I remember my first few rounds with Twitter. They didn’t go so well, I was KO’d in a matter of hours. I didn’t see the power of it. I didn’t see the benefit of it. I didn’t see how it would be worth my time. I mean, come on man, people are following Justin Bieber and Kobe Bryant to see what they are up to every waking hour. I struggled to find the hook that was needed in order for me to start using another social media tool. I think that this is a common struggle with other educators that haven’t jumped in the Twitter ring. It is hard for us, as educators, to put ourselves out there. Sometimes we become very protective of what goes on in our own classrooms. Sometimes we hesitate in asking for help or putting our ideas out there for fear of what might come back. I get that, I felt that way. I truly thought that there wasn’t anything I was doing in my classroom that already hadn’t been done. But, I experienced two rounds that changed my mind and encouraged me to put my gloves back on and get back into the ring.
Round 1: Instead of going in with a right jab, I decided to go at Twitter with a left uppercut. I decided to introduce Twitter to my Business Management class. I was struggling with the books and resources available to high school students to learn about management. I happen to run across an article someone shared on Twitter about Star Wars and Management. I created a lesson for my students that used this article as the starting point. As the students worked, it punched me right in the face….they need to use Twitter to access all the experts out there. So, I decided to incorporate Twitter into the classroom for my students to see the power of it. Was Twitter open for students….no. Did students have access to Twitter on personal devices…..yes. So, let’s go. Watching my students experience Twitter and learn from people all over the world was amazing and through their experience with Twitter, the right cross hit me square in the face. I knew I needed to give it another go.
Round 2: So, I dug back in as a lurker. I was willing to go another round, but protect my chin. I lurked in the #nebedchat for weeks before I actually tweeted something. At that moment, it was important for me to see what I could get from Twitter. Around the same time, my fellow business education and Twitter friends, Mickie Mueller(@mickie_mueller) and Shelly Mowinkel(@ShellyMowinkel) started the #busedu chat. Here is where I found my comfort zone, a place I could practice my jab, cross, hook and uppercut. I taught the same subjects as these educators, I had the same struggles, I understood their language. I felt like I had something to share that would benefit others. We all have things to share, sometimes we just need to get out of our own way. These two experiences changed the way I viewed Twitter. It became very apparent, after a few hits, that this was where I was going to learn and grow as an educator.
As educators, it is important to find places for support and encouragement. Twitter has been one of those tools for me. Although we may be hesitant to put ourselves out there,
it is critical to push ourselves and try something that might make us a little uncomfortable. Be willing to share the amazing things going on in your classroom so that you might help someone who is stuck and struggling. I encourage everyone to find that place, that ring, where you feel comfortable practicing. There is a spot out there for everyone. Check out this list of chats to find one where you can start lurking and maybe, before you know it, you will feel comfortable enough to step in the ring.