Trying Something New...
The following post is a collaborative writing between my friend Kevin and I. (Check out his blog: theteachingjedi.wordpress.com). We have been working together over the past few months and wanted to share the power of such collaboration.
As you can see, Kevin and I are pretty similar. Our journeys to this point...parallel. Yet, he lives near cows and I am allergic to cows...BUT we are very much the same. Weird how that happens. We both feel that we have changed for the better, from our former selves. We both feel that we have grown, pretty quickly. We have similar ideas on education, leadership, character. Above all, we both feel that through our connection...we are #bettertogether. Is that right, Jedi?
Yes ma’am, 100% accurate! Listen, this is for you out there, our dear readers: We are absolutely, unequivocally, totally #BetterTogether. Cori, me, you, all of us. Teachers have a tendency to live on their own islands, to do their own thing, to be overly protective of their classrooms, etc. While yes, we should cherish and covet our time with our students, we also need to open the doors, drop the barricades, and let others in. Flatten walls and build bridges instead. When we do that, we get to experience something we want our students to do: honest collaboration. How can we preach that to our students and not do that ourselves? Scary, yes. Necessary, yes, absolutely! Our students deserve it, and you deserve it! What we get out of it - the collaboration, the the connections, the relationships and friendships - is worth every ounce of effort. This is so true, you may not even realize it yet, but you need it. Trust us, you really do!
So...how do you find people to connect with? The way we met...a Twitter Chat...a goofy #ohsheet hashtag also helped :) Oh yes, finding someone with a similar sense of humor, definitely helps.
I’m trying to remember, how we even met...I think it was from a Twitter chat? #GAfE4Littles I believe. (Shout out to our girl Christine Pinto!) We bonded over the fact that we are both terrified of sheets! It was the #ohsheet! Hashtag :) That is what did it!!! It’s easy to bond with people when you let your guard down and show your true self...it worked for us! It's nice to know that we are not alone.
First off, for the new-to-Twitter peeps, chats can get confusing...fast. But, since we are all working with a growth mindset here (right?!), creeping on, I mean observing a few, really helps. Eventually though, you have to dive in head first. You can’t dabble in them or be a one-hit-wonder by posting once and leaving. You’ll have to commit at least an hour to most chats, at least to get the full benefit from it. It’s in the chats that you find people of your own, so to speak. Your tribe, your squad! People who share common values, interests, humor, writing style (make no mistake, working 140 characters well is an art form all its own), etc. However, don’t be closed off to those who aren’t in your wheelhouse either. I teach 8th ELA, Cori is an ELA TOSA (K-12, but Elementary is my thang), and Christine Pinto is a 1st year kindergarten teacher (formally TK). Had I closed my mind to them since they weren’t my specific grade level, I would have missed out on all the wonderful learning, encouragement, ideas, and friendships they have gifted me, not to mention the stickers and t-shirts too :) That’s right...the SWAG!
Here is where I find the power...it is what happens AFTER the chats. It is what happens beyond public Twitter feeds. There is only so much you can connect through typing fast and furious in 140 characters. What has happened with Kevin and I and with others; is the “what next”? Through the chats, you get a general understanding of someone. You might start tagging them with some other tweets that might be of interest to them. What happens sometimes, is you start talking outside of the twitter feed through Direct Message (DM), Voxer or other more one on one platforms. This is where the real stuff, the good stuff happens…
Is Twitter the only place this happens?? We sure hope not! Collaboration is key and very needed. Collaboration can and should happen with the teacher down the hall, across the quad, on the other side of town, in the next district...and beyond! You just have to be open and willing, it is worth it. Like we said, you're students deserve it...you deserve it!
To Be Continued...
Mother, teacher, TOSA, GCE Level 1 & 2, Encourager of others.
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