What are you sharing? I heard someone tweet recently during an edchat, what educators say online is just a mirror of their heart. I thought that was a great metaphor that connects well with educators. Those who share uplifting, positive content generally have an uplifting and positive attitude. I imagine the opposite is also true. I’ve never been immune to professional struggle and frustrations. During those times I have to intentionally reflect on every tweet, Facebook post, etc. to ensure my internal frustrations don’t come through my social media activity.
No educator would question that we are under attack! In fact, public education has been under attack for some time. With the prevalence of social media use, I feel it a tremendous responsibility to fight back. As Jennifer Hogan put it in her recent blog post, we must be active in diluting the negative stories flooding the media about public education. I challenge educators to inspect their social media activity and analyze which side of the fight they support. Educators that use their Facebook account to share the latest Why I Quit Teaching… story or to vent their frustrations about their students, parents, or school, do nothing but add to the concentrated amount of negativity surrounding public education. Frustrated about certain issues that exist in public education? So am I. But instead of contributing to the negativity, let’s fight back by flooding our digital footprint with positive news occurring in education. Doing anything extraordinary in your classroom? Please share it! Active in your teacher union? Great! Just 15 years ago, this conversation didn’t occur. I know educators already have enough responsibilities that even the greatest educators can’t fulfill them all adequately. However, we can no longer afford to work in isolation, doing great things, without publishing those accomplishments to the rest of the world. Maybe public opinion could begin to swing in our favor if more educators took responsibility for shifting that story. Maybe state legislators would take notice if educators flooded their world with evidence of the hard work poured into the hearts of our students every day.
Like I said, I don’t write to you as an educator that’s never had a bad day. I’m not immune to failure, frustration, unfairness, etc. I’ve questioned my commitment to this profession as I’m sure you have. If I can provide any advice, though, it is this:
- Connect immediately with other likeminded educators. They can provide you support, encouragement, relief or just a welcome set of ears to absorb those moments when we all need to vent. Will it require some of your time? Yes. Can you afford to continue working in isolation while others benefit from the support of their tribe? No.
Here are some great resources to support you in growing your own personal learning network.