Teacher Feature: 5 Questions for the #MomsAsPrincipals

Teacher Feature: 5 Questions for the #MomsAsPrincipals

5 Questions for the #MomsAsPrincipals

It’s no secret that Twitter is a powerful tool in many ways – both positive and negative. Educators, every day, use Twitter to connect and share through hashtag chats, the most popular ones being #EdChat, and #TLAP (Teach Like a Pirate). The stories of educators connecting with each other through Twitter and social media are numerous, and #MomsAsPrincipals is a perfect example of that. This week the #MomsAsPrincipals are moderating #Tynkerchat, and connecting with the Tynker Community. We had a chance to catch up with the professionals who calls themselves the #MomsAsPrincipals. They are:

  • Kelley Begley McCall, Principal of Graber Elementary in Hutchinson, Kansas
  • Liz Garden, Principal of principal of Florence Roche Elementary School in Groton, Massachusetts
  • Lynn Colon. Principal of Mary Williams Elementary in Northern Virginia
  • Claire Giardino, Principal of East Elementary School in Athens, Ohio
  • Melissa Kartsimas, Principal of Kennedy Elementary School in Schiller Park, Illinois
  • Lindsy Stumpenhorst, Principal of Washington Elementary School in Sterling, Illinois
  • Tracey Allen, Principal of Wilson Elementary School in Gridley, California

This week, these amazing leaders had a chance to answer our questions about teaching, connecting, and sharing: 

1. How did #MomsAsPrincipals get started?

Kelley: It started when Lindsy side-voxed Tracey and I (Kelley) about blogging. We were trying to encourage each other to hit publish on our blogs. As we began to talk, we realized how much we had in common. We started joking that we needed a moms group because sometimes we didn’t feel like we could talk about the ups and downs of being a mom, wife, and principal in our Principals in Action group. We joked that we should call it MAPS for moms as principals. From there, we added the other four moms that we thought would like the format. As our friendship grew, so did our mission to reach out to other moms. We decided to write a blog and start using our hashtag. After our first blog post on Twitter, we had other moms who wanted to join in. It just seems to be taking off and we love it!

Lindsy:  I honestly can not even remember the day I signed up for Voxer – but thank God I did! I kept hearing the app name Voxer thrown around during podcasts, but didn’t see the relevance or big picture until I met the ladies that I am connected with today.

Claire: I just joined Voxer and was in the Principals In Action Group, and created my Twitter Account. I was going through all the women in the PIA group and wanted to follow them on Twitter. I then saw Lindsey post something about momsasprincipals and I side voxed her and join!

Melissa: We started to realize how much we had in common with each other on a personal level. These chats became a daily and we realized that we not only could relate to each other professionally, but we also could relate to each other as moms and wives.

2. Why is Twitter so important for this kind of connection? Can’t this kind of thing happen on Facebook or another platform?

Kelley: Twitter is so much easier for finding what I need by simply searching a hashtag. While I love Facebook and do share things about education on there regularly, if I want to find an article someone posted, I have to dig. Also, on Twitter, we don’t have to be friends to learn from one another. It’s out there for anyone to see.

Lindsy: I compare Twitter to a blind date. You kind of know the person and their interests, but not their personality. Voxer is like an engagement, it allows you to tap into a piece of the person that is real and genuine that Twitter doesn’t have the capability to do. We all have strengths and weaknesses, we’re human! In order to move forward it’s important that we can share the thorns, not just the roses.

Claire: Twitter is much easier to navigate and with hashtags, it is easier. Twitter has the ability to do chats and you can get to know people better, and then start to follow them, and send messages. I feel that Facebook is more about personal, and Twitter people are more personal mixed with their beliefs with their jobs.

3. Is sharing essential for the modern educator? What happens to the educators who don’t engage this way?

Lynn: You miss out greatly. My school is a result of the feedback, collaboration, and ideas from my PLN. My kids win every time.

Kelley: When you are not engaged on Twitter, I think you miss out on expanding you and your students’ worlds. You stay on an island where only you might only learn from others who bring it to you. It’s like getting PD airdropped to you instead of going out and finding it. Twitter empowers teacher and principals to learn from others about any educational topic. I don’t have to wait for my district to bring in a trainer or send me to training. I have 24/7 access.

Claire: Sharing is essential as when you are a principal you often feel alone, as you don’t have many colleagues that you can relate to for being a principal. Bouncing ideas off of each other is wonderful and getting different perspectives. If you don’t engage this way, you are missing out on being empowered, and having access to new things and ideas.

Melissa:  This group allows us to share ideas via Twitter and Voxer that make us better and push us further as professionals. It challenges us to push boundaries and stretch outside our comfort zone.  It’s such an amazing network where we’re able to share our own ideas but also take away so much, that we then bring to our own learning communities. We follow each other and our schools on social media and grow and learn from one another all the time.

4. There is a lot of talk about preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet. How do educators respond in these circumstances?

Lynn: Staying relevant is crucial. I have learned so much from my colleagues in regards to innovative practices. They push my thinking, help me brainstorm how to align some resources to the curriculum and, most importantly, how to make learning fun. Because of this, our teachers have “green light” to make mistakes and try new things. That would not happen if we had a fixed mindset.

Kelley: I tell teachers to focus on those lifetime skills that will empower our students in any job situation. Soft skills are the skills that help our students succeed.

Claire: Being relevant and being connected to other educators. Learning new things, collaborating with colleagues, and being able to learn from others in important to understand how our world is changing so quickly, especially for the jobs. 

5.  Each year, it seems that there’s a new “revolution” happening in education. What’s this year’s revolution? 

Lynn: for me is a new look at collaboration. That’s what Twitter, Voxer, and Google Hangouts have done for us. In the past we had to be all in one room. We can collaborate in so many different ways now. As a result, learning is available 24/7. 

Kelley: As a code.org affiliate, I believe that coding, computer science and tinkering are important for our students to understand. I’m not saying every kid needs to go into computer science, but I do believe they teach valuable skills to all of our students. I would also say that our hard push has been fostering resilient learners and helping students learn as much about social/emotional intelligence as reading and math.

Claire: Technology and preparing students for jobs that were not around when we were kids, and lots of hands on learning. Anything with computers, technology, and coding is so valuable to teach. We don’t want to shy away from technology. We want to embrace it and build on each child’s strength with technology. We need to all be willing to learn new things as the revolution is constantly changing.

***

Thanks for joining us, and letting the Tynker community learn a bit more about you!  

 

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Daniel Rezac is the Education Community Manager at Tynker. He's been a science teacher, a technology coach, STEAM Coordinator, and school Tech Director working with students from Pre-K to adults. Feel free to reach out to him at daniel [at] tynker.com.

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