How Twitter helped me land my first teaching job!

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‘Isn’t twitter just people talking about what they had for breakfast?’

That’s the most common reaction I get when I mention my Twitter addiction. A lot of people don’t understand why I would want to virtually hang out with people I’ve met and have a conversation. What could you possibly say in 140 characters that could be of any meaning?

Outside of amazing ideas to implement in the classroom, there’s advice, support, professional contacts and something any student teacher would want, job leads.

Because Steven Johnson was right, chance does favour the connected mind, and my job search is over with a permanent position for 2012.

All up I applied for just 5 jobs in total, was short-listed to four schools (three of which I had Twitter contacts), had the difficult task of having to say ‘thanks but no thanks’ to two amazing schools and ultimately received an offer from one of the schools I applied for hours after being interviewed.

Part of the reason I was able to generate a job offer was that I had a presence on MyPortfolio which the school who hired me also uses. University on the Hill doesn’t use MyPortfolio (something I will save for another rant) which gave me an immediate leg up over every other student teacher in the city who applied for this particular gig.  How did I get a MyPortfolio account? Through sweet talking a contact I met on, yup you guessed it, Twitter.

But the thing with Twitter is that is so much more than just having a digital presence and general schmoozing. Instead of having just 2 Associate Teachers from my Teaching Experiences I have a network of hundreds of global educators who were contributing to my learning in just 140 characters.

I can talk about pedagogy without sounding like I was regurgitating a Whitney Houston song because of conversations I had on Twitter. Point to web tools I had implemented in my teaching practice which I found via Twitter. Most importantly I had a real idea about what the school I was applying about was about because I had already visited the school virtually through the classroom blogs which I found because the Principal of the school is on Twitter.

Now in case you are wondering I can do other things apart from tweet. My e-portfolio has videos I’ve made of student learning, great reports from my Associate Teachers and Visiting Lecturers, this blog demonstrates a commitment to reflective practice and having an Asian language is a big selling point to many New Zealand schools. All this gives me an added dimension to my e-learning obsession and in fact supports it.

So if you are passionate about arts, there’s a community somewhere go find it on Twitter.

If you are passionate about sports education, there’s a community somewhere go find it on Twitter.

Ditto for maths, science, social studies and just about every curriculum area, find or build your community on Twitter.

My advice to student teachers is simple.

Don’t spend most online life hanging out with other student teachers on Facebook pages closed off to the teaching world. Ultimately that community is constrained by one world view, that of the student teacher, which is a narrow perspective dominated by lectures and assignments. Your time in the teaching profession started when you enrolled in the course so come out from behind the digital walls and start connecting with the awesome teachers and principals out there on Twitter. You’ll learn heaps and all this learning might help you find a teaching job.

Wondering who to follow? Here’s just a few of the people who have helped me on my journey to start you off.

Thanks to @kathryntrask one of the first blogs I started following and a wise commentator on my own blog.

Thanks to @mgraffin Another early influencer through his blog all the way over in Perth. You betcha my future class will be taking part in the global classroom next year.

Thanks to @stumpteacher whose concept of student driven learning I hope to implement better than I did during my first attempt during Teaching Experience.

Thanks to @whatedsaid Your wonderful blog made me realize it’s about the learning journey rather than to teaching to a destination.

Thanks to @ShannoninOttawa A fellow Canukistani whose sage thoughts on her blog and interesting tweets are a must follow for any would be educator. Shannon #youmatter.

Thanks @Krivett1 for your thought-provoking reflections and awesome teaching ideas which I’m totally stealing next year. Keep writing!

Thanks to @Taratj my Minimally Invasive Educator mentor and fellow member of the 2012 Auckland invasion of Wellington.

Thanks to @kathleen_morris and @kellyjordan82 your classroom blog is amazing, I consider you my blogging gurus!

@heugumperNZ I owe you big time.

Thanks to @fionagrant, your tweet back in June really kick-started the readership to my blog.

Thanks to @mrkempnz for being so supportive. Ruma Tahi‘s You tube clips are my must-watch on Friday afternoon.

Thanks to @missrevell  for being so generous with your knowledge. Your Room 2 Rockets are inspiration for a great junior blog.

I could go on…

So I will just say thanks so much to the awesome tweachers up and down New Zealand and around the world who helped this Student Teacher become a Beginning Teacher  in 140 characters or less.

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38 thoughts on “How Twitter helped me land my first teaching job!

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  1. Hi Stephanie,

    Congratulations on earning your first teaching job, how exciting! πŸ™‚

    Your passion, dedication and enthusiasm to the profession is just wonderful and your new school is lucky to have secured your services for next year.

    I hope you celebrate this terrific achievement!

    Best wishes,

    Kelly

    P.S Thanks for the mention in your post too, I’m sure you’ll join the class blogging community next year too!

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  2. Well done Stephanie! A richly deserved position. Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to experience the same.

    Many thanks for the mention. I’ve enjoyed following your development via Twitter and your blog over the course of this year; and wish you all the best.

    Regards,
    Michael (@mgraffin)

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  3. Hi Stephanie

    I love reading your blog and have enjoyed the many insights you have shared.

    Congratulations! I know you’re going to be an amazing teacher as you’re already a reflective practioner and I think that’s one of the keys to successful classroom teaching.

    Kirstin

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  4. Congratulations Stephanie! Well deserved appointment and you have landed in a school where you will receive fabulous F2F mentoring and learning opportunities…. and get to work with the amazing Miss T (a taonga from PES).

    I particularly like this paragraph and wish it was 101 of teacher training:

    Don’t spend most online life hanging out with other student teachers on Facebook pages closed off to the teaching world. Ultimately that community is constrained by one world view, that of the student teacher, which is a narrow perspective dominated by lectures and assignments…..

    Dorothy

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  5. Thank you so much Dorothy,
    Your blog and PES are an inspiration so I am thrilled to be working with Miss T (especially after seeing her appointment video on the class blog!).

    I’m hoping that someone will see the blog and make it more awesome, that is what the interweb is for in my opinion.

    Stephanie

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  6. Congratulations and Thankyou as well. You have inspired me through your blogs as well. Although not as competent as yourself I am starting to build confidence in my use of social media. More importantly it is helping my own children learn as well. I wish you the very best of luck and one day hope to have a class blog session with yours. And PS thanks for the messages.

    Cheers Sandy

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  7. Hi Stephanie

    Wow. Am so thrilled for you. It’s hard not to invest in cliches in circumstances like this, but welcome to the start of a stunningly fun and rewarding way to spend your working life! Your passion shines through so clearly in your thoughtful and reflective writing. I am sure that your new employers will have noticed this.

    I have so recently been through this all myself, and will look forward to hearing more from you. Take it day by day, and realise that you can’t have it all as you would like it all at once. I still don’t – and am not sure that anyone does! Above all else, find humour and be present to appreciate the moments of wonderment shown by your kids each day. You connecting with them is what it’s all about.

    Thanks so much for the mention.

    What year are you teaching and when do you begin? T1 2012?

    All the best.
    Keep in touch!

    Juliet

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    1. Hi Juliet,
      Thanks so much for your kind comments and wonderful advice. Your blog is a real inspiration and you are an awesome twitter buddy! I’m beginning Term 1 with year 7/8 which will be delightful.

      Stephanie

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  8. Stephanie
    So delighted to hear the great news. I just know you are going to make many learners happy life long learners. NZ is getting the best. I look forward to following you into your teaching venture next year. I know I am going to love hearing about it, and no doubt learning from you as well.
    Thanks for the mention. πŸ™‚
    Kathryn

    Like

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