Why Teachers Should Use Twitter, by Heather Preston

Why Teachers Should Use Twitter, by Heather Preston

WFISD’s 2018 Secondary Teacher of the Year Heather Preston explains why she’s passionate about Twitter – and why you should be, too

 

Heather Preston

Heather Preston as seen on her Twitter page @HPrestonEdu

 

Teachers’ lives are busy. I don’t think anyone who knows anything about education will ever argue against this fact. Then why, with all of the demands a teacher has on his or her time, would I suggest adding one more thing? Simply put, Twitter is a career changer.

 

  1. Twitter is a great place to find new ideas and resources.

One of my favorite sayings is by Steven W. Anderson. He says, “Alone we are smart. Together we are brilliant.” This quote by the former educator sums up why Twitter is so important. Thousands upon thousands of educators are putting forward their best ideas on Twitter daily. Because of this, Twitter is the best professional development available. Best of all, Twitter is free and available at any time, so it is easy to fit into your personal schedule. Where else can you get a great idea you can implement on Monday while still in your pjs on Saturday?

  1. Twitter offers others a window into your classroom.

This is one of those “If a tree falls…”  scenarios. Yes, of course, your students benefit from your great lessons even if no one else knows it happens. However, if you are staying within the four walls of your classroom, your influence stops there.

Twitter is the perfect place to share lessons and ideas. If we limit our ideas to our classrooms, then we are limiting our impact. Sharing an idea on Twitter is similar to throwing a pebble into a lake and watching the ripples form. Furthermore, tweeting out what is happening in our schools is a great way to promote the district brand, and we cannot exist separate of the communities we serve.

  1. Twitter allows you to connect with other teachers across the globe.

Teacher Myth author Aaron Hogan said, “Twitter is not going to change your life, but the educators you meet there will.” Building a professional learning network (PLN) opens so many doors. For example, universities never want to hire their own products when a professor position opens. They don’t want to recycle the same ideas. Seeing new ideas from across the globe daily helps you to continue to grow as an educator.

This connection to other educators also helps to combat the isolation that is sometimes prevalent in our field. Educator and author Todd Whitaker said, “The best thing about being a teacher is that it matters. The hardest thing about being a teacher is that it matters every day.” Twitter provides a community of people who want what is best for students.

  1. Twitter allows you to see only what you want to see.

Twitter is not what many people fear it will be. Many are concerned that they will be inundated with the same trivial matters that are often at the forefront of other social media platforms. However, with Twitter, you choose who to follow. This is less about following everyone you know and more about following the people who will contribute to a fruitful discussion. When you follow educators, you don’t see posts about what someone ate or general grumblings about life. You also do not see the clickbait articles or overtly political posts. Twitter has a different, more productive feel to it.

  1. Twitter does not take as much time as you would think.

It is easy to get started using Twitter. Creating an account takes just a couple of minutes to download the free Twitter app and sign up. The next step is following some of the educators you know by typing in their names and hitting “Follow.”

To start, most people just scroll through their feed to see what others are posting. This is a good time to start following others as you see content you like pop up in your feed. To get you started, here are my five top favorite follows:

  • Jennifer Gonzalez @cultofpedagogy
  • Catlin Tucker @Catlin_Tucker
  • Matt Miller @jmattmiller
  • Sean Fahey @SEANJFAHEY
  • George Couros @gcouros

 

Once you feel ready, you can start making your own posts. Finally, you can start watching and then joining in on ed chats like WFISDchat that takes place every Monday at 8 pm.

All teachers should be on Twitter. Teachers’ lives are busy, but just 10 minutes a day on Twitter can make our busy lives better.

Do you have an opinion you’d like to share with WFISD educators in Community Insider? Contact Ann Work Goodrich at awork@wfisd.net to put your opinion out there.