Saturday, February 13, 2016

Brag away Teachers Brag away- Teachers on Social Media.

Last week I read a #Rant through Ian O'Byrne's excellent feed on Google Plus. In the rant the author complained about teachers on social media and their oversharing of proud moments, highlighting their books and other common social media brags.
 The author starts with "...NI am talking about teachers on Facebook and Twitter and how much they piss me off." The author talks about negativity and frustration teachers express on social media as well as the over positive. Personally, I rarely see the negativity the author mentions, for me that means that I found my tribe, positive people who are looking to grow. The author also rejects positive hoorah moments- telling teachers to keep it to themselves.

I completely disagree.  First, participating in social media is a choice, if you don't want to, then just don't. I know plenty of teachers who do not participate. My point is always the same, try it, find your tribe, if you still do not like it stop. You do not have to read what others say- unfriend or hide on facebook or just plain ignore it on twitter.

The benefits of social media done right, outweigh the negative in my mind:

1. I believe that teachers can use social media well to get professional development or more likely the beginning of professional development. Twitter is a great place to get leads and re-orient yourself. I love twitter chats they are supportive and positive but in 140 characters you can just get a taste for ideas that you can then find more about.

2. Teachers need to connect, some have great people around them, others not. Social media creates vast teacher groups that can support teachers who are isolated because they are in a negative building or simply because they are the only German/art/take your pick teacher in the building.

3. We are often derided and attacked so sharing great student work, results or moments is a great way to make our work a bit more visible. Sharing our accomplishments is a powerful motivator. I do not read it as "look how much better than you I am" I read this as "I am teacher hear me roar..."

In short, I believe that social media can be a great tool for teachers to break isolation, keep learning, and stay motivated.

I think every teacher should try it. If it doesn't work for you, drop it. But please, do not rant, making those who do choose to engage feel small.

So brag away Teachers brag away!

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