What Twitter has done for me

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:

Twitter_blog

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?

15 thoughts on “What Twitter has done for me

  1. Jamie,
    I completely agree with you about Twitter and my own growth as a teacher. In fact, Twitter is responsible for my growth this past year-not my home campus or district. Unfortunately, I have mentioned Twitter to my administration several times and it fell upon deaf ears. I really wish teachers would try it just for a little while. I think they will be amazed at the opportunities.

  2. Transformation is a great word to use. Twitter has transformed me as a teacher as well. Amazing, isn’t it? And after only a few months on Twitter, it is seeping into other parts of my life too. #temt IS awesome and it’s keeping me motivated to get healthier… (which in turn makes me a better teacher.)

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great post! Can I just day ditto to everything you said! I have had almost exactly the same experience with Twitter this year, thank you for articulating it so well.

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention What Twitter has done for me | Learning to be SMART -- Topsy.com

  5. Thank you for sharing your experience Jamie. I have had similar experiences on Twitter. One of the most profound effects for me has been the expansion of the parts of myself that I find positive. Twitter gives me a forum to express myself openly, connect with others authentically without worrying as much as I sometimes might in the day to day work setting. I am hoping that the confidence I have gained will spill over as I begin working in a new school environment this year. Thanks for asking the question. Gives me more to think about!

  6. I am a twitter convert too. Not so much the social chit chat but definitely following like-minded tweeters.

  7. Great post. I love and appreciate all the different hashtags you listed and will definitely add them to my tweetdeck! I also agree with you on how much one learns and grows in an exciting supportive environment – Twitter!

  8. Great Post! I have found twitter to be full of rich discussion and great professional dev in 140 characters. It is amazing. I love being to have conversations within my district F2F and on twitter, which allows for a new view (which is fantastic) so you do not get the same mind frame each time!
    Joe (@jrsteach)

  9. I’m still fairly new to Twitter, but I have to say it has changed my professional life! It’s amazing the variety of wonderful resources which people share. Thanks to Twitter I’m now part of the second Bloggers Alliance and I get to learn even more from great educators around the globe.

  10. Your post is right on the money! I spent a while lurking and finally jumped into the deep end with participating myself and have learned and shared so much. More than I have ever done at the building or even the district level. I will continue to encourage others with whom I work to develop their own PLNs through Twitter. This is a powerful 140-character tool!

  11. Jamie,

    Twitter is such an amazing tool. It saddens me every time I see teachers wrinkle their noses at the mere mention of it. When I first began on Twitter, I mostly learned about technology and education in general. Boy, was I behind the times! The first three months felt like I was getting a master’s degree in technology.

    After some time, I began finding more reading specialists to follow and Twitter became even more powerful for me. The resources and reflections everyone in my PLN shares amaze me!

    Before Twitter, I really didn’t know what a blog was either. Now I have my own thanks to the supportive encouragement of my Twitter PLN! I cannot thank them enough (and yes, this includes you!):)

  12. Pingback: September 2010 « S.A. E-Learning Newsletter

  13. Pingback: Twitter as a professional development tool? « Unit 4 Creativity and Context

  14. Pingback: Twitter as a professional development tool? « Unit 8 Culture and Context