Sunday, August 4, 2013

My "9 word" Story

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to read a book by Dave Burgess called Teach Like A Pirate. The book was very inspirational showing one teacher's true passion and enthusiasm. It was very infectious. One of my tweeps, Hal, provided me (via Twitter) the opportunity to meet Dave Burgess face to face. Not only did I read the book, I saw it come to life. I had several hurdles to clear in order to make this happen. Did I mention that I am a world record hurdler? I'm not really, but I sure felt like it that week. The spark from this book has caused a fire that will never be put out! In this book, Dave tells a story about "6 words." Well Dave, after this last week, I completely understand why a few simple words got under your skin. I had a very similar experience.
Last Friday, I was leading our junior high science collaboration meeting. The morning started out rough and some of the teachers had a difference of opinions on what they thought we were doing or NOT doing. Some how the subject of our district internet filter was put on the table. I mentioned how sad I was that Twitter was now blocked. It was the few seconds after this that those "9 words" were spoken. Now these nine words may not light your fire, but for me they were like an atomic bomb. I thought I was in the room with like-minded people because after all, we were all junior high science teachers with a passion for both science and teaching. The same person that caused a ripple at the start of the meeting spoke these nine words with pure confidence. I was in shock. How could this like-minded individual not see things the same? Now here are the nine words he spoke, "Twitter should stay blocked. It's a waste of time!" My immediate reaction was to laugh because surely he was joking. I quickly realized he was not and that his passion "against" Twitter was probably just as strong as mine is "for" Twitter.
Most of you know that I can be a joker, but this was a blow to my ego. I have worked extremely hard over the past several months developing my PLN on Twitter. I have spent hours upon hours connecting to the world's leading educators and gathering resources from them. There are times where I have given up valuable time with friends and family just to be able to learn more from my tweeps so that I can become a better educator. I had knots in my stomach thinking that he saw all this work I put into building my PLN and Tweeting out to the world as a "waste of time." It was in this moment that I wanted to say, "Well, then you go find your own resources and we will finish what we are doing here without you." I held my tongue and decided I would show him just how powerful Twitter can be. The first thing I did was share the story of how I was invited via Twitter to meet the author of the most inspirational book that I had ever read. I know I am an awesome story teller, but this didn't seem to phase him. Then I decided I would show him some of the amazing apps that I was introduced to at Edcamp FWTX. He was quite impressed with the apps, but not so impressed that I went to this free "non-conference" style professional development that was shared with me via Twitter. Then I thought to my "pirate-self", what are his interests and how can I incorporate them into my ploy to sway him on this Twitter debate. He had just shared that his wife's temporary job was coming to an end and money was going to be tight again. Then it hit me..."job offers." So, I shared with him how I had received not one but two job offers in the month of July via Twitter (both without an official interview). I finally had his attention. I explained that these people didn't just offer me a job because I fit the requirements. These people follow me on Twitter. They see how connected I am to the world of education. They know how passionate I am about teaching and leading. They didn't need a forty-five minute interview. They see me every day. Every Tweet I send, they see it. Now, I didn't completely sway him to the "Bright Side" of Twitter, but I got him thinking about the powers that be. I think my Twitter hater will soon realize that if he does not hop on this boat and set sail with the rest of the world of educators that he will either drown by pure exhaustion of "old schooling" it, or he will just have to hope that someone throws him a life preserver and is able to get him on board. So for him and all other Twitter bashers, I am on a mission to actually make a difference and have an impact on the world. Happy "floating/swimming" to all of you that missed the boat because this little pirate is sailing on!


  1. It's so easy to take it personally when other's don't quite see the value in things we find so extremely valuable. You did exactly what a good teacher leader does - you tried to find ways to help others see meaning and value in something. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Misty, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this blog post! I have encountered people that I thought were like-minded, but I needed to make information relevant to to them. I am so glad I have jumped in the boat with my ship mate, so we can continue sailing through these awesome experiences that are before us!

  3. Great way to show the importance of twitter.. but then again it is relevant for us.. we just need to show the rest of the world its AWESOMENESS! Great blog.. and thanks for sharing!