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I've been an educator since 1995 where I've served as both a teacher and administrator. I believe that serving others is the key to success and make it my goal to be a servant leader for students, teachers, parents, and the community. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The connecting power of Twitter

Twitter is a powerful tool. This was brought back to me recently during a call from a colleague in South Carolina.  When I first met this Indian educator three months ago, he was living and teaching in South Africa.  Twitter connected us and gave me the opportunity to be a part of his journey to the United States.  Here is a synopsis:

In mid-June, I received a direct message from this educator that simply said, "Can you do me a favor?"  The red flags went flying.  Still, I looked up his profile and, seeing that he was a teacher, asked what he needed.  His response: "I am applying for a job in South Carolina and need help with interview questions." Whew!!! That sounded simple enough. After e-mailing me the questions, I decided that it would be best to talk about them face to face.  He was going to have his interview via Skype, so we found a time to connect using that service and had a practice interview.  I asked the questions and then we discussed his responses. Afterwards, we talked about what he might find different in the States and I even had my wife get on and talk with him about STEM.  It was an interesting session and I probably learned as much about the South African education system as he did about ours.  

He had his interview the next day and tweeted that it went well.  I asked him to keep me informed about the results.  A week later, he wrote that he got the job and we exchanged phone numbers so we could keep in touch when he arrived.  In the meantime, we continued to talk via Twitter and phone,  Last Sunday, he called to let me know that he had been on the job teaching 7th grade math for three weeks.  It was different from South Africa in a number of ways, many of which we had already discussed.  He was also impressed with his administration, as they were in the building improving instruction daily.  He was also excited about the collaboration that took place among teachers. Neither of these, he said, was common in his previous school.  Overall, he said he was enjoying the position and looking forward to his family arriving at Christmas.  We will continue to talk as the year progresses.  I look forward to encouraging and learning from him at the same time.

If it were not for Twitter, we never would have connected. I would not have had the opportunity to make a new friend. I also would have been denied a great learning opportunity.  Was it my help that got him the position? Probably not, as he showed he was a strong teacher during our practice interview.  Still, I am thankful that I have the chance to be a part of the journey.  Thanks, Twitter.