So I love to teach… I don’t mean like “love” to teach, I mean I passionately LOVE to teach to the point where I’m annoying to others that aren’t maybe as crazy about it as I am. Folks wonder about me. “How could she really love to work with those obnoxious teenagers everyday?” “Why would she work for a week or more on a lesson when she could just use what she did last year?” I don’t hear people actually say it out loud everyday but I know that many folks are thinking it. I can see where they are coming from. When I’m overwhelmed (which is often – I’m not good at saying no) I wonder myself. What was I thinking redoing that lesson that was perfectly fine and successful before? Here’s the bottom line – I love to teach because I love my kids, want them to learn and I love to learn myself.
Redoing a lesson or working with “those” teenagers requires that I look at something in a new way, learn new things. No year is the same as any other, no day like the one before and, in order to not completely stink (I don’t pretend to be awesome), I have to keep learning. As Max (@maxatmathforum) just reminded us, Teaching is hard. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t learn something – even if its just that that kid can’t sit next to this one. I love the feeling when a lesson works out and my kids “get” it. When the kids have that ‘ah-ha’ moment. I love those moments because I love it when I have those moments.
So where does Twitter play into this – after all the post is “Why I Tweet…”? I was reminded of why I tweet today. I traveled to Richmond (about an hour from me) to have lunch with two of the best tweeps ever. Mary Williams (@merryfwilliams) and Mark Sanford (@hfxmark.) We had lunch at 1 and didn’t leave until 4! It was AWESOME! We had never met “in real life” but immediately gave each other hugs and felt right at home sitting and chatting. (The waitress wasn’t too sure what to make of us.) How could that be? Because we’ve been collaborating for well over a year – via Twitter. Whenever I need to find a new idea, reflect on a lesson or just chat – they are there.
As teachers we are often so busy during the school day that we don’t have time to collaborate with our own teammates. At the end of the day we pack up and run home for some peace and quiet. I wish, as do many others, that we could give teachers more time in the day to truly collaborate with each other. But since very few seem to be clamoring to do that – I turned to Twitter. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing at first. Someone suggested a Twitter account, I jumped on (I like to learn) and thought – no way is this helpful. But I stuck around and now I have a whole world of colleagues that I can turn to for advice, ideas and reflection. I have my “tribe” – the folks that feel the same way I do about teaching. We are the teachers but we are also the learners.
There has been some talk on Twitter recently about whether or not teachers are actually making changes in their classroom based on their twitter conversations. I wonder if maybe we’re thinking of “changes” in such a big way that it will never seem like enough – and is that a bad thing? I know I haven’t changed everything I’d like to about my teaching.. But I also know though, that I have changed small things (and a few bigger ones) that have made me better today than I was yesterday thanks to all those fellow “department” members on Twitter. And I am grateful for that. Grateful to my collaborative department of 300+ Grateful to have the ability to collaborate at all hours of the day (not blocked at my school) and night (Fawn @fawnpnguyen and Shelli @druinok will answer me!)
Teaching is hard and sometimes we’re even harder on ourselves. As I mentioned to Lisa (@lmhenry9), I think she’s awesome because she’s worried about how totally un-awesome she thinks she is. We’re learning and whatever we learn via twitter, or blogs, or our colleagues at school, or our students, impacts our teaching whether its in a big way or a small one. Every little bit matters even if its only 140 characters long.
I’m ready for the next “Tweet-Up” …see you online later tonight!