I wake up every morning so grateful for my PLN. When I envisioned becoming a teacher, I never thought it would mean I would be connected with teachers from all over the country and world. In fact, I didn’t think teaching would cross paths with social media, especially Twitter. I created my personal Twitter account back in summer 2008 (No, I’m not sharing my handle...it’s private anyway!) and used it strictly for my random thoughts, what I was currently doing, and to briefly talk to my friends. After a few years, it wasn’t as versatile for social use, and I dwindled my use.
And, don’t get me started on my rant on hashtags. #hashtagsarenotparentheticalremarks. The end. Game over.
But really, from the beginning of my Twitter use, I saw the purpose of hashtags to aggregate data and Tweets. I rarely used them, but was conscious of their purpose. During my break from the Twitter world, I was vehemently against using hashtags, except for their intended purpose. I still cringe when people write things on Facebook and use hashtags for parenthetical remarks. Come on people, just say what you want to say.
When I started attending education conferences, my eyes were opened to the wider world beyond my classroom. So many teachers were on Twitter and connecting, I realized I needed to be a part of this. And, finally, hashtags were being used in a useful way! I jumped right in and started networking. As with any new technology (or language for that matter), I went through the silent phase. I watched other people tweet, and was too scared to say much of anything in reply. I got jittery posting a tweet, since it’s really not like me to put myself and my thoughts out in the open. Then, I started interjecting a few ideas here and there, adding to conversations, asking questions, and sharing my own experiences. From there, it all became an exciting and non-stop adventure!
Over the past year and a half, I have become a highly connected educator. There are members of my PLN (Justin Birckbichler and Rosy Burke!) that have become some of my closest friends, even though we haven’t met face to face. It is amazing to wake up each day and have meaningful conversations with teachers who enjoy teaching, and want to push me to be a better teacher.
If I weren’t a connected educator, I wonder how long it would take me to burn out and become one of those negative and boring teachers?