Honest Thoughts From My First Twitter Chat as an Administrator by @AllisonStephen1

This is a guest post from Allison Stephens, our HS Assistant Principal at Upper Perkiomen SD. It’s so great to see all of our building level administrators on Twitter engaging, but this is an honest post on what it’s like navigating a twitter chat for the first time. Enjoy!

So I have been thinking about trying out a twitter chat for some time now. I have been lurking on different hashtags to see which ones peak my interest. Browsing through the monthly NASSP, I came upon #APchat. This chat takes place every Sunday night at 8:00 pm. Perfect!

Of course, I had to start by observing from afar. I couldn’t bring myself to jump in with both feet. I lurked on #APchat last weekend. The topic was RtI, which is interesting to me, but not exactly applicable to me at this point in my career as a high school assistant principal. This week the topic was school safety. Score! There isn’t a day that goes by in my position that I don’t think about the safety of each and every student and staff member in the building. We also had a recent incident in the community in which an active shooter was on the loose, thus necessitating a building lock down. The timing of this twitter chat topic couldn’t have been better.

One of the reasons why I have never participated in a twitter chat before was because I didn’t think anyone really cared to have a conversation with me. I was wrong.

Ready, set, go…..introduce yourself! Allison Stephens, Asst. Principal @UpperPerkHS, Pennsburg, PA #APchat. Made sure to tell them that it is my first chat. What if no one responds? What if the hashtag is wrong? Oh geez! I see the moderator respond, “Welcome @AllisonStephen1, good to have you here. I wish we had prizes for first time participants.”

Ok, I am in, this is happening. People want to share and collaborate with me. Someone even thinks we should have prizes for people like me! Immediately, I have five new followers. I am surprised that there are a few people who want to follow me, they want more than a one time interaction over one Twitter chat. The questions start and educators from across the country share their viewpoints instantaneously. Pretty amazing stuff. Coincidentally, at the same time, my three month old son begins to scream from the bedroom. I can do this. I can engage in meaningful PD with educators from across the country all while getting my son to go back to sleep. Multi-tasking is one of my talents 🙂

I began to share my ideas on school safety and began to get feedback on my viewpoints. Respect and communication are essential to safe schools. I grabbed some tid bits about how to improve school culture. Actually talk to students and see if they feel safe. What a novel idea. I shared an idea with a fellow educator about creating an anonymous google form in order to discourage the mentality of “snitching”. Really awesome stuff.

My son is crying because the light from my cell phone is keeping him awake. I am beginning to panic because I missed answering a few questions, but it’s all well and good because Twitter is cool like that and you can go at your own pace. I can go back and review the questions and answers when he is calm. As fast as it started, it is over and I have ten more followers.

I needed to do this not only for myself, but for the staff at my building. I need to share and get feedback and collaborate because that is what I expect students and teachers to do. No matter how busy I am, I need to make time to engage in professional development in order to improve my own practice and support the professionals around me.

Meaningful PD, that I chose to engage in, at my own pace, on a Sunday night, all while getting my son back to bed. I might try a Twitter chat again. Thanks for the collaboration and conversation #APchat!

What are some other good Twitter chats that I can engage in?

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