This post is inspired in part by a dear Twitter friend, Jess Lifshitz @JessLifTeach . Actually, it's directly influenced by a few incredible tweets she recently posted.
The first was about one of her students, whose op-ed piece was published in their local paper. The other tweet was about @TheWeirdTeacher (Doug Robertson) reading a book to her students via Skype.
Both of these tweets just scream awesomeness! Both are phenomenal opportunities for her students. Both could make me, a fellow 5th grade teacher green with envy. But they don't. That's because we are part of a growing Mutual Admiration Society (MAS) on Twitter. For a while now, I've joked with Jess that I am the president of her fan club. However, she doesn't need me in her fan club since we have a mutual respect for the passion we each bring to our students in our respective classrooms. We are excited for each other's highs (like when both of us had our first Nerdy Book Club posts within the same week), and support each other during the stresses and struggles of a job we love that can often leave little time for the people we love the most...our families.
It would be too easy to become jealous of the wonderful ideas and creativity shared by my Twitter PLN. However, the power of a MAS keeps everything in perspective. I surround myself with an amazing group of educators at all levels, from teachers to administrators. Here are just a few.
Greg Armamentos @dashthebook writes an incredible blog, leads a running club, and inspires his students to become service-minded. He's in my MAS.
Heidi Jones @MrsJones_Merton has her students create and film a monthly video newsletter, leads the pirate movement at her school (along with her fabulous principal), and brings the joy to all she meets with her "awesomesauce." She's a fellow pirate in my MAS.
Scott Akerson @MrA47 seeks out every opportunity to connect his students using technology. My students and I have been lucky to be collaborating on our third project with his classes. He is another pirate in my MAS.
Erik Palmer @erik_palmer is an author and speaker, but at his core-an incredible teacher. He leads by example, spreading the message that teaching speaking & listening is critical to student success. He's in my MAS.
Jenny Wamsley @JennyWamsley teaches Health/PE, and knows the value of accessing her resources to learn and use any available tech tool in her lessons. Recently, she integrated literature into her health classes to engage her students. She's also a Voxer queen, who is a master of voice motivation in the mornings. She's in my MAS.
Brad Gustafson @GustafsonBrad and Mark French @PrincipalFrench are elementary principals in my home state of Minnesota. Both are leaders in their buildings and districts. They also serve as leaders among principals all over the state and the larger Twitter community. However, it's their devotion to their students and passion for their profession that inspires me. They are both in my MAS.
Shauna Pollock @misspollock and Melissa Eddington @melsa777 started the Weird Teacher book club on Twitter and Voxer. They share amazing stories and have organizational skills galore. Shauna recently invited a few of us on #weirdtbc into a collaborative story writing project, which Melissa and I jumped on. They are both in my MAS.
This is just a snapshot of a few members of my MAS. I could go on and on describing its many members, since I never cease to be amazed by all of the brilliance surrounding me on Twitter. Instead of letting the noise of their accolades drown out my voice, this idea of a Mutual Admiration Society lets all of our accomplishments sing in the choir. We take pride in each other's successes. We celebrate the exciting projects in each other's classrooms, and often get our own students involved. We don't let jealousy cause us to feel unworthy, because we know we are better when surrounded by an inspirational PLN.
I'll bet you are part of a Mutual Admiration Society, too. Just look around you.