*This is basically a glorified footnote of my post earlier today — On Being Wrong…you may want to read it first…or maybe not. Whatever.
Setting the scene:
You’ve worked hard at university for four, five, or maybe six years to earn your teaching degree. There was a semester of student teaching, where you were essentially teaching with training wheels on. You understand how to write a lesson plan and the importance of teaching bell to bell. You’re all set. All you need is your very own classroom.
Then you find twitter…edutwitter to be exact, and you begin following other educators who are mentioning people and theories that you’ve never heard of before. People are questioning everything you know to be true about how to educate. Where you were once this confident professional, you are now thrown into a philosophical crisis. How could my professors let me down like this? Why hasn’t my school-mandated professional development covered any of this?
As a result, you are quite nervous about interacting on twitter for fear of showing your ignorance (this is where reading the post from earlier today would be helpful). “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”*
Does this all sound familiar? No? Just me?
As I’ve written before, especially in the US, there is an astoundingly small amount of real conversation about teaching, pedagogy, philosophy, et cetera…real discussion/debate about our profession. I believe one of the main reasons for this void is that many relate to the scenario above to some degree. There is a real lack of understanding why we do (or don’t do) the things we do in the classroom. We just know that either our university professors told us what to do or we’ve seen more senior teachers do these things.
In my opinion, this is a real shame. So, I’ve started trying to do something about it, even if it’s just in a small way. In the past few weeks, I’ve thrown out some pretty vague questions on twitter. Here are two below…check out the links and feel free to add to them. If you read the comments, you’ll see quite an array of answers and, for the most part, very few disrespectful comments.
Why did I do this? To try and create a safe space (*I realize there is no real safe space on twitter) for people to either tweet a response or perhaps comment on someone else’s answer…to start a conversation. I just want to have a conversation. Something that might be tangible and real, and not just some catchy quote. Do I agree with every comment? Of course not. Do I comment with my disagreement? Usually, the answer is no. Again, I just want to have a conversation. Hopefully, someone will feel brave enough to type their beliefs and hit ‘tweet’, and maybe that will either start them down the path of discovering something new about education/teaching or, at least, provide the opportunity for them to consider someone else’s beliefs.
I just want to have a conversation.
What do you want to talk about?
*This is a quote that is attributed to both Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln…so, more than likely, neither actually said it.