Why Twitter is Dangerous

Don't let his cuteness fool you. This is serious business.

I will start this post by saying that I have been on Twitter since July. At first I was very skeptical because, like many other sane people, I thought, "Who in their right mind wants to know what I am doing every second of the day?" I started following a few celebrities (@jimgaffigan anyone?), but it took me a while to figure out how connecting with other educators on Twitter would help me grow as a teacher.

Eventually I started quietly following some teachers, technology specialists, librarians, etc. Keep in mind that at this point I had just finished a pretty successful school year, and I considered myself to be a pretty effective, technologically-savvy teacher. Boy, was I wrong.

Here is the problem with Twitter. You are suddenly exposed to all of these wonderful, thoughtful people who seem to have everything figured out. Honestly, the first month or so I was on Twitter was spent just figuring out what the heck people were talking about. I almost deleted my account a few times, because I have a very weak stomach for anything that seems pretentious or self-promoting. Finally I came to the conclusion that I was jealous. I don't know about you, but jealousy is a pretty strong motivator for me. I stuck with it and now I am so glad I did.

Before I joined Twitter I was happy. I thought I was doing a pretty good job as a teacher, and I was content to do the same things year after year. Now, I don't ever seem to be satisfied. This is why Twitter is dangerous to educators. You are suddenly aware that there are so many possibilities for teaching and learning that you never even considered or knew about before.

Another way Twitter is dangerous is that it puts you out there. You are opening yourself up to be mocked, criticized, or worse. At the same time though, you are opening yourself up to a world of ideas and opportunities. I have felt empowered this year to try many new things, and I know my students are the better for it. I used to like feeling like I had it all figured out. Now I like living on the edge.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I decided to create a tag cloud using Tagxedo to see what I have been trying to say with this blog in 2010.

I was glad to see that I have used the words "share" and "students" many times. I'm thinking a New Year's resolution can be to chill out on using the word "little" so often. It's one of those female, apologizing-all-the-time things I do I'm sure.

I also thought I might revisit my list of goals for the school year that I made in August.

1. Class Website - I am really proud of how this has turned out. I think it has been a good tool to communicate with students and parents outside of school. I now need to figure out better ways to get parents and students involved- it has been somewhat of a one way street so far. We have also tried out student blogging this year, and it has been fun for the kids. I'm not sure how much they've gotten out of it, but all in all it has been a solid effort. My new goal for 2011 is to find time for meaningful student blogging.

2. My Personal Blogging- Obviously there is room for improvement here. Like most things in my life, I am hot one minute and cold the next. Really need to work on that consistency thing... My goal is to start posting at least once a week because I have found this process to really help me reflect on my teaching (and learning).

3. Not Be Afraid to Try New Things- Well, I think this has been somewhat achieved. I have definitely opened myself up to some new experiences this year. One biggie has been giving students more control over their learning. I have been much better about giving students open-ended assignments and projects that have allowed them to show their creativity. I know that I can do more of this. Also, I created a new Project Wiki so that our classes can showcase their work. I consider this an accomplishment because up until a few months ago, I seriously had no clue what a "wiki" even was.

4. Ask Myself What's Best for the Students- Somehow, this is the one that I have struggled the most with. So many days I rush around like a crazy person trying to fit everything in. I am sometimes short with students who want to tell me stories because I'm "too busy" or because we have "so much to fit in before _______." My goal for 2011 is to SLOW DOWN, not over-plan, and take the time to be there for my students. That's who we're here for, right?

What are your goals for 2011?