What’s Your Job?


Monday morning I was watching the Today show and they had this 31 year old guy who wrote a book or article about things 20 year olds don’t understand.  One of the things he said is something that has been on my mind lately, he said “social media is not your job, it’s just part of it.” I guess that’s why most don’t get paid for it,  right?

See this summer has been difficult,  if you read my blog or tweets you know I will be starting another school year as a classroom teacher not a technology specialist.  I’ve had trouble dealing with the rejection & and reality of it and many have given me a lot of advice. Most of it comes back to I need to tell more people what I do and what I can do in the social media and technology world.  That’s hard for me.  I’m that person who’s helps someone or does a project then moves on, usually letting others take the credit.  Doesn’t bother me (except in coaching cheerleading because it was hard lol).  Some had said I need to put more of my skills online.  If I was jobless (I am lucky to have a job) it would be so much easier for me to do that.

Two summers ago I started a blog where I was going to post apps & tools hoping to do exactly what I said above.  But once school started I didn’t keep up with it. Why?  Shouldn’t be too hard because I bookmark tools every day.  I’ve also had the suggestion my blog needs to focus more on technology than just teaching. But you see,  I have this other job,  my real job. And for 9 months of the year my number one focus is my classroom of students.  Are they becoming scientists? Are they growing as people? Am I the best teacher I can be? That’s my job.  When I spend time blogging or researching that has to be the priority.

Few years ago when I discovered twitter and started developing my PLN,  I didn’t do that. I spent time focusing on the learning,  getting followers by RTing tweets and participating in chats (so darn ashamed of that, wasn’t too successful bc it was fake and stupid). I looked for sites to post NOT sites to learn from that will help my students and then share with my PLN who I already learn from.  It becomes addictive but for me it was wrong.  My job was to teach math to 90 6th graders.  I didn’t do that great of a job doing that that year. Was surprised I even got tenure. Huge wake up call for me.  When I reflected on that year I saw how my PLN had helped me but through learning from them I also saw how I let my students down and had to find a middle ground. Adjustment of my outlook took over. 

Recently I was having a conversation online with a friend of mine.  Started talking about going back to school and she let it slip her administration was not very supportive. Her admins were never around,  never helped,  didn’t take time to get to know the teachers,  etc.  Then it hit me, that admin and crew have been pretty big in the twitterverse lately.  Starting their own & pushing chats and posting their successes and ideas. (y’all know I’m not a chat fan, but I know y’all benefit from them so no negative) These things I’ve learned they never shared or helped their teachers with. So how does that make sense? (she may kill me for posting this.)

You see,  social media is not your job.  Your job is what you most likely put in that twitter bio.  That comes first,  then when you have time,  comes the other.  This totally does not apply to those starting their own business or don’t have a job and are in process of searching. Jamie Vandergrift is an excellent example how she couldn’t find a teaching job and over last year has used social media to start her own business,  many of you have. This is not about you. But if you have a job,  that needs to be your focus.  Look at what you are missing out on in your classroom as a teacher or building if you are admin or specialist
and blog or tweet second. So yeah,  I have trouble pointing out what I do in social media because my district and school as well as over 200 parents have trusted me to teach.  They pay me pretty good money to teach.  To enhance the life and care for 160 preteens.  That’s a pretty tough job,  so probably not going to blow it off.  Three weeks and back to that being my focus. Be careful going back to school,  we have had all this time to focus on and enjoy learning in this space.  This space is now moving back to 2nd place. 

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Penny Christensen (@Pen63) says:

    Right on sister.
    It doesn’t take long to find out when a person is doing more of the talk than that walk, does it?

  2. Rodney says:

    WOW! Thank you for the reality slap. You are so right. This summer has been great and very informative with lots of fun. But, “This space is now moving back to 2nd place. ”
    I needed that. Let go of what was and move on focusing on what will happen.
    Kind of like what my sister told me, “Glad you had a great time, now back to real life.”
    Very heartfelt, and not snarky at all. Convicting and pointed, but that is what happens when it applies to the reader.
    Thank you.

  3. Patti says:

    Amanda- Thanks for sharing. I have just begun to build my PLN an your advice is solid. I need to go in each day and teach what I am paid to teach and not spend my energy on social media and my PLN. I am about to begin a Masters program in EdTech and I am already struggling with how to not let that overwhelm me and become my main focus!. Thanks again for sharing!

  4. JoAnnJacobs68 says:

    I have walked in your shoes. I went from curriculum and coach to a new school that closed this past year and luckily got picked up again. Next week I face new teachers and the following week 100 sixth graders.
    Social Media is a great tool and I, too, got caught up in it. When I saw that not only was I doing a disservice to my students but also my family I cut back. It has been a great summer but now it’s time to get back and focus on teaching world geography to my 100 incoming sixth graders. There will be plenty to keep me busy and thinking. Yes, I will check in from time to time but I cannot allow myself to commit.
    Thanks for a timely post and your thoughts.

  5. Jan (@educonomist) says:

    Thank you for the insight. The conflict you’ve articulated is what’s stopping me from starting my own edublog. Unfortunately, it also highlights how PD gets pushed to the back burner during the school year.

  6. Joseph McCaleb says:

    The connection between “job” and “pay” seem reasonable. Profession has a different tone, to me, especially in teaching where the role of enthusiasm rises to the top, along with integrity. When the teaching involves communication and social justice, engagement with social media offers increased significance. As with anything that is powerful, social media can be a distraction, an avoidance, or worse; but I believe it also reaches out into contemporary applications of constructs such as audience, purpose, and voice. The teacher embodies effectiveness through experience that is reflected and judged. One lesson I continue to get in my body comes in riding where the essential balancing is always adjusting, much like finding and creating meaning in our professional/personal lives. Thanks for living into important questions honestly.

  7. mellygibs says:

    What about people who don’t have full time job?

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 )

Connecting to %s