I participate in several Twitter chats, but there’s one chat I try as hard as possible to make each week, and that’s #tosachat. Over winter break, #tosachat took a departure from the regular weekly chat and held a 12-day “slow chat.” A slow chat is different from a regular Twitter chat because participants respond to one question per day (or per week) instead of 6-8 questions in one hour.
The founders of #tosachat put out a call for guest moderators for the the 12 days of #tosachat. All we had to do was sign up for a day and come up with a question to ask. The obvious choice of days for me to moderate was Christmas day. I figured I’d take one for the team so all of my Christmas-celebrating friends could enjoy the day with family and friends. My question was nice and simple:
I was surprised by how many of my #tosachat friends participated in the chat on Christmas day. I didn’t think I’d have anyone playing– I figured they’d all be busy and unplugged. Instead, I found out that many were spending the day with family and friends, and some had various celebrations that they’d be attending. A couple spent the day like I did– with a movie and Chinese food (Jewish tradition!) and Twitter (new tradition!). Some people got cool gifts and posted pictures. But most importantly, I realized that holidays don’t trump the need for the connected educator to stay in touch with those near and far. Many of us have #fomo (fear of missing out!) and that motivates us to continue to tweet and converse on Voxer, even over the holidays. But I think it goes deeper than that.
The addition of #tosachat into our lives has given us a tribe. A group of like-minded educators who understand one another because we are living very similar existences in which we are forging our professional paths as we go. Many of us are “lone wolves” in our school districts. Many of us are new to our positions, and some of us have been on assignment for multiple years. Regardless, we have created a learning community and have quickly become friends who can quote episodes of Friends. We can all count on our #tosachat Team Awesome colleagues whenever we want to learn something new, if we need advice, or when we want to celebrate. It’s not easy to unplug from a tribe such as this one.
If you are a Teacher on Special Assignment, please join #tosachat on Monday nights at 8pm PST if you have not already. You can join in the conversation even if you aren’t on assignment because everyone’s voice is valued by Team Awesome. Maybe #tosachat isn’t for you, but I urge you: Find your tribe. Find a group that works for you and jump in. Create and grow your PLN. You will not be sorry (and your students will thank you!).
Happy New Year!