In Tomesawayfromhome’s post about her “Dream Posts” she suggested that I write about community building (along with lhuddles, thinkbrit, heymissat).
I’m not sure whether she meant building community building on Tumblr, with colleagues at your school, or within your classroom.
So, I’ll begin with community building on Tumblr since it is the easiest for me to talk about.
Respect others educators on Tumblr
When I first start reading a new-to-me #education tumblr, I automatically respect them because I know our profession is not always easy, most teachers work their hardest and often give up much of their personal time towards their occupation, and the current atmosphere often leaves teachers as the bad guys. I have the mentality of “let’s stick together.”
When you think you have a good idea, say something!
I love thinking of new ideas to get this community interacting and writing excellent posts worthy of being promoted (instead of post from editors being promoted that have nothing to do with education). I thought of doing a collabrative tumblr that brought about Team Teachers, dare day, dream posts, summer book club, etc. But, I probably won’t think of half the things that have been wondering around your mind. If you have a good idea, post about it, ask people about it, etc. Some of my ideas have completely fallen flat - some that I thought were the best ones. That’s ok though, because if I didn’t test out ideas then none of the successful ones would have happened. I can’t encourage you enough to share your ideas. Sometimes my ideas are whispering into a certain tumblr’s ear “care to write a post about ____” because maybe it is something I’ve noticed them touching on and I’ve wanted to know more or maybe it is something that isn’t useful to me now, but would be if I moved up grade levels. If you have an idea or a question, don’t wait for someone to tell you to run with it, just go!
Call it like you see it, and when you’re wrong admit it publicly.
Rarely, there is an #education tumblr that presents suggestions or personal opinions towards certain groups that is something I can’t respect. I will call them out. I try to do it gently if I believe it is an innocent error, and I’m a little more blunt if it is not. Sometimes, I have my information wrong, and if I can call a person out publicly then I should be able to apologize publicly. I feel like it is important to call the opinion/behavior out initially so that hopefully the person will look into the issue more, and also so that if it is putting someone’s job in jeopardy or targeting a group of people, then I’ve done my part as an educator and colleague to speak out about the issue.
How does this build community? It makes #education a place that values best practices and allows everyone to feel welcome. When you stand up for what you believe in and do not allowing racist/ablist/sexist/homophobic comments fly, then it creates a community that is more welcoming and accepting to all.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or offer ideas when someone else asks for help.
Signal boost posts that you think are important and that you think people who read your blog might be able to help out with.
Be open to learning from this community.
If everyone says you’re wearing orange, and you think you’re wearing green, take a second look at yourself.
Don’t be afraid to show your interests outside of teaching.
Send encouragement to teachers when you think they need it. Only other teachers usually truly understand.
Gifs are awesome.
Remember editor or not, new-to-tumblr, or someone who has been around forever we all have things we can share and help the community with. The number of followers does not determine the quality of your posts (but may gain you more followers) or what kind of teacher a person is. I have a lot of followers, but I’m still learning a lot about Florida’s ways of doing things, Pre-K, and working with ELLs. I make teacher blunders all the time. I stress out about co-workers, and I get major Sunday night anxiety. Being open about that among friends relieves pressure and gives people a chance to help and encourage you. Also, I’m sure there are teachers on tumblr that only joined in the past year with a lot more years of experience and some great classroom wisdom to share.
Tell me if this post makes sense because I am about ready to cut my ear off.