Are people on Twitter Real or Fictitious versions of reality?
Are people on you see sharing great lessons, amazing pedagogy, and endless amounts of practical and relevant information on Twitter real, or a contrived version of reality?
People on Twitter are 90% real- well I have no real basis for that number, but I think about the idea of perception. The most positive person on Twitter, the person who always seems so happy that you think they are most likely singing along with each and every tweet they post. Those people that sometimes get under our skin because they never seem to have a bad day, you know who I am talking about. They can't be like that all the time can they? Maybe some of them can, but my bet is that there are times when they too get frustrated, annoyed, maybe at the negative people around them, but yes they get annoyed too. So what is the real personality of these people? They are human just like the rest of us, they are imperfect, they make mistakes, and they work to grow and learn each day like the rest of us.
We are all human!
The best example of this was a priest who swore in church during our confirmation class when I was a teenager. I was shocked, I thought OMG (yes I like to think I was so cool I created OMG decades before it caught on) he just swore, priests aren't supposed to do that. He went on to teach us that he too is human, he too makes mistakes and yes when he smacks his finger with a hammer he has not chosen his words as carefully as he would like. My point is I learned that although he dressed up in the pristine white robes each Sunday, he too was human and couldn't maintain the appearance of perfection in all facets of life all the time.
Perception versus Reality
Do I think there are people who pretend to be more infallible than they really are more often than not? Sure. There are those who want us to believe they are better educators than they are able to be at this time. I think most of us share the best of our selves publicly. I also know many of the educators that I have connected with via Twitter, when meeting Face to Face are as passionate, if not more so than what comes across on Twitter. I think people who showcase their best work aren't intending to seem perfect, but rather see the value in the good things they have created and would rather discuss those aspects of their professional body of work than their failings.
I do however think that as educators we need to share our failings too. We want to show students that it is okay to fail. It is how you respond to that failure that matters. In that vain, I hope that we learn from good practices in our classroom to model the realities of learning by sharing the whole learning process, both the success and the struggles to achieve that success. None of us are perfect, we are just people. That should inspire all of us to realize that the great things we are seeing from others is achievable in all of us.
The challenge is to Leave mediocrity behind and strive for greatness!
Education is becoming more complex in terms of the demands and constraints placed upon us as educators. There are more challenges to overcome and more demands on our time than ever. Last year I went through educator effectiveness for the first time, and I think I had the best year of teaching in my career. I am not crediting educator effectiveness with this success, although I do think the push to be reflective on our teaching practices was a positive. What really allowed me to overcome the obstacles of mediocrity was the development of my PLN. I was pushed to check out Twitter by an amazing educator and this led to the connections with other passionate educators that have forever changed my teaching experience. I have made friendships, have collaborated on lesson plans and have learned to fail with these people. I have opened myself up to trying new things, reflecting on my shortcomings and working to improve my own practice. I am better off as an educator and human being because of the amazing people in my PLN. So I thank each and everyone of them for connecting with me and assisting me in my journey!