As a teacher, I have attended many educational courses over the years, read so many books about teaching and learning and have had thousands of conversations with like-minded colleagues in order to ensure that I am moving with the times educationally. I truly believe that if education is ever-evolving, teachers should be too. Thus I see myself as a perpetual student.
Recently, I have seen how powerful Twitter is, in enabling me to keep evolving – it has some of the best CPD and it’s only a tweet away. Figuring Twitter out though has not been easy which is why I have written this post – in the hope that my haphazard journey may contain lessons for others.
I initially began to use Twitter to promote schools that I worked in. Teacher friends of mine at the time, told me that there was a wealth of support on Twitter as well as the sharing of great resources, but I hadn’t come across them. So, in the Summer of 2017, I set out to discover them. I was told to follow great teachers such as @MrsPTeach @VocabularyNinja and @MrBoothY6. Their tweets pointed me in the direction of a wealth of new books for children and all of them were passionate about teaching and learning and shared great resources in their blogs. I found that I was learning lots from them and wanted to learn from even more people, so at that point I followed lots of edutweeters.
I found that I became a retweeter and I was very good at it – I retweeted everyone else’s opinions but rarely shared mine. I did have questions about teaching and learning though which I wanted answered, but I found that if I threw a question out into the Edutwitter community, I rarely got a response. This left me feeling frustrated – I felt like the person at the party who stands against the wall watching everyone else having fun. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong.
Finally, having returned to Twitter in the Summer of 2019 the penny dropped – I wasn’t joining in. I needed to actively engage with others in forums where engagement takes place. So I made it my mission in 2020 to do just that. I started by turning up regularly to @PaulGarvey4‘s #teacher5oclockclub (admittedly I was more of a 6 o’clock person, but that didn’t seem to matter). Initially, I would just like his tweet and then I started to comment and found that other ‘5 ‘clockers’ began to follow me back including @deputygrocott. It was from him that I found out about his initiative #FFBWednesday. Basically, on a Wednesday morning you follow people and they will follow you back – all like-minded educationalists (at least that is what I have found). Finally, I started attending the #PrimaryRocks chats every Monday evening.
When I began to really engage with Edutwitter, I discovered an amazing group of online teachers and educators and am learning so much from them every day. I am asking questions again, but this time I am getting lots of responses which are impacting on the children I teach. I am hoping to learn and join other educational forums on Twitter and feel that I still have so much to learn about how to use if effectively.
So, if you are a frustrated edutweeter, I would urge you to join in and see what happens. If you follow me, I will follow you back and without a doubt we will learn so much from each other. @toriaclaire