Saturday, January 31, 2015

Positivity and #GreatTeachers

I joined in on a great Twtitterchat this morning: #Nt2t ("new teachers to Twitter.") I like to get in there when I can; while I'm certainly not "new to Twitter," this chat is all about helping folks who are new to Twitter get acclimated and learn how they can use Twitter for their own personal professional development. The chat is moderated by Julie Szaj and Traci Logue, who are two of the most encouraging educators I have had the privilege to meet on Twitter. (If you are an educator on Twitter, you should be following them!)

One great thing about #Nt2t is that, while the questions are often similar from week to week ("How do you find people to follow?" or "How do you manage participating in a chat without getting overwhelmed?") the moderators do a great job of connecting to a theme, or a current issue in education. Today, for example...

So we were thinking about Twitter in terms of inspiration. One of the questions in today's chat was, "Which chats and educators on Twitter would you recommend for inspiration?" I was honored by my friend from #iaedchat, Deb Day (who is an amazing, inspiring educator) who tweeted:

I am grateful, Deb, that you see it that way.

"Positivity" is in my top five strengths. (See the Clifton StrengthsFinder for more info.) It is beyond me how some people can be so negative all the time. I'm not saying I never have down days, or that I am always effervescent and smiling. But I do tend to look on the bright side, and I do try to look for good in people and situations whenever possible.

And, I've been told, that my positivity can be infectious.

But, to be fair, I've also been told that my positivity is obnoxious.

So I try to keep myself in check. (Though when I'm honest with myself, I don't try very hard, and I'm usually quick to jump to the optimistic position.)

About a year or so ago, I made a deliberate decision to try and use Twitter to spread some positivity and joy and encouragement among my fellow educators. I think a lot of teachers today are feeling beaten down by the challenge of our profession. Teaching--when done well--is hard, hard work. Often soul-wrenching, bone-wearying, all-too-often-thankless, hard work. It's easy to see why teachers might delve into negativity.

Teaching is not for the faint of heart.

But there are tremendous blessings that come from being part of this profession. We teachers are privileged to have a direct hand in shaping the next generation. We have tremendous influence in our students' lives. We have the power to hurt or to heal. We make a difference.

So I've been tweeting with the hashtag #GreatTeachers to share some encouragement with my fellow educators. This isn't an edchat, and it's not exclusive to me--lots of people use the #GreatTeachers hashtag for other things as well.

It's not that I think I'm so great, that I have all the wisdom of what makes someone a "great teacher" because of the position I hold, or that I have it all figured out, or that I am the gatekeeper to greatness. (I know I'm good...and I'm striving towards great...but I know that I am a work in progress...)

But I hope that this is what Deb was referring to. I hope that when people see my #GreatTeachers tweets, it brightens them up, helps them feel encouraged, challenges them to keep growing and getting better, and in general allows them a positive moment in the day.

Keep up the good work, #GreatTeachers. We're all getting better at this.

I wish I had a source for this image. For all my searching online, I haven't
found the original creator. If you can help me find it, I would be grateful!


  1. I echo your sentiments. Like you, I have made some eyes roll when I combat the negativity, but I can't stay in this profession and be negative. Not good for any job, but certainly no place for it in teaching where we have the awesome privilege of shaping young lives and impacting our future. Thanks for your posts.

  2. This is exactly what I meant, Dave. Sharing the good things, sharing positive messages, sharing yourself. This is what makes you one of my favorite people to follow on Twitter. One day, we have to meet in person!

    1. Awww...Deb, you are the coolest! Thanks for your words of affirmation, friend. We definitely have to meet up in person!