I began frequently blogging and interacting with other educators on social media sites (mostly twitter) about 2.5 years ago. I can still remember being afraid…afraid of putting my ideas out there, afraid of disagreeing with someone else’s beliefs, and afraid that someone would disagree with what I believe or show evidence contrary to my beliefs. So, this lead to me only blogging or conversing when I ‘knew’ I was right. And if someone disagreed with me? I ignored them. Like I said earlier, I was afraid of that interaction. It was, to a small degree, debilitating. I knew how powerful a tool social media could be for introducing myself to others’ ideas and beliefs, so I wanted to be in that space, but I certainly held myself back a bit.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this boat, though. It’s somewhat scary to put yourself out there. You’ve worked hard to earn a college degree or two or three, and now you’re coming face to face with information essentially showing you what you’ve spent a lot of money on might be bogus (Could my college professors be wrong on some of this education stuff?). Perhaps it is the natural inclination to bury one’s head in the sand and just ignore the naysayers…if I don’t know I could be mistaken, I can’t be incorrect, right?
It took me a good two years to get past a lot of those feelings. I believe this was mostly due to continued writing on my blog and interactions with those who disagree…it’s funny how finding out you could be wrong over and over again somehow makes being wrong seem ok. I figured out most people would still respect my voice in the twitterverse even though I may disagree with them, and, in fact, many had a greater respect because I would interact and question.
My mindset today while interacting with other educators is this:
I’m 100% okay with being wrong. My main focus while interacting with other educators on social media is to gain knowledge I can use in my classroom to provide a better environment; where students are more likely to learn more and apply more. Because of this, I want to know whatever information is out there that will assist me in designing this classroom. It sincerely isn’t about me be right, it is totally about students learning better; more efficiently and effectively.
Like I said, it took me about two years to get to this point. Once I finally arrived, though, it was very freeing. Since it didn’t so much matter if I was right or wrong on social media or on my blog, I began interacting and writing more. This lead to more conversations, more people to follow and learn from, and more information to consider. Ultimately, I believe my blog became a better (and truer) space for my thoughts/ideas and twitter became a more effective professional learning space for me. Did it lead to more disagreements and debates with other educators? Yes…but that’s okay. It’s interesting how being forced to defend your ideas can actually make you better understand why you have those beliefs.
So, if you are that educator who ‘lurks’ on twitter, or one who frequently types a tweet only to delete it before tweeting, I encourage you to go ahead with it. The way I see it, the worst that can happen is that you are wrong…so what? Even if someone corrects you, as long as you are learning and developing as a teacher to improve the classroom and learning for your students, who cares if you’re wrong?
What have I gotten wrong? Please feel free to leave a comment.