If We Couldn’t Laugh…

My first day of 2nd grade. I walked in and recognized a few faces. I could sense the people I knew were nervous. Some had even been crying. What did I do? The typical Amanda reaction, I went over to them, started talking to them and of course cracking jokes. My teacher then groaned and told my mom, “well look here, we have ourselves one of those ‘social butterflies.'” From then on I was labeled.  My teacher never took into account I had a genius IQ or had been reading sentences since I was two. From then on I was “that kid.” I spent most of the school year outside the room or at the front of the room in “isolation.”  I could go on for days about how this affected my education experience for the rest of my elementary/MS years, but  that is not my point.

My point is that humor and relationships with others is a big part of who I am. If you had asked me when I was a child what I wanted to be when I grew up I had an answer “The President, if I lose the election, a comedian.” Yes those are some messed up ideals but it makes since, “help the country or make them laugh”

Lately I have been frustrated with my addition to our PLN. I feel as though I do not contribute much. Like I’m once again I the ditzy blonde in the back of the room passing notes.  I don’t want to be the “class clown.” I learn so much for everyone (if I don’t I have unfollowed by now!). As a mom of 2 (who’s husband traveled about 150 days last yr), a coach, and teacher my PLN is my source of research.  I do not have a chance to search for articles or read books as much as I like. But I do have time to read blogs or read what is being recommended.

I also feel with many a relationship. Like a support group!  When I’m having a bad day I can say so without fear of losing my job. I love that you then turn around and make me smile. I like making you guys laugh at me when your days are not going well. You have to admit, the mental image of me standing on a table with a mouse running around my room made you crack a smile!!! I LOVE how you guys DM about a job interview or surgery you are having. That is important to me.

Since I started writing this post I was told pretty much to go away from Twitter. Parents were going to twitter.com/amandacdykes and reading my tweets for something to talk about.  Something negative to talk about. I was tweeting about school. That was a problem to them. What they aren’t realizing is that I am tweeting to teachers, teachers who also are going through the same things I am going through. (by the way They were not following me, they were going out of their way to find it)

I love reading what other teachers are doing throughout the day. It is a connection that is great to have.

This job is not my dream job to be honest. I like it, but more than anything I want to be a technology intergration specialist, so reading tweets from people with that job teaches me SO MUCH about that job.  I also learn a lot about teaching practices going on all over the world, and I try them out in my classroom.  I am challenged to think.  No where else am I challenged to do so. My school does not provide professional development, no you all are it.  What I get on my own is what I get. Thank you for that!

It is awesome to know there are other educators out there who have the same passion for changing our education system. Its funny how often we all disagree but still work together for a common goal. You do not see that often.

My twitter time is now gone from 8-3. I know I can protect myself if I tweet other times, but it will not be as often for a while. I still “lurk” and read tweets, but I have to keep my mouth shut. Not something I can do easily!! You may be getting DMs from me about what ever you just twittered, sorry in advance.

I think of so many of you a friends. I cannot wait to meet so many of you at #ISTE10! I’m usually not into conferences, I hate crowds (unless I’m the center of attention lol)! Well I hate crowds where I do not know people. I do not feel that way about you all, I feel like there will be plenty I know!

Jimmy Buffett says “If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.” Those are words I live by! Thank you for making me laugh!

I love you all!

a

17 thoughts on “If We Couldn’t Laugh…

  1. John says:

    I just have to say, as I have tweeted you before, I enjoy your posts, I look forward to your posts, you do make me laugh. This post almost makes me sad that we won’t have the opportunity to receive your tweets during the day time hours. I am sorry you had to go through that with parents/admin.

    I agree with you regarding our PLN…it’s amazing!!! I have learned so much. Like you, I am married with young children and don’t find the time to research. I get so much PD through twitter.

    You make many of us laugh…it is a gift you have, seriously…please keep sharing!

  2. Jen W says:

    Hey Amanda
    Thanks for sharing.

    Might I say that (though I am sad why you have to do so) — I think it is a good example to NOT twitter during classroom time. (especially not frequently).

    It amazes me how much twittering I see from other teachers during their school day. If I were a parent, I might be a bit skeptical as well. Especially if it was NOT truly educationally important.

    I would urge you to still be willing to twit between 8 – 3 but when you do so – do it in such a way that your parents cannot condemn you for it but can commend you for your excellent skills in gathering information for their students, thus making YOU a better teacher AND providing better learning opps for your students.

    Let them see you twitter out how great your class is or ways you see them growing. Let them see you twitter out a need (perhaps a website or an idea) and then see the response that you get.

    Don’t walk away from twitter because you are afraid of being judged — walk to twitter because you are willing to be judged!! Just make sure that you are not being twitter distracted during a time you should be teaching.

    I look forward to one day meeting you face to face and sharing a smile, a hug, and some twitter laughs.

    Jen

  3. Becky says:

    That is so sad that you have to tone down, Amanda! You’re a great resource. You personality is just so vibrant, too! Can’t wait to meet at #ISTE!

  4. MissCheska says:

    Amanda,

    I’m very glad that you are part of my PLN. When I was in middle school, I was labeled the brainiac because I was Asian. I kept getting dumped with more schoolwork, paired with ELL Asian kids because I “spoke the same language” (never mind the fact that I was American-raised and Tagalog was different from other Filipino dialects!), and used as an example that the other students should strive to become (which resulted in their resentment and bullying). Who said that you were the PLN’s class clown/blonde ditz? It’s because we remember how we felt when we were labeled as kids that we must and should be able to move away from the insecurities of our past experiences, and stop from labeling ourselves too.

    I, for one, LOVE your tweets. It sucks that the late actions of the parents in your school community made you feel it was necessary to start censoring and monitoring your tweets. I think that they’re funny and real. They show who you are as a teacher, as a mother, but most importantly as a person. As much as I love the wonderful resources our PLN provides, sometimes reading too many edu-related material can be overwhelming. Your tweets show me the other side of our PLN; there’s more than just links, videos, trends, and controversial issues. There’s the human side too: the individual and collective joys and frustrations of teaching, parenthood, and relationships.

    And I’ll be completely honest, sometimes I also think I don’t contribute as much as I should to our PLN. I see others’ blog posts, their shared materials and resources, and I feel like that kid in the back who doesn’t know what’s going on and irritates the teacher for asking too many questions. But during my short time with Twitter, I’ve come to realize that the PLN doesn’t care about all labels or roles – we just want to be able to connect, to learn with one another, and to help each other. 😀 Just keep doing you!

  5. Mike says:

    Will be glad when Districts and administrators see the importance of Twitter as an educational tool and not a hinderance to the education process.

    It is not like your tweets did any real damage. Sometimes things meant to be in good fun, are in good fun, and should be treated as such.

    I am sorry that your experience has “blocked” your access.

    Just create another account!

  6. Ann says:

    Amanda,
    I LOVED your tweets the other day about the rat. I was laughing out loud at the visual image you created. That being said, I do not think of you as the ditzy blonde in the back of the room. Just because you like to laugh and have fun doesn’t mean you are brainless and I definitely don’t see you that way. I too read the blog posts of many people and think, how did they get so smart, so creative. I follow a lot of really brilliant minds that I could never compete with, but I am happy to learn from them. That’s what makes this such a fun place to be. I don’t tweet much during school time unless I am looking for a specific resource or answer to a question. Sometimes I will respond if I can offer something that another person needs. After 3:00 though, I love connecting with everyone, even if it’s just for fun. Keep being you, we are all listening and learning together.

  7. Penny says:

    I just started tweeting a couple of days ago, and stumbled across great teachers who did not hesitate to express their thoughts online. I was amazed in the amount of information and resources I accumulated in such a short time.
    It saddens me that parents actually went out of their way to find your tweets. I do think confidentiality is something everybody struggles with, especially with the rise of social networking. I believe as a teacher you have kept everything professional, and it causes me concerns when we are asked to censor how we best express ourselves. After all do we not strive to teach students freedom of expression?

  8. amandacdykes says:

    Ok finally able to reply to you guys!

    @john: Thanks man! glad someone else uses Twitter as “research”

    @Jen: You get the long reply! Well my class is kinda odd, we have 90 min in here for one subject. I give about 5 different types of activities to fight boredom. I’m also very ADHD, so when the kids get an independent activity or watching a 3 min vid clip, etc, I have to take a mental break. I stop glance through tweets (prob 1 min at the most) and move on. When something happens I need to share I wait. So I’m not just lurking on twitter all day lol! Wish I could still tweet between 8-3 but it is a no-no now, I don’t have the privilege. My negative is that bc of my ADHD I cant take a lot of info at once, so sitting down after school reading tweets is not effective for me. But I’m gonna work on it!

    @Becky: you better be looking for me at ISTE! I can’t wait!

    @Matt; yes peanut butter please!

    @ Cheska: Ok no labels for any of us 😉 I was actually called a court jester, but its ok, all in good fun! You contribute a lot by the way! Its ok to ask questions!!

    @Brian: OK then, help me out!

    @Mike: yeah no new twitter names, for once in my life I will follow rules. And I agree its sad they don’t see the benefit.

    @Ann glad the rat made you laugh!! and Thanks!

    @Penny: welcome to twitter! it made me smile the day you sent me an @ message – I was your first tweet!! I felt very honored (and yes I remembered that!)

  9. Todd says:

    Though we haven’t been connected for long on Twitter, I do feel we are somewhat kindred spirits in that we’ve run across a great number of similarities in our short conversations. I must say, I’m deeply disturbed by your administration’s lack of foresight and confidence in your explanation of your Twitter use. That continues to prove the point that so many in education just do not get “it”. With “it” being the massive shifts we are making as a culture and the any time access to information.

    I hope this issue can be resolved, and would like to personally extend my own testimonials of the power of Twitter in my classroom for making global connections for my students. One quick plea to your PLN would garner you many, many stories of the power of Twitter that you could use to hopefully sway your admin. Just say the word and we’ll be on it…of that I am certain!

  10. Joan Young (@flourishingkids) says:

    Amanda,
    Thank you so much for sharing you wonderful sense of humor and brains with us. I love your tweets: I think we often laugh together over the miles, and I think it’s refreshing that you are so honest. I am sorry for the “parent stuff” ( dare I say crap here?) and I know that you will make up for the time on the weekend 😉 I am thankful for our great PLN and I wish I was going to ISTE ..maybe next year!
    Take care.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    This, Amanda, is a fantastic post! I am grateful for however we found each other on Twitter. I’m guessing it was education or football, but nonetheless, I am blessed to have you in my network, as I am very similar to you. Doing a million and one things, needing to vent, needing to laugh, needing to make others laugh, and having a kick-butt support system.

    It really sucks that you are being told not to use Twitter and that parents are going out of their way to find your tweets. That makes me really sad! I think that sometimes it’s hard to decipher what is meant jokingly or seriously through texts – just like emails. (Although your humor always shines through to me.) I’ve been “spoken” to about my tweets as well, and ya know what? At the end of the day, I am me. I like what I do, but if I can’t voice my opinions on my OWN PERSONAL TWITTER account, where can I?

    I’m EXTREMELY upset I won’t be meeting you at ISTE 😦 but I want to tell you to keep your head up and keep smiling. You bring sunshine to others, and I am personally very happy I know you!

  12. amandacdykes says:

    Ok finally replying to guys:

    @Todd: hey man, yeah we are way too much a like 😉 I have appreciated your encouragement in the past, thank you for that! Also, thanks for the offer, I know you guys would help me out. I’m good, I do not think there is anything to convince my community as a whole. They do not realize people aren’t sitting there reading my post trying to figure out what kid or class I’m discussing. Its sad. Only 3 people in the entire town follow me, so its insane. Anyway, I will survive. I just miss the encouragement during the day!! BTW you watch Buffett last night? Ended up missing it 😦

    @Joan: I’m so glad you are part of my PLN, I love our convos!! Now I have a reason to go to #ISTE11 if you are gonna be there, I’m going!

    @Elizabeth: Thanks girl! I’m so ready for football season to hear your now Tebow-less banter 😉 (Sorry couldn’t resist – Roll Tide!) Yeah I have the same thoughts are the whole PERSONAL twitter acct. and yeah I’m sure my joking doesn’t always come through. That is the sad part, not many parents have taken the time to get to know me beyond the “hey” at ballgames to know I’m not a serious person. Sad people who live on other side of the country know that and people in my community that I live by, go to church with, etc do not take that time to do so – but they leave their child with me during the day.
    I am so sad you won’t be at ISTE – crushed actually. Maybe I can get the FETC next year, its hard bc I have to pay all, but I’ll see what I can do!!

  13. Errin says:

    I am happy to have you roll through my Tweetdeck as part of my PLN! I don’t have time to read through all the responses to your post today, but I do want to add my thoughts while I have a few minutes!

    Your comments about toning down your use of Twitter made me think of three things. First, do the parents reading and talking about your tweets even know anything about Twitter at all? Or are they just reading and taking the tweets out of context? That’s not fair to you, but the only way to approach it, from my point of view, would be to educate them on Twitter and your use of it. I use Twitter in much the same way as you and I love how it enhances my professional life. I don’t think most people understand the life of a teacher much to begin with, unless they live with one of us, of course! You may be more aware of what you tweet in the future, but I think that being online does come with some reminders now and then of our digital footprints.

    Second, I understand your situation from a different perspective in that I teach in a very small town and I feel like my entire life is always highly visible! I’m a teacher first in most peoples eyes, and a person second, which means I live a different life than friends of mine who teach in larger cities. I think that certain professions, such as teaching, are more under the microscope whether that microscope be Twitter or the local coffee shop.

    Lastly, I hope you are able to continue to learn from and with your PLN! There is no PLN without the people willing to put themselves out there to make that learning connection.

  14. Elizabeth Collins says:

    Amanda,

    I know exactly what you are talkinga about–using social networking as facets of a PLN, using it to discuss mostly educational ideas, to share insights, etc., and people hoping to use it against you.

    Let me just say that I had two very strange parents (one couple) who decided that I had talked about their daughter on my blog (I merely wrote about teaching speechwriting–I teach, or taught, AP writing/English–and how tone was paramount; we had just studied Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural; and I heard one student speech that didn’t strike the right tone, so I felt that as the teacher I might need to model effective tone to make sure the class really understood my point).

    All hell broke loose–these people came in screaming at me, gave me death threats, tried to scare me with a 70 p doc from their lawyers calling for my termination, and yes, I was eventually fired. Why? Because I wouldn’t apologize to people who told me they wanted to “watch [me] die in the street.”

    Anyway–the point is–as teachers who are into Edtech and transforming education to best fit the needs of students in 2010, we are still up against massive hurdles. It is, in fact, very dangerous for a teacher to tweet and to blog.

    I am not saying it shouldn’t be done. I think if we ALL do it, we will all be safer.

    Keep up the good work!

  15. koolkat222 says:

    Amanda,

    You are such a genuine person. I look forward to your tweets. On more than one occasion, you have cheered me up after a difficult day; I really appreciate that.

    It’s a shame that you have to deal with parents who always seem to look for the worst in any situation.

    You know you have a lot of support from your PLN. We all heart you!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s