Have I completely misjudged my competency as an educator? Have I somehow regressed into some pre-undergraduate state of stupor? How is it that I could enter a chat with supposedly like-minded educators from across my home state of Illinois, and an hour later wonder why the heck I bothered to turn my computer on. Not sure, but I think there might have been a new episode of Market Warriors on tonight. Bummer.
I decided to join the first-ever ILEdChat. How remarkable, I thought, that my first-ever chat would be the first official Illinois Educators' chat on Twitter. Seems like a match made in heaven. Turned out to be a match straight from Hades.
Unfortunately, most of the participants either questioned the validity of the survey, discussed how the survey could be used against them, or complained about all of the variables contained in the data. The moderator did ask a total of five questions over the hour-long chat. The questions weren't terrible, asking about how the educators reacted to the survey and what they thought the data might say about them; but few of the answers were relevant. I wanted to talk about collaboration, and how we could do better, and how important it was to connect with parents, students and community leaders. How about some concrete ideas, about how to reach out to people in order to gain their trust and get their input.
I never got any of those. I never really found out what the 5 Essentials even are. I don't know how any of these "important" educators feel about collaboration or what techniques they recommend. I learned nothing. Nothing. And at the end, everyone was congratulating themselves on what a great chat it was and how they can't wait for the next one happening next week. Am I crazy? Am I just not cut out to be an educator?
You know what? I reject what I witnessed, and I reject the attitude that surveys like this are created to somehow entrap educators or blemish state "report cards." I reject the idea that educators can spend an hour talking to other educators and virtually nothing productive comes from it. I know I can do better, I know I can provide more information and concrete answers to difficult problems, and all I am is a graduate student. There were principals and administrators and state officials in the chat, for goodness sake! They offered me nothing.
It's embarrassing, is what it is. I know my next online chat will be better than this one. It has to be.
Here is a copy of the chat archive, via Storify.