When I mentioned on Twitter and Instagram that I was starting a new position as a Reading Specialist with our Board, one question that I later received, was a variation of this one: “Will you still be sharing your practice as you have before?”
I always replied, “Yes,” and I had every intent of documenting learning and reflecting through photographs and videos just as I did before. I didn’t anticipate a small problem though.
When I was teaching with Paula, and the classroom was ours, we communicated with families about our social workflow plan. We worked out options that would work for everyone. But now, I am not one of the main sources of contact with most of the families. I am entering other people’s classrooms, and many of them have established different workflows that work for them. I want to respect this. I also know that it’s through sharing and reflecting publicly, with other educators, that I learn new ideas, hear various perspectives, and make changes to my practices. Professional development is a key component of the Reading Specialist position, and I know that Twitter and Instagram have played key roles in this PD for me in the past. So I soon realized that I could not share as I used to as a classroom educator, but I could still share socially.
My new social workflow plan looks like this.
- I often share tweets without photographs or videos where I reflect on experiences throughout the day. These tweets help me think more about my position and the choices that I make. Sometimes they generate conversation. Sometimes putting these thoughts out there are more about me finding a way to make sense of my learning.
- I take photographs of work products without the presence of students, which I then share through Twitter (and periodically) through Instagram. I still record videos of my conversations with kids, and listen back to these videos to help write the mini-learning stories and/or reflections of the experiences. Depending on classroom teacher comfort, sometimes I share these videos, but frequently, I stick with just the picture and the reflection. This way, I can still gain insights from other educators, but appreciate the privacy that families and colleagues might want.
- I stick predominantly with sharing on Twitter, but usually add a few picture or screenshot posts (and reflections) on Instagram. I find that Twitter is where I dialogue the most with other educators, and a lot of what I’m sharing now, invites this dialogue. I also know though that Twitter might be coming to an end, so maybe a move to Instagram, is what I will be doing next.
- Since I no longer cross-post onto a class blog, I look back at my sharing throughout the week and decide on a professional blog post to write each weekend. This is a way for me to dig deeper into some of my smaller reflections throughout the week. It also forces me to re-look at my tweets and Instagram posts and start thinking ahead. Pedagogical documentation is such a key component of assessment in Kindergarten. I’m trying to figure out, along with my colleagues, what this might look like in my new role. I often look to my social sharing for these more detailed reflections.
Has your social workflow changed this year? What role does your position play in your workflow? I would love to hear from both classroom educators, as well as those in system roles, as I’m curious to find out where the similarities and differences lie.
These days, I am in neither of those positions but I was once.
I know that you used to use your social media flow to help document student work and I always was impressed with that. As you correctly note, things are different now and the students are no longer yours. It’s probably not right to claim any successes as they’re often the cumulative results of someone else’s work.
You might want to consider a different tact and focus on your own growth and learning. You’re in a position now to accelerate your own personal growth. A social flow could allow you to celebrate and document it. There will come a time when you want to reflect and you’ll have it all there.
Hmmm Doug. I really like your thinking here. I think that there’s a part of me that likes to share some of my experiences throughout the day, as a way of also being accountable for my time and my experiences with my colleagues and students in the school. My day is not designed by administrators, but organized in conjunction with the K and 1 educators at the school. The Board has a large number of Reading Specialists, and I think that there’s something to be said for highlighting the value of our position and the learning for colleagues, students, and ourselves that can come from this role. It’s definitely a position that is changing me: through professional reading and practices, but also through experiences that can be challenging, but also wonderful (e.g., navigating so many social and team dynamics). Maybe I need to highlight these more as part of this social workflow.