It has been 8 months since I started on twitter after attending a session on Twitter for Teachers at Learning 2.011 in Shanghai, China. I think the honeymoon is over. In the last month I have been feeling this meh feeling about being on twitter. But I am persevering and have not given up yet. Lots of times when I attend a conference there are tons of success stories, which are great, but the speakers forget to tell us that this does not happen overnight. Or sometimes they do but that might be a 30 second snip-it but look at all the success of this method, strategy, technology, etc. I fell head over heels in awe over twitter and I couldn’t wait for the rewards of joining, getting PD, expanding my PLN and having it change my life and the way I teach for the better.
I am not saying twitter is bad. I am saying that I am growing and wanting it to do more like what I imagined. There was a huge discussion over the last week or so on #beyondlaptops which I read as I follow several of those people. I made a comment on twitter and a blog comment that I feel like an outsider. @Intrepidteacher told me that I am invited to come in and I just have to do it when I am ready. I do appreciate that. I take some of the blame for feeling like an outsider. Yes, I was very shy growing up and bullied for many years, and still have confidence issues thinking that I am important and have something to contribute. Some of the feeling though also stems from feedback or lack of feedback from others. Right now I follow lots of people who I consider to be my mentors. People who have been on twitter longer than me and teaching in International Schools longer than me and living overseas longer than me. Many times I reply to a tweet making a comment or asking a question and I get no answer. I don’t know if people are super busy and don’t have time to respond or don’t want to respond. It is not with everyone and it is only on certain subjects that I really lack knowledge and am thirsting for more. I also quit for the most part leaving comments on blogs because I would get no response back to questions or observations.
I am feeling that I need to find people who are maybe more on my level, but maybe those are the people not on twitter like my co-workers. I don’t know where one finds people that are newer like me. I don’t even know how many trillions of people are on twitter and how one even goes about finding those people. It is easy to find people who have been on twitter for a few years and are really reaping the benefits and those are good people to follow, but what about those like me who make mistakes, asking questions that we need an answer to, but others may see as ‘I have known that for years’.
I don’t know if some of those people who I consider my mentors don’t want that role because they don’t really want me to follow them because A. They have way more experience working in schools that are 1:1 laptops or use technology all the time. (Where my school is not 1:1 and using the computers is limited. I don’t have lots that I contribute right now to this area and I have lots of, maybe to them, simple questions. ) B. My current school is not IB and I have not been contributing anything to those conversations since I don’t know much. (I am trying to learn for when I move onto my next school in July). C. They have been living overseas for many years now where my being a newbie of only living overseas for not quite two years is annoying to them as I complain when I find things hard, and probably make make not smart decisions in my limited knowledge base (even though I am working at expanding it). I am sure I am still naive about many things and maybe have to them dumb comments and world views. ( I can’t ask people on Facebook as except for two people from twitter, I have added, also new to living overseas and 1 wealthy cousin who as lived all over the world everyone else has stayed in their hometowns their whole lives and have no idea about living overseas or dealing with people of a different culture. Out of my co-workers one is from the US and has been living in Malaysia for 20 years after marrying a local lady. The rest are all from Malaysia, and none of them have every lived anywhere else.) D. I haven’t been teaching long enough in the US or Internationally to know how things work or don’t work and instead of wanting to help me out they are tired of my stupid, naive questions and views on education. E. They may have followed me just to be polite when I started following them in order to see what I had to say and to encourage me in the beginning but find that I have nothing really I have been sharing and would now like to not follow me or me, them. I don’t plan to weed them out as even if they don’t respond to me I still learn many new things from them regarding a variety of topics.
It is something I struggle with here as this is a culture of non-confrontations, but I also like it when people are direct. I may post a reply or ask a question and then someone I am following or following me tweets a comment like how naive are some people or why do some people still think that or whatever. Maybe they are talking to someone else, but it would be nice if they were talking about me to say @MelShurtz you are so naive and you just don’t get it. Or whatever. If people are afraid of hurting my feelings by tweeting something like that send me a DM instead of the general tweet about “some people”.
( I know I should be direct in telling each individual person Hey, why don’t you reply to me or answer my questions. I am hoping though that someone will explain to me what I am doing wrong with twitter and my expectations before I start saying that to people. Or maybe someone will explain that to do a direct tweet like that is a faux pas and the general tweet about “some people” is the accepted way to tell people what they really think.)
That being said. Twitter has done great things. It has opened up my world. I am getting more PD since that is limited for me going to conferences. I am able to follow discussion and read blogs about different, awesome things happening. I am expanding my PLN and not all my learning is school related. Some is learning about: what it is like living overseas for many years, raising children overseas, traveling, vegetarians, vegans, atheists, Buddhist, Agnostics, living in different countries, interacting with other cultures, etc. I enjoy learning about many things I would not have had I stayed in Wyoming. It also was a great help in my deciding the next job that I chose and am starting in July.
I am not saying I am giving up on twitter. I am a person who perseveres. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was 5 years old and the path to that was easy until I graduated from high school. I have stuck with it though and I am a teacher. People say that you can’t take the teacher out of me. It is just part of me all the time. Something as natural as breathing. Life hasn’t always been easy but I have persevered through tough times of that too and am still going. I am a person who loves to learn. I am constantly wanting to expand my knowledge and become a better person. I think twitter still has the possibility of helping me do that I just need to find a way to alter how I connect so that it helping me more.
So, if anyone reads this post and knows of people newer to twitter, living overseas, and teaching overseas and you want to point them in my direction I would appreciate it.