Twitter is the New Teachers’ Lounge.

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A long, long time ago I was hired as a teacher.Twitter Is What You Make of It.

Now we aren’t here to question the good judgment of the gentleman who made this decision, but we probably should discuss it at some point.

For whatever reason, he chose me out of 3 candidates.

I may not have been the greatest teacher, but I was evidently better than the other two.

Or they may have turned the job down right before he offered it to me.

I will never know.

But lucky for me, I had a job.

When I was hired, he gave me some good advice.  After he put his cigarette out.

Yes, times have changed.  In today’s world you would never see a high school principal sitting at his desk hiring a new teacher while sucking on a cancer stick.

But two decades ago, I did.

And I remember his advice like it was yesterday.

He said "Mike, take this advice or don’t.  Doesn’t make me any difference.  But, if I was a brand new teacher, I would stay out of the teacher’s lounge."

Then he went back to smoking.  He really seemed to enjoy it.

I took his advice.  And vowed to never smoke at my desk because I didn’t want my fingers to be yellow.

He didn’t tell me why I should stay out of the lounge, but I remember thinking at the time he must know something I don’t because he had been in education forever.

And I mean forever.

His fingers were REALLY yellow.

These days, I’m starting to think Twitter has become the new Teacher’s Lounge.

Neither one is bad, but they are what you make of them.

Both can provide educators positive and upbeat experiences, but both can also suck the living life out of you.

In either place, I think it’s very easy to get caught up in complaining about schools, students, parents, and even politicians.

If I was giving advice in today’s world (and I am), I would say don’t go anywhere where the people around you make you feel bad about your profession.

This might mean the lounge.  This might also mean Twitter.

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11 Responses to “Twitter is the New Teachers’ Lounge.”

  1. Pat
    on Dec 2nd, 2012
    @ 11:47 am

    Or maybe as a new teacher, they need to follow the right people. After a while, if I see someone is too negative on Twitter, I unfollow them. There is no “law” that says you have to continue to follow these people. I follow people who have positive attitudes and give me support when needed. The same goes for hanging around colleagues in the work place. I avoid the negative ones and surround myself with those who have a good attitude, good work ethic, and gives me support when needed. Hopefully others see me in the same way and want me in their circles.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    I do the same thing with “unfollowing”.

    Great minds….

  2. Alleta Baltes
    on Dec 2nd, 2012
    @ 1:37 pm

    Teachers’ Lounges can be a great place for teacher retention. As a 31 year education veteran, I work hard as a principal to be in the lounge, and to encourage fun, entertaining, positive interactions there. Our parent group the month of December is bringing healthy treats every Friday for the teachers. We had coffee and ‘nilla wafers last Friday….can’t wait to see the fruit, veggies, and healthy treats they bring the hard working staff next week! Be a magnet for the positive!@!

    Michael Smith Reply:

    A Principal in the Lounge? Good for you.

    Be careful.

  3. Audrey
    on Dec 2nd, 2012
    @ 3:32 pm

    I am a new teacher and I was told by teachers I respected to stay out of the lounge. Then, when I started this job, I was told to go eat in the lounge so I could meet my colleagues. I think it all depends where you work. Through internships, I sat in some great lounges and some that were very negative. I am lucky that the lounge where I work is a positive place to relax, and I am grateful for the other teachers who make it that way.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    You are lucky.

  4. Jill Craddock
    on Dec 2nd, 2012
    @ 3:49 pm

    Sometimes they both feel like a waste of time, but occasionally can be helpful. Usually Twitter is more time suckage than anything. Thanks for the post.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    I agree about the time. I do get some good things from Twitter, but I’m not sure it’s worth it if I would keep track of my time.

  5. Dr. James Norwood
    on Dec 7th, 2012
    @ 12:07 am

    I have been teaching for 10 years and I have to walk through the teachers lounge to use the restroom and that is about the extent of the time I spend in there. Conversely, I spend a lot of time on Twitter because that is where I have my virtual learning community and I learn a great deal from my colleagues there. The only thing I’ve ever learned in the physical teachers lounge is how bad this student is or how annoying that teacher is.

  6. Dr. Kimberly Tyson
    on Dec 14th, 2012
    @ 6:04 am

    Interesting perspective, Michael. Most teacher’s lounges that I walk in are pretty empty except for a few over the lunch hour. I agree that Twitter can be a great place to hang out or one of negativity; however, I find that I consistently find great content and have found a few excellent chat groups. #Satchat is one of my favorites – filled with upbeat administrators on the move. I’m guessing you found the “Twitter Cheat Sheet” for Educators that I posted the other day on my blog at Learning Unlimited LLC. I’ve gotten lots of positive feedback which is always nice. Mostly, I hope it helps educators dip their toe in and find out all the Twitter has to offer…other than sucking time.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    Great list.

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