Following yet another incident where a teacher’s online behavior has been highlighted in the national press it seems appropriate to return to one the key themes of my work with schools, and adults who work with young people.
I follow and engage with hundreds of teachers on Twitter and I think I’ve identified 3 key types of tweeter;
The Earnest One
The Enthusiastic One
The One With the Opinions
Ofourse there are many others, sub sets, splinter groups etc. but for the benefit of this piece, these three types will suffice.
I don’t think these are mutually exclusive and many of us will probably feel we have the freedom to adopt whichever appropriate at the time.
The Earnest Tweeter is the person who tweets stark messages about news, research, learning tools etc. ‘New study shows boys’ literacy levels.. http://www.shorturl’ . We gain little insight into the person’s character or personal life although we will assume that they care about and are interested in teaching and learning.
The Enthusiastic Tweeter has a contagious Joie de Vivre and posts tweets about their learners. their school, edtech tools etc. and usually include passionate language including; ‘Awesome’, ‘Proud’, ‘Fantastic’ etc.
Both these types are what makes Twitter such a rewarding and engaging teaching and learning resource for educators. My time line is always full of enthusiasm, news and resources relating to our area of work. It is The One with the Opinions that continues to cause concern.
There are many teachers in my timeline who post strong, emotive and sometimes personal comments about F1 drivers, footballers, TV celebrities and politicians, and this is ofcourse their prerogative. I don’t see myself as the Mary Whitehouse of social media, here to chastise and take a moral high ground. It is important to note that whilst as an individual we may feel our posts, tweets and blogs are our own, our actions will have ramifications for our colleagues, our school and the wider teacher profession. Each time there is a negative story about a teacher in the press it diminishes our moral standing in our community.
We need to help wider society develop a greater reasoned tolerance of our right to be ‘normal’ but until that happens let’s be careful out there. It’s a jungle.
I made a video on this subject so if you have around 9 minutes to spare you may like to watch and then leave an earnest, enthusiastic and heartfelt comment below.