This year has been a complete transformation for me professionally. It is hard to pinpoint what exactly has changed, but things definitely have. Here is a Wordle of this blog post:
The biggest change, I think, is in my confidence and my attitude. Twitter has opened me up to a world (and I do mean WORLD) of teachers who are are doing some of the same things as I am and are paving the roads to new teaching options. I am a high school trained teacher teaching grade 3. I will be entering my 8th year teaching at this level. Up until this year, I have always said that I am a high school teacher teaching grade 3. This year, I found myself saying that I am a primary teacher. I think this change came in a round-about way from my participation on Twitter. I found a community of people who validated what I was doing in my classroom while challenging me to try new things. So, not only have I started to consider myself a grade 3 teacher, but I have started to consider myself a really good one! This change was obviously noticed by others as well, because I will be mentoring my new grade 3 teaching partner. Upon finding out that she was teaching grade 3, she approached me for help. Both my principal and vice-principal have mentioned that they were glad I could share my expertise with a new teacher.
Another change that came from Twitter is my desire for and pursuit of professional development. Although I have always liked to attend conferences, I usually only picked conferences that my friends also attended and that took place in my home city. I also rarely, if ever, did any professional reading. Since joining Twitter, I have attended a technology conference held in another province, by myself I might add, and my list of professional reading has grown exponentially. I have read all sorts of books about teaching reading, writing, using technology. However, I have expanded my definition of professional reading to include blogs and wikis, and yes, Twitter itself. It is amazing what you can learn in 140 characters! My professional reading has also come to include reading books that my students would be reading. I read them so that I can “talk books” with my students, suggest books that they might like, and learn what books I can incorporate into my own teaching. This attitude towards children’s literature being important professional reading came from Twitter too.
I have participated in many professional discussions on Twitter. Our division has placed heavy enphasis on Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in the last 5+ years. Twitter has offered me a living, breathing, ever-changing PLC (or PLNetwork). I have participated in #edchat, during which 500+ teachers tackle a different question facing global education each week. I have participated in #elemchat, a chat focused on issues facing elementary teachers specifically. I have participated in #ellchat, a chat focused on students and families whose first language is not English. I have participated in #ntchat, a chat that brings together experienced teachers with new teachers to share advice and answer questions. Often, we are not sure which participants are which since we all seem to learn! I have participated in #ptchat, a chat that brings together parents and teachers to share the different view points on different topics in hopes that we can help each other. I have participated in #ecosys, which is mainly USA teachers who are working for change in public education, but I learn a lot about the teaching situations of my colleagues outside of my little Regina world. I have participated in the #blacked chat, which focuses on issues facing minority students. I have participated in the #bookaday challenge, where we shared thought and reviews of books we are reading. Finally, we know that exercise does wonders for the brain, so I have joined the #temt group on Twitter as well… The Twitter Exercise Motivation Team. This is a group of (mostly) teachers who are helping each other get out there and move! All this learning and discussion from a social media website!
I’m sure that I am forgetting something, but oh well! So, this is what Twitter has done for me. What has it done for you?