With over 330 milillon users, Twitter is a great platform for those in education. If you’re a teacher whether new or experienced, it’s a useful tool for sharing planning ideas, classroom resources, getting tips on behaviour management, or simply receiving words of encouragement when you’ve had ‘one of those days’. If you’re in leadership it’s a helpful platform for sharing resources such as policy documents, school development plans and, more recently, Covid-19 risk assessments. Twitter can also be a brilliant hub for locating a range of CPD resources; whether it’s curriculum courses, workshops relating to the latest educational development or documents aimed at supporting your career development, Twitter really is a one-stop shop for anyone working in a school.
With over 330 million users, Twitter is a great platform for those in education. If you’re a teacher, whether new or experienced, it’s a useful tool for sharing planning ideas, classroom resources, getting tips on behaviour management or simply receiving words of encouragement when you’ve had ‘one of those days’. If you’re in leadership it’s a helpful space for sharing resources such as policy documents, school development plans and more recently, Covid-19 risk assessments. Twitter can also be a brilliant hub for locating a range of CPD resources. Whether it’s curriculum courses, workshops, relating to the latest educational development or documents aimed at supporting your career development, Twitter really is a one-stop shop for anyone working in a school.
There are lots of well established educators on Twitter; Senior leaders, subject specialists, consultants and even – not a shameless plug, honest – coaches. They all have a lot to give and share from their many years of experiences. But sometimes, the wealth of knowledge coming from various directions can become daunting and make someone new or less experienced begin to question their abilities.
When someone posts a Tweet such as ‘My headteacher was so impressed with the English lesson she observed that she’s asked me to talk about it at a conference next month,’ it can make you question your abilities. Now let me just say, I’ve never read such a Tweet and if I had, I’d think it was great, as it means the lesson must have made a real impact on children’s learning for the Head to want to share it on a larger platform, but that’s them and not you.
When you see a Tweet like this, the first thing you might do is take look at the person’s profile to find out more about them. What role do they have in school? Is English their subject specialism? How many followers do they have? How many people have commented or liked that Tweet? This can then send your mind into overdrive as you think about your last English lesson. The one where the children kept saying they didn’t understand despite the fact that you spent at last 20 minutes explaining it to them and going through a ten page flipchart (not advised by the way!) that had things flying in from every angle. The lesson that you’re glad wasn’t observed because you almost certainly would have been asked to explain what you wanted the children to learn and whether they did actually learn anything during that lesson and your answer would have been a confident, but despondent, ‘no, they learnt nothing at all.’
But nobody’s perfect, not even those who Tweet about their successes and have thousands of followers; and to be fair, they probably aren’t trying to be perfect. They’re probably just celebrating a moment in time when everything seemed to fall into place. We can make massive assumptions about the people we see Tweet day in, day out without really knowing the real person behind the profile and when we begin to compare ourselves, we do so without the full picture.
Yes they have a lot of followers, Tweet regularly about new resources they’ve created, events they’re hosting or accolades they’ve won. But maybe it’s not because they’re any wiser than you, or a better teacher, maybe it’s because they’ve tried many different ways, seen what hasn’t worked and are now sharing what has worked.
What you see on Twitter, or any other social media platform is just a snapshot of a person’s life. People post what they want others to see, or know. There are aspects of their life that they keep private and who can blame them. Twitter in particular is a very public space and as an educator, you may not want parents or pupils knowing everything you do in the evenings and at weekends. So a snapshot is all anyone’s going to get. They share the bits that matter, the bits that will be of interest to others, the bits that will help others on their journey.
You have those bits too. There are things that you know and can speak about that no-one else is as qualified to do. So rather than think about what you’re not doing and comparing yourself to others, think about what you can do. Take time to consider what you do have to offer and how you can make a difference. Sometimes just reaching out to someone who Tweets to say they’ve had an awful day, can mean a million times more than sharing a spreadsheet to help you monitor PE kits.
Twitter is a big space and there are no rules, not event on #EduTwitter. Your job is to create a space that works for you and own it!