share your story

#IMMOOC: Open Sharing

Chapter 11 happened to focus on one of my favorite topics: sharing as an educator. I am always trying to get educators to see the power of online sharing and finding new ideas. I’ve already had the idea to try and get more educators using Twitter to seek ideas, even if they aren’t comfortable sharing their own work yet. I want them to see that the possibility of find new ideas is out there, and easily accessible.

When I first began teaching in 2009, I had no idea of the world out there that awaited me as an educator in terms of connections online. I was tech-savvy, but I didn’t know about the way that connections could have helped me as a first year teacher. It wasn’t something that was prominent back then, and it certainly wasn’t part of my course of study as an undergrad.

I joined Twitter in 2012. I can’t remember exactly why I did. I knew that I used that year to share my class’s stories on Twitter. I didn’t really interact with anyone else. It was a place where I could showcase student learning to parents. It’s been nearly 5 years since that time…and I didn’t start really using Twitter until after I became part of the TIS program. Now I couldn’t see myself doing without it.

Twitter only got better with Tweetdeck. My lists were so easy to read! What was this? I could follow hashtags and have lists of those! I made new connections and met those people at conferences and trainings. I found ideas and articles that changed my way of thinking and gave me new ideas.

If I had had all of this back when I first started teaching, I am sure I would have been an even better teacher. I wouldn’t have felt so isolated in my district. I would have been able to see out others to collaborate and connect with much earlier to reach beyond the sphere of influence in my small town world.

Today’s educators have access to all of this from the start, and yet they choose to ignore the benefits that they could find by connecting in the online world. It is a choice today to choose to stay disconnected. While that is up to each educator, they are making a clear choice to stay in a bubbled world. They are depriving themselves and their students of the ideas, connections, and collaboration that could be found online, if not through Twitter, then through some other means.

In the same sense, educators choose not to share their stories. They feel that they have nothing to share or contribute, or their work is not great. In this age of viral videos and news, it’s hard to feel like a simple lesson would wow the rest of the education world. And it won’t. Not everything that is shared will be the next best thing. However, each little story and idea contributes to a digital portfolio of the educator. Over time, over many years a story of growth and change emerges. We don’t have to say that we have spent time learning and trying many new ideas because our online footprint easily showcases that.

Want to show students the power of a digital portfolio? Show them yours. Model how you have created your portfolio, and let it be the springboard for theirs. Explain how it has provided you opportunities and experiences that weren’t possible before. Technically, I have two- my Twitter feed and this blog. If you go between both, you’ll get a pretty good idea of who I am as an educator, much more than if you had read only my evaluation from this year.

My growth and change is ongoing and always a progress. Yours is too. You share and I’ll share, and together, we only made the online world of educator a better place.

Dear Educator…

Dear Educator,

Today is the first day of a brand new year. As some like to say, Chapter 1 of 12, page 1 of 365. It is a day for goal setting and making changes. How will you grow and change this year? Nothing stays the same forever, and that includes you, dear educator. Education is ever growing, ever changing, ever shedding its skin. As models for the generations to come, we too must change and grow and shed our skins.

Who will tell your story this year, dear educator? Who will document your highs and lows, your reflections on lessons gone good and bad? Are you in charge of your story? Have you already set the wheels in motion in years past? Are you the captain of your own tale? Or have you ignored your own journey, content to let anyone take charge as they please? Sure, good things may be shared, but don’t forget that just might include the bad things too, the things you’d rather not show to others for they show you are weak. And while we can often admit our own weaknesses, it is hard to watch others not only display them for the world, but tear into them like a shark to prey.

It is so easy to find the negatives and write all the sordid, delicious details on an incident. Will you have documentation of your positives and good that will help to outshine that one moment of bad? Will there be moments of good to be found in your story? Or will you, the captain, sink with your forgotten tale?

We all have bad days. We have bad lessons and we have bad moments that we wish never happened. In fact, we wonder how they could have happened in the first place. An educator who has documented their story can provide many good moments to show that things aren’t all so bad. An educator who hasn’t documented their story cannot do the same.

Are you ready to be the captain of your tale? Are you ready to guide your story and share it with the world? There’s no time like today, the very beginning of a brand new year to get started. It’s a task that may seem daunting, even impossible, at first. Once you get started though, it becomes much easier, especially if you have other colleagues who are also sharing their own stories.

Need help getting started? Just ask me, and I’ll get you started on the right foot!

Sincerely,

Rachel, aka tisinaction