Without a doubt, being on social media and connecting with other teachers has benefitted me, and therefore my students immensely. I used to work in a small school where I was the only health teacher and so I didn’t have anyone to collaborate with or bounce ideas off. Then I signed up for Twitter and slowly built up a professional learning network of like minded, and motivated teachers across the globe. The thing that we all had in common was that we were looking to collaborate with others to improve what we had to offer to our students. I became a better teacher, and my students got a better education. It was the ultimate educational win-win situation.
I have now extended my social networking to Voxer (like Twitter but on steroids) and the more I speak with teachers the more I learn about their experiences, what life is like in their schools and for their co-workers. I learn about how their health budget operates, what the socio-economic mix is of their student population, what assessment policies exist within their building and what other supports exist when it comes to preparing the best possible health lessons for their students. And the more I listen, the more I realize that there are many teachers in the position that I was in my previous school. In many cases they are the ONLY health teacher within the building.
The #physed community on social media is large, it is strong, it is loud and their voice is great for advocating for quality physical education. The #healthed community is smaller and at times it might feel that we have a quieter voice but that is why this blog and chat exists. It is up to us to come together and communicate regularly with each other. We need to speak up when we feel like we have little support – or when we feel like our subject is being marginalized by administrators and professional bodies. We might never have the numbers of the #physed community but we can certainly become as effective advocates for our subject area as they now are.
This slow chat works in this way. A blog post will introduce the loose theme for the weeks five questions. These questions will be tweeted out, one per day. We will follow the Q1, A1 format. Adding #slowchathealth to your tweets will make them easier to find. Feel free to answer other peoples tweets, engage in side conversations and remember to follow those that you think will make a great addition to your PLN.
Q1. Where do you teach and how many other health teachers are in your building? #slowchathealth
Q2. What aspect of teaching health do you most enjoy and why? #slowchathealth
Q3. What support exists within your building to help you teach health? #slowchathealth
Q4. How might a chat specifically for health teachers help you? #slowchathealth
Q5. It’s follow Friday. Which health teachers should we be following on twitter? #ff #slowchathealth