had been so insistent about us sharing our story for others to see. The teachers in our district show up in a big way for every single student. They go above and beyond in everything they do: their teaching, the relationships, the fun, and more. The rest of the world needed to see what I see when I walk into their rooms. I remember what it’s like being in the trenches of the day-to-day routines of the classroom; you tend to feel like you’re not making a difference. Tweeting out the amazingness of what’s happening not only let’s the rest of the world see, but also serves as a reminder to the teachers just what a big impact they make every day.
Not only am I now doing my part in sharing our district’s story (follow #sd113a….you won’t be disappointed), but Twitter has helped me grow immensely as an educator. Over the past few years, I’ve grown my PLN (professional learning network) and collaborated with educators all over the world. I’ve found coaches in so many other areas of the country and constantly reach out to them for ideas and inspiration. Sometimes, I email them for feedback on some of my crazy ideas….and they promptly bring me back down to earth. Even though we’ve never actually met face-to-face, I feel like I’ve known some of them forever!
Another tip…when you start tweeting, don’t be afraid to tag people! Last year, I was tweeting out book reviews and anytime I could, I would tag the author. I didn’t think anything would ever come from it, I just wanted them to see it. One day, Lauren Tarshis sent me a DM thanking me for reviewing her latest I Survived book on Twitter. I fangirled about that one for a while! Anytime I tweeted out about using Words Their Way in our school, I would always tag Pearson in it. Well, after a while, they either got sick of seeing my tweets or they liked what I was doing, and they reached out to me and asked me to be a regular contributor on their blog. It’s been a wild ride!
Twitter chats have also been such a powerful tool for me as I continue to learn. I’m not going to lie, when I first started, these chats would intimidate me like crazy. I was a “lurker”. I followed the hashtag (because I finally figured out how to do that) and just read the questions and answers in my head. I slowly started to feel braver and would answer one question in the whole hour long chat. I continued to join in when I could and when they sounded interesting to me. Finally, I decided to just jump in with both feet and haven’t looked back since. After a year of participating in the #educoach chat (Wednesdays at 8 CST), I was asked to join their moderating team. I know that doesn’t sound like a big accomplishment, but for someone that was a complete “Twitter non-believer” in the beginning, this is huge.
So…if you haven’t created an account yet, or you’re still in the “lurker” stage, I encourage you to jump in!! Start tweeting, join a chat, DM someone, or just upload a picture to your account! You have no idea what opportunities could happen from connections you make through Twitter. For educators, Twitter has absolutely become professional development anytime you need…get on there and then find me @mrs_janusz, I’d love to chat with you!