On Education and Social Media

The meeting of education and social media has an immense value for teachers, especially as a resource for lesson ideas and connecting with like minds to share experiences. This has been especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, as teachers have been able to share best practices about remote learning. However, like every part of the internet, it has its unproductive side.

When I dig too deep into Education Twitter, I mostly experience it the way I experience looking at a feed of people's perfect lives, children, pets, homes, and vacations. I'm left with the feeling there's no way I'd be able to live up to the standard I'm seeing. Or I just know in my gut there's more than meets the eye to what's being peddled in 140 characters or a carefully crafted image. These posts on teaching can also feel disorienting when I'm not clear if the motivation is to help teachers and students or to cultivate one's personal brand.

The emergence of "Edu-Twitter' can be as agitating as any other part of social media, and it never hurts to look from a distance or find balance in the way I am using it.

It is important for me to be clear-headed and constructive in my engagement with what's shared about teaching online. If I engage during times of stress, I am likely to see other teachers' posts through the lens of unhealthy comparison, envy, or criticism - three very unproductive emotions to carry back to my students.

Reflection: It's no secret that social media can be toxic, but its best attributes can be life- and world-changing in their ability to inspire the greater good. Today I will look for ways to participate in and draw from ongoing conversations about teaching in a way that I believe will benefit my students and me most.

For All You Do
Self-Care and Encouragement for Teachers
Peter Mishler

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