Dear TwitterEdu, We Have an Admiration Problem

In Professional Growth by rafranzdavis7 Comments

In the beginning, before “twitter all-star” became a “thing” that isn’t a “thing”, I was an educator sitting on the other end of the social space learning from folks, following them and getting super…super excited if/when they followed me back. It was as if the “follow” gave me a magic direct path into their thoughts because I knew that it meant that my words would appear on their timeline. Those moments brought me smiles and joy because in my mind, this “small act” was a small step in meeting these amazing people one day. I had no idea that this would actually become my reality and meeting them, my personal edu-heroes, brought me moments of great joy.

Gosh, even thinking about it makes me smile.

Yet…

When other educators come up to me, offering words of admiration…I cringe. As a matter of fact, several teachers that I met at DENsi2014 expressed joy in our meeting and my following them back. Again, I cringed because in my mind, the thought was very much in the realm of…

“Oh nooo…don’t be excited that I followed you back! It’s not that serious. Seriously? I’m sorry that I wasn’t following you earlier!! Me??? Really???”

It’s odd that I can be perfectly fine with admiring others and uncomfortable with others admiring me. It’s as if I’ve unintentionally given myself permission to be negative about myself. The heck?

The Road of Inspiration

The road of inspiration should never be just a straight line from one person to the next. If we do it right, it’s almost circular with infinite amounts of intersections. I’m proud that I can inspire someone but what makes what we do even more amazing is that we are also constantly being inspired by others.

I don’t want to live in a world where I am not excited about meeting another educator that I came to know via connecting. In saying that, I have to also be okay that others just might feel that way for me as well. This thought no longer makes me cringe. It brings me great joy.

…the kind of joy where a “simple follow” is no longer “just” a follow but a connection to someone that inspires me.

A wise friend, Vicki Davis, even passed on the perfect “Angela Lansbury” response to incoming admiration….

“Thank you. I do hope that I can continue to live up to your expectations”

Let’s continue to admire each other. Let’s continue to be excited. Let’s continue to understand that in our field, inspiration is warranted. As a matter of fact, you never really understand the impact that you might have on someone else. We have to be able to share these emotional connections with each other.

The beauty of these connections is that we all have been there and get to be on both sides of this circular road of inspiring.

Now, excuse me while I go jump up and down because Yoda just followed me!

PS…

A few moments ago, one of the puppet builders that my nephew (@braedenart) admires and learns from, Jordan the Voices Guy (@jordanthevoicesguy) commented his work on instagram and followed on twitter. I imagine that when my nephew sees it, he’ll be beaming from ear to ear with excitement. I made a point to tweet Jordan and tell him what that small act, his words, meant to this little kid. I can also imagine Jordan’s smiles at hearing those encouraging words. Admiration is great as it encourages us all to continue to do great work. We should remember this.

Comments

  1. I am a fan of you, Rafranz — even more so after meeting you in Nashville. You are the real deal, the full package teacher. I am honored to know you and learn from and with you about what we need to do to teach more kids better math, through every tool out there and with professional teachers.

    I can’t wait for more.

    1. Author

      Thank you Ilana. Dinner with you in Nashville was such a highlight for me! Thank you so much for sharing, learning and standing up with me.

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  5. Rafranz, this post took me back to when I first met you and the mixture of excitement and uncertainty I felt in that moment. To me, you were a part of the Twitter elite and I was a virtual newbie building my PLN. Thank you again for showing me that you valued me as a peer, that I was good enough, that my presence was felt. I carry that moment with me and still remind myself to take your advice and start blogging. I’m still working up the courage, but I’m closer to that goal because of you. Stay real, my friend.

    1. Author

      Gena, I not only value you…I expect to see you sharing and presenting in the same way. You are amazing and your classroom experiences are important…so much so that I am dying to learn about them. Real is knowing that in the end, we are all the same. Thank you for having the courage to comment here and share this because I know that it took a great deal for you to do so.

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