Here’s to the ‘twisteners’

Twitter can be a roistering, boisterous place to be for a newbie; when I first walked into the party I did not do it at all like I was walking onto a yacht, unless I had tripped up on the way in and spilled my drink over @oldandrewuk.

Yet what initially seemed a cacophony soon calmed as I tuned in. Like many new arrivals to twitter, I lurked, awed by these educational connoisseurs swiftly positing and counterpoising, embodying in just 140 characters the perfect blend of wit, steel and whimsy. Imagining Twitter as the online version of Versailles portrayed in ‘Ridicule’, I was too terrified to tweet at first, but soon blithely blundered into numerous conversations uninvited – and in some cases, felt I got to know people I had never met before. While straw men, ad hominems and false dichotomies flew around wildly, I tried to duck the dead-ends, no-wins and no-brainers and sought out the informed, the thoughtful, the reflective, the wise. The ‘twisteners’.

For many of us do twitter on, but how many listen well? Are we after the cheap thrills of a retweet or loveheart  (I still miss the stars…) or have we got the time to truly engage? Twitter offers us the chance to take on board a far wider range of knowledge, experience and ideas than we could hope to encounter within the walls of our own schools – and people are there to share! We can boldly introduce ourselves to those whose ideas intrigue us, whose thinking we admire, whose experience we wish to learn from.

I feel like I am still ‘warming up’ on twitter, but the twitter education community has been encouraging and challenging in equal measure: long may it continue. It has doubtless challenged my thinking, improved my teaching and given me evidence and arguments, some of which attacked my sacred cows, many of which I still hold in tension. Over the last few months, it has even led to a few articles in the TES, which I can show my mum and which never would have happened without the ‘twisteners’.

So I would like to thank some of my early encouragers and ‘twisteners’ who are fittingly drawn from a wide spectrum of expertise and opinion. It is very hard to narrow it down as there are so many generous people from #TeamEnglish and beyond, but thank you to @jillberry102, @joeybagstock, @shinpad @nancygedge @sue_cowley @HeadofEnglish @ieshasmall @Lisa7Pettifer @ImSporticus  @kevbartle @hgaldinoshea  @fod3  @MissJLud  @Xris32 @englishlulu @MissAllenEnglis @jo_facer @benniekara @Miss_Wilsey @KerryPulleyn @miss_mcinerney @carlhendrick @jamestheo @HuntingEnglish @oldandrewuk @jon_severs . Whether through quality blogging themselves, to show the way; polite, generous engagement;  responding to my comments or DMs; commenting on my blog posts; inviting me to contribute; thanking me for contributing; ‘echochambering’ me; editing my waffle,  or talking to me in person when I met them (!) all gave me the confidence to join the discussion.

I chose the title ‘Blogger, interrupted’ because life (rightly) gets in the way of twitter and blogging, and I am somewhat sporadic in my attempts, but I wanted to take time to thank the ‘twisteners’ and say that I hope to emulate their generosity, humility and integrity.  I am so glad I left Facebook for twitter!

TES articles so far – the links

Behaviour – ‘There’s always one – but they can be tamed.’

How to … use film and TV adaptations in the classroom