How Social Media Became My Professional Development
Social media has its problems. There is FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). There is the time-suck when a quick “check” turns into a 30 minute-long browse. There is the envy of seeing beautiful vacation pictures while you are buried in 5 feet of snow.
I’ve often thought about deleting my social media accounts, if only to keep me away from those toxins. But I can’t bring myself to in large part because of all the benefits of social media. Unlike what John Kasich would have you believe teachers don’t have a lot of time to sit around and chat in a teacher’s lounge. We teach full loads, grade papers, run in and out of meetings, and grab a bite to eat or get a chance to pee when we are lucky. Time for collaboration or collegial relationships are slim, especially when you have children of your own to get home to at the end of the day.
So I’m grateful to live in a time of social media when I can still get the benefits of working with other teachers, but virtually, and often my kids go to bed. I get to read blogs by fantastic teachers like Dave Stuart Jr., and Dr. Kim Parker. I learn from experts like Timothy Shanahan and Anthony Cody. I also get to connect with the amazing colleagues I’ve gathered as “friends” over the years on Facebook and Twitter. Through teachers sharing on social media I’ve gotten great suggestions for Young Adult books to add to my classroom library . On Twitter I’ve gotten advice from Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher. I’ve gotten access to a gold mine of mentor texts. I’ve found resources like Story Core App. And best of all I’ve got access to a treasure trove of teachers who can help me future out how to use these resources. I can share an idea on Facebook and get some great responses. I can post questions about Google Classroom on Twitter and save myself a ton of time.
When I first started teaching the internet was simply a library of resources I could use in my classroom. Now social media gives me access to even more of those resources, but more importantly, it gives me access to the people who can help me use those resources well. Whether you call it your PLC or just your Twitter feed, social media has benefited me as a teacher much more than it has weighed me down.
Now if only I could stop watching videos of silly cats. 🙂
Interested in finding out more about which blogs I love? Check out my article in an upcoming winter issue of the New England Association of Teachers of English (NEATE) newsletter! Better yet, if you are a New England teacher, become a NEATE member today!