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Expand Your Professional Learning with Twitter Chats

This post was a guest post I wrote for TeachBoost. You can find the original post here

Instructional coaching can be a lonely, isolating job. You spend your days helping others reflect and grow professionally, yet you long to find that same support yourself. You facilitate teams of teachers learning together. You love watching them share and develop new ideas but secretly wish for that same camaraderie with other instructional coaches. This was certainly the case for me when I became a coach in 2011.

I filled my time diving into books and attending workshops to develop my skills, but I also needed a way to connect with others in similar roles. Wouldn’t it be great, I thought, if there was a way to connect globally with other instructional coaches to gain new ideas and perspectives, to problem-solve current coaching dilemmas—all with no cost, travel, or time away from my coaching duties?

Enter Twitter, and more specifically, Twitter chats! If you are new to Twitter or Twitter Chats, here is a quick guide to joining the ever-growing global community of instructional coaches.

Step 1: Create an account

Setting up a Twitter account is quick and easy! All you need to create one is a username,  password, a short bio, and a profile picture. I prefer to use my real name; others prefer something different. The choice is totally up to you; however, I’d encourage you to add a professional bio and picture to help others learn more about you.

Step 2: Find people to follow

Twitter is your professional window to the world and your feed consists of tweets from people you follow. If you don’t follow many people, you won’t see much activity. It’s worth taking some time to find and follow people so that your feed is full of rich and inspiring ideas.

If you’re not sure where to start, I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite people to follow!

Step 3: Use hashtags

Twitter hashtags are simply a way to categorize tweets on topics that interest you, and there are an endless array of them. When you add the # sign to a keyword or phrase in the Twitter search bar, you’ll see all the tweets from others that use that hashtag.

Some are connected to specific chats and others are simply a way to connect with themes, events, or interests. For example, if you search #educoach, not only can read what others have tweeted about instructional coaching, but you can also use it as a way to find more people to follow.

Pro tip: For additional hashtags related to coaching and education, check out this post.

Step 4: Attend a Twitter chat

I set up the #educoach chat in 2011 along with Jessica Johnson and Shira Leibowitz, and it’s still going strong. The chat takes place every Wednesday at 8 pm CST and runs for about an hour. Each chat is moderated, which means there will be one or two people sending out tweets throughout the hour in the form of questions to respond to.

Perret - Twitter Chat

Curious what the community thinks about partnership coaching? Check out that Q&A!

In the #educoach chat (and many others), we use the Q1/A1 format. This means the moderator will preface the question with Q1 (meaning Question 1). When responding to that question, it helps to include A1 (answer 1) at the beginning of your tweet. This helps others identify which question your tweet references.

The most important thing is to add the hashtag of the chat you are participating in so that it gets categorized as part of the chat. Without this, your tweet won’t be seen by other participants.

I try to archive each chat on my website in case you can’t make the scheduled time. Take a peek at some of our recent chats to help you get a feel for the logistics and content!

Final note

Being a connected educator has changed the way I teach, coach, and grow as a professional. Twitter means I can connect with educators on a much more personal basis than on other platforms and it’s led to some amazing moments on my educational journey. From writing books to virtually coaching teachers, coaches, and administrators; from facilitating in-person and virtual workshops to speaking at conferences and being guests on various podcasts—it all started with Twitter.

The answers to whatever you need are always in the room. By opening your room as wide as you can, you’ll broaden your perspective, enhance your practice, make new connections and perhaps even change the course of your professional life.

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School districts invest a lot of time and money into instructional coaching programs. Virtual coaching can help schools get the highest return on that investment!  Virtual coaching and training for instructional coaches are cost-effective, timely, based on the coach’s goals, customized for school needs, and travel-free. I am also available for onsite training in the area of instructional coaching!

My goal is to help Instructional Coaches to COACH with CONFIDENCE! 

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