I talk with my Twitter PLN group constantly, as pretty much anyone who follows me knows. One thing we've been talking about lately is how the #flipclass community has grown and changed, especially around the chat that Cheryl and I moderate on Monday evenings. And it's changed a lot, almost completely for the better. More on that in a minute.
Because of these conversations and the relationships that exist in that community, my mind was already in the right frame to be hit squarely with Bill's post. He writes about how lots of people use social media solely for the purposes of broadcasting instead of engaging in conversation. He's absolutely right-- those types of individuals are trying to brand themselves, and become popular for what they share. I'd actually argue they harm their brand by ignoring the relationships social media allows us to create and foster.
But the #flipclass chat is different. People who are just there to broadcast get pretty well ignored, but people who come to learn, to share, to grow, and to build community are intentionally and powerfully engaged and cared for. I wish Cheryl and I could take credit for this group, but I do think in many ways #flipclass attracts teachers who are interested in relationship and community and helping. I often use the term "pathologically helpful" for our teachers, and it's true. The flipclass teachers, many of whom I just call friends, are now a networked web of people who can, and do, provide academic, emotional, even spiritual support to each other AND, just as importantly, who go out of their way to help and engage in conversation with the new teachers and lurkers that come by the chat.
I guess I could frame this as a "everyone come to the chat" type of post, and I think it would be good for you, if you're interested in flipping, to come by. But what I really wanted to say, on this midsummer early morning, is thank you.
Thank you for being there faithfully. Thank you for picking up my spirits when I don't really feel like chatting. Thank you for engaging, both with us and with each other. Thank you for welcoming new people gracefully, without intimidating them. Thank you for this amazing community we've built together. Thank you for the good thoughts, both academic and personally supportive.
As a postscript, I wanted to share a couple blogs by two science teachers I really respect a ton, both of whom crack jokes about their "tens of readers." An Unconventional Fire (@arnoldscience) and Strickland Science (@sciaggie) are both incredibly written and incredibly helpful to me in pushing my thinking and making me feel less alone on the teaching island. It would do your soul good to check both out.