An Open Letter to My Wonderful Teaching Friends Who Are Not On Twitter...Yet (And Anyone Else Wondering About Twitter for Educators)

Dear Anne, Shelly, Miriam, and Sherry,
I have finally found a way for us to connect over our shared profession and passion - teaching. It is a great little app called Twitter. If you are on Twitter already, read no further, just message me @mhebern and we can start sharing.

But if you are not on Twitter, then let me convince you that Twitter is a great place to hang out.

I miss you guys, and I think about you often. All of you!

You share on fb all the time! You share...
inspirational quotes, funny stories, tips, and kid pictures. You share everything about your lives and you connect with family and friends from afar....including me.

And over the years I have enjoyed following your growing families and adventures. (Miriam- your summer trip Europe looks amazing, Shelly- your little girls have grown, Anne- I love your trips to Tennessee, and Sherry- you and your students inspire me with every fb post )


Twitter is THE platform to do the same....
                ....but with teaching stuff!

We share inspirational teaching quotes, stories about our successes and frustrations, tips on teaching better, conference resources, we ask questions, and then we reply to questions, and most importantly, we support each other.
Through thick and thin.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter is only educators and the conversations are around education, and unlike Pinterest, there is a conversation with the sharing of resources.

I have built my network of support and collaboration with people that I have never met.

                That is...until we meet!

Now, I am a pretty outgoing person, but I have to make myself be that way sometimes. I felt this little ping of 'what the heck am I doing here and where is the exit' panic whenever I am in a room of strangers and I don't have the security of someone that I know. We all do.  Inside, I feel like I should have just stayed home with a good book! So once I have talked with someone on Twitter...and then I meet them in person at a conference or at a meeting....it is if we have known each other for a very long time already. And the following conversation is really easy!
 
The Twitter support I have received this year has been tremendous. It wasn't an easy year for me personally. And I appreciated being able to go to my network on Twitter 24/7 for a boost of energy and inspiration.

But I missed connecting with you there. I looked, and I could not find you.

I'll admit, when I last taught 5th grade, it was not my favorite grade. So as I return to the classroom this year, moving from primary to 6th grade, I get a little nervous. But two HUGE factors have changed this time and that is 1:1 and unlimited 24/7 access to resources, peers, ideas, support, collaboration, answers, and other educators who care about kids the same way that I do!

I know that my Personal Learning Network
                                            on Twitter

                           will be there for me anytime I need it.

And what a relief that is, to say the least.

I am a little selfish....I know that it would be even better if I could meet up with you there!


But let me warn you about Twitter...it took me a little while to really begin to feel connected on Twitter. I had to join in some Twitter chats and follow a wide variety of people. I had to be persistent. I had to be open to new ideas. I had to contribute. It took a little time for me to figure it out and to move from lurker to participant. My advice, just jump into any conversation- Twitter people welcome it! (see the links below to help you get started.) Some of my best ideas have come from other conversations I have joined.

I had to foster that relationship just like I would foster a relationship with anyone who is relationship worthy. And yes, that takes a little bit of a commitment....but just a little bit! (And honestly....when it comes to keeping up on relationships, I'm terrible at it.)

The payoff, the return value....I'll just say that I couldn't teach without it.

                    If Twitter ever retires, so will I!

And in return, I found that people on Twitter do not complain, they seek ideas, they share freely and openly, and do not judge. They are quick to lend a hand. They are fun.

I think you would fit right in!

You can find me on Twitter @mhebern.

Hope to see you soon and looking forward to sharing teaching stuff,
Marlena

P.S. Twitter tips below. :)


Note:
Sherry was a high school friend that is now teaching English at our former high school. Go Vikings!
Miriam was my college roommate in Sierra College and Chico and we worked together in Tahoe one summer. What great memories!
Anne and Shelley were my teaching buddies in an all kindergarten school. I'd have never survived those early years without you guys. Everything I know about teaching math, I learned from Anne! And Shelley helped me with the ELs. We
had some great adventures at those kindergarten conferences!

Twitter Resources to Get You Started:


Post Note:
The early response to this post was surprising to me. I didn't realize that so many of my Twitter friends felt the same way that I did about our Twitterless friends. I have posted a few of their replies here.
 


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