Preface: Collaborative blog by @Principal_EL and @iplante in the spirit of #Satchat and #CE13
Every Saturday morning hundreds of dedicated and committed educators from around the world start their weekends with professional development at 7:30-8:30 am EST and 10:30 EST for the west coast version. Founded and led by Brad Currie (@bcurrie), Scott Rocco (@ScottRRocco), and Bill Krakower (@wkrakower), educators flock to #Satchat on Twitter for engaging discussion, sharing and learning all with one focus…long term success for students and schools.
The conversations and debates that arise during this hour are outstanding. Personally, we have learned so much and have improved as educators and leaders. The topics each week are current, relevant and thought-provoking. There is not one week that we don’t walk away with something that we want to bring back to our school for students, our colleagues, parents and ourselves.
So we decided to give this some thought…what if the members of #Satchat started a school? What if all these active participants were brought to their own island to start a district, maybe even a school district? It would be amazing! The passion, fire and determination to do what is best for student learning would make it one of the most successful districts ever established. Each Saturday we learn from some of the best teachers, administrators and superintendents in the business (and some awesome retired educators).
The educators we collaborate with are not always in agreement on the many topics we discuss, but they are in agreement that there are some key factors that make students successful learners and citizens. To start, communication and collaboration are a key part of #satchat sessions. Educators should not work in isolation, but look to colleagues to brainstorm, create, and engage. Different perspectives, experiences, and opinions should not be feared, but welcomed to develop amazing lessons, effective ways to work with staff, and to develop great communication with parents and the community.
Not having all the answers, and seeking to gain more knowledge to better themselves as educators, to improve student and teacher engagement, and make the overall learning environment, one that benefits every child, are all key objectives for #Satchat participants. People are hopping out of bed on their Saturday mornings, eager to dialogue on each week’s topic with coffee or tea in hand, and children waiting to be fed and are given their marching orders for the day (smiles). Most of the people in the world believe that educators work 8-3 Monday-Friday with summers off. Well, #Satchat participants are just as present in the summer, as they are every Saturday morning, choosing to spend an hour of their own time to grow. And just like us, they often extend beyond the hour to blog about the topic or thoughts that develop from our discussions or read other blogs and resources that were shared during the chat.
So again, what if #Satchat started a school. Learning for students and educators would be continuous. Things would not be status quo, for there are always ways to improve and grow. There are new things to try, there are old ways to revisit, there are dialogues to be had to ensure that the best things are happening at all moments. Lack of engagement is not on the brains of these people. All students would find excitement in learning because the educators would ensure that the environment fit their needs. Educators would be engaged in the ongoing dialogue that would occur more than an hour a week. We can assure you that most of the #Satchat participants join in other hourly Twitter education focused chats that occur throughout the week. All of the chats serve the same purpose, to engage, excite and enrich educators with the knowledge and the power to save students and schools around the world. A school started #Satchat team would be wonderful. A school district started by the all the members of education chats on Twitter would change the world! It’s time to start changing the world…one kid at a time!
Salome Thomas-EL (@Principal_EL) has been a teacher and principal in traditional public and nonprofit charter schools in Philadelphia and Delaware for over 25 years. He is currently a K-8 principal in Wilmington, DE. Principal EL is an international speaker and coaches new administrators. Salome has written two books, I Choose to Stay and The Immortality of Influence, both highlighting the lives of his inner city chess students who became a national chess camps and went on to graduate from college.
Sharon Plante (@iplante) has been teaching for over 17 years in traditional public schools in Virginia and Ohio, as well as in independent schools for students with language-based learning disabilities in Connecticut. She is currently a teacher and Director of Technology at Eagle Hill-Southport (@EHSSouthport) working to utilize technology to support and enhance skill development for LD students. Sharon is also one of the co-founders of #edtechchat, as well as a member of the Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) Commission on Technology.