The Power of Social Media

The most unbelievable thing happened yesterday that is a beautiful illustration of the power of social media. Yesterday I wrote a post entitled “Reach for the Stars” about how Commander Chris Hadfield had influenced my son David’s decision to become an astronaut. As I was tweeting the link, I also tweeted it specifically to @Cmdr_Hadfield to acknowledge him.

After I sent that tweet our family went off to a BBQ at Harrison Lake where we had no cell service. It was time for me to be with my family and I was happy to unplug and be with them. I didn’t think that my tweet to Commander Hadfield would be noticed, let alone rock my world! After we came back within range of cell service I thought I’d check to see if at had any twitter messages…there were MANY from people who do not follow me. I checked my blog…also many comments from people who do not follow me! Then I checked my blog stats. By 9pm last night over 3700 people had read that blog post. WHAT?!? I’m usually lucky if I have 100 views per post! As of writing this post, OVER 5300 people have read my post!

Then David came into the room and said “Mom, did you SEE THIS?!?”

I was stunned. Apparently Commander Hadfield had not only READ my blog post, but he also SHARED it out on his social networks! His Twitter, Facebook and Tumbler all had links to my blog and I didn’t even know it because I wasn’t @mentioned on Twitter (which lets me know there is a message for me or a response to my tweet) and I had been out of cell range and couldn’t check Twitter or Facebook all evening.

Because of this one act of kindness in posting about my blog, Commander Hadfield has helped bring positive, encouraging comments for David from all over the world! Thank you, Commander Hadfield for sharing our story, and thank you for being such a wonderful role model for all of us.

What Has Been Keeping My Mind Spinning

Ok, I haven’t been keeping up with the #kinderblog13 Challenge this summer, so I am going to COMBINE posts to address all five of the writing prompts: CONFESS, BRAG, CHANGE, DREAM and FEAR. This really is the first time I have felt compelled to write all summer. Not because I don’t have anything to say…quite the contrary! I have far too much to say and I have not been able to slow down enough to unpack it and make it coherent for others to read and understand. So, let me attempt to bring you into the crazy, confusing world that is my brain.

What do I feel I need to CONFESS? I only have a four year BEd degree. Most of my colleagues have at least five or six years of university training, many of them with Masters degrees. I have to admit that I have felt at times that my training was less complete than others…but of course it’s all in my head and I am well qualified for my job. I certainly have done many workshops and courses over the years, and I have kept up with the latest findings in education, but still I have this nagging feeling that my ideas aren’t as impactful because I have less formal education than others. When I went to university, all I could afford was four years of study time and UBC was phasing out of their four year Bachelor of Education degree, so I buckled down and did it. Confession #2…I HATED every minute of going to university. I don’t do well just sitting in a classroom listening to a professor talk, so being in university classes multiple hours a day was absolute torture for me! It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the learning, it’s that I didn’t enjoy the lecture/sit and listen format of my classes. I loved my practicum experiences, I loved my students and I knew I had to jump through the hoops that the university placed in front of me to achieve my goal of being a certified teacher.

On to my BRAG…I am a born teacher. My parents were both teachers, my brother is a teacher and I honestly don’t think there is any other job I am more suited for than teaching. When I did my first practicum, my advisor said in one of his comments that it seemed as though I had been teaching all my life. Sure, there are other jobs I could do, but I wouldn’t want to do anything besides what I am already doing…helping form the minds of the little people entrusted to me each year.

Which brings me to two big CHANGES that are happening this September. First, and easiest, I will be teaching K/1 for the first time in about 18 years. I welcome the challenge and am very excited about it because I have the opportunity to keep some of my students from last year and build on the relationships we have already developed. The other big change relates to my confession…I AM GOING BACK TO UNIVERSITY! Seriously?!? It’s hard for me to fathom this, even typing it in upper case letters. Why would I go back to university when I hated it so much the first time? Well, things CHANGE. I have been presented an opportunity I cannot refuse. I had always thought in the back of my mind that if I ever had opportunity to study under Dr. Valerie Irvine at the University of Victoria I would jump at the chance. Well guess what? I will be studying with Valerie and I am so excited about it! Her courses are offered through multi-access which means I can learn from the comfort of my own home. I don’t have to take a leave from my job, leave my family and travel to Victoria to study. I can’t even put into words how this opportunity has changed things for me. What once was completely out of my mind has now changed how I feel about the thought of going back to school.

You see, that brings me to my DREAM…as I have always dreamed of having my Masters of Education degree. I would never have admitted it publicly before, but now that I am actually starting down the road to achieving this goal, I think it’s safe to “put out there”. You see, I am counting on my #kinderchat PLN to keep me focused and motivated. I know I’m going to need a cheering section/encouragement/kick in the pants once I get going. I am NOT a natural student…it will take a focus and energy I have never known before, but I am going to give it a go. I have to…this is the “now or never” opportunity.

As with many changes, there is also an underlying FEAR…and I am not immune to those feelings. Fear of failure…fear of not meeting expectations of family or the university…fear of taking on too much. I know how much energy it takes to keep up with my every day life and I wonder if adding university studies will just be too much?

So, that, in a nutshell, is what has been occupying my thoughts for the past couple of months. Yes, I am excited for the changes that are coming that will allow me to chase my dream of getting my MEd, but I am also a bit fearful that I am biting off a bit more than I can chew. It is certain that I will be blogging through my journey, so I hope that you, my readers, will help keep me on track and remind me that what I will be learning over the next two years will make me a better teacher and that my students will benefit from all my hard work. Oh yeah…and remind me that after this is over my husband and I will be celebrating my new degree and our 25th wedding anniversary with a trip to Maui. 😉

P.S. After writing and publishing yesterday, I realized I missed mentioning a REALLY important piece…the friends who will be on this amazing learning journey with me! @learningmurd and @namesescapeme are two of the amazing group, #kinderchat, that I have blogged about so much. Starting on this adventure is so much more special because I get to experience it with them!