At the start of this year, my son’s kindergarten teacher was very open about how they will use technology in the classroom. She uses Evernote to share pictures and videos with the parents, and the class engages in regular Twitter conversations with kids in other kindergarten classrooms around the world.
Teachers can snoop on the parents, just as easily, you see.
Following my son’s teacher on Twitter has given me a greater appreciation for her passion for teaching, and how she is devoted to it day in and day out. She’s a far cry from Carly McKinney, a 23-year-old math teacher at Overland High School in Aurora, Colo (right). She was called out last week for tweeting marijuana pics, topless shots, and jailbait jokes about her students. (This is why you should be following your children’s teachers on social media).
Over the course of the year, I’ve seen Amy tweet a lot with the hashtag #kinderchat. It’s a hashtag she uses to stay in touch with kindergarten teachers and classrooms around the continent.
“Kinderchat is 2 things,” she says. “A community based around a twitter hashtag, co-created by me and @hechternacht. The overarching goal of it all is to build connections between professionals who work with young children. While “kinder” is most strongly associated with “kindergarten” it actually refers to young children in a global sense.”
It is also “a weekly formal chat on a specific topic, moderated by a rotation of amazing educators. We rotate through 7 themes on a weekly basis: Reflection/Assessment; Curriculum Areas; Classroom Life; Play; Special Topics; Professional Life; Technology. Every week’s discussion is centred around a specific topic related to the theme. On the 8th week, we just hang out and chit-chat, cocktail-party style.”
Last week, the teachers were discussing the Sandy Hook situation and whether or not they would like teachers to be armed at school.
Ok…so here is the tough question…since Sandy Hook…do you feel teachers should be armed? #kinderchat
— Michelle Hiebert (@MauiMickey) January 29, 2013
If you’re on Twitter, you’re more than welcome to participate or simply lurk the #kinderchat hashtag. The formal chats take place on Mondays at 7p MDT. Just as people make judgements about parents without fully understanding the mess that Moms (and Dads) have to deal with on a daily basis, we can get that judgey about teachers without a full appreciation for what they do.
“We do messy, noisy , sticky, sometimes stinky, work. Sometimes our jobs make us crazy,” admits Amy. “Many teachers spend all day in a room with small children, with very little contact with other adults. With #kinderchat, we are not alone. There is always someone to listen, to laugh, to help problem-solve. #Kinderchat is like a 24/7 staff lounge where every teacher there understands the Early Childhood setting, and wants to help and support instead of criticizing and complaining.”
So walk (or click) a mile in your teachers’ shoes. If you have kinder kids, pop in and follow the hashtag to see what sort of issues are important to teachers, the strides they are making to tackle them, and exactly how they deal with indoor recess on a cold winter’s day.
— Mandi McIntyre (@AquaMac25) January 29, 2013
Image via iStockPhoto